Last year, janggi (Korean chess) games of the national martial arts championships took place at the Taekwon-Do Palace in the capital city of Pyongyang.
A little boy was invited as a VIP to the event. He was Kim Chong Un of Tongmun Kindergarten No. 2 in Taedonggang District, Pyongyang.
At that time, spectators thought that his father or a family member participated in the games, as he was carefully looking at the event.
Pyon Sung Chol, deputy secretary general of the Korean Chess Association, said he invited the boy as a VIP as he was too young to participate in the event.
The boy started to learn chess at the age of 5.
His mother Kang Yun Hi said her son began to be interested in playing chess under the influence of his maternal grandfather, 64, and his father, 36, who were amateur chess players.
The following happened one holiday when the boy was five years old.
That day, the two men had a chess game, which grew fiercer as the time went by. The shouting voices of his father on the offensive and his grandfather on the defensive attracted the boy’s interest.
Since then, Chong Un began to entreat his maternal grandfather to teach him playing chess every evening.
Regarding it as a lark, the grandfather started to teach him how to move pieces and their ways. But the boy said he had already known them and asked for the tactics. The grandfather asked him again if he really wanted to learn chess.
After listening to his resolve, the grandfather explained one by one in plain words: Since olden times, Korean chess has been widely applied in military actions. So, it has been said that chess is called a military officer, whereas paduk , a civil servant. Before learning it, one should have good manners and observe the elements of etiquette.
From that day, the boy began to be skilful in moving his pieces as the days went by. In the evening he challenged his maternal grandfather or his father, giving pleasure to the family members.
After playing chess with him, Kim Ho Gil, 70, a chess fan living in Neighbourhood Unit No. 52, Tongmun-dong No. 2, Taedonggang District, said: The little boy is very clever as he foresees several moves. He is really a chess prodigy.
His teacher and officials of the Korean Chess Association turned out as one to bring his talent into full bloom.
His intellectual faculties have improved as the days went by since he began to learn chess, with the result that he was highly appreciated in the Rubik cube, mental and abacus calculation events in the district competition of talented children last year.
In April, Chong Un was admitted to the first grade of Tongmun Primary School in Taedonggang District.
His teacher Ryu Un Gyong said she would do her utmost to bring his talent into fuller bloom.