At the age of five he came to Germany as a Syrian refugee, at the age of nine he became German champion for the first time – and now, at the age of only eleven years and seven months, chess prodigy Hussain Besou will be called up to the German men’s national team for the first time, according to WELT information.
An eleven-year-old in the national team: According to the German Chess Federation (DSB), this has never happened before in the history of the association. Even Matthias Blübaum, last year’s European champion, was almost two years older when he was nominated for the first time in 2011. And the previous record holder Vincent Keymer was also used later, namely at the age of twelve years and ten months.
“Hussain has recently shown very appealing performances,” says Bernd Vökler, the national youth coach. The boy, who lives in Lippstadt, is scheduled to play in the Mitropa Cup in Croatia in April, a tournament in which ten nations have competed against each other every year for more than four decades. This year, clashes of appointments ensure that Germany cannot compete with the best players anyway, so a medal is unlikely to be achievable. That’s why representatives of the next generation should also get their chance. “The nomination is now a test, especially for Hussain,” says Vökler.
At the last World Youth Championship, Hussain Besou won bronze in his age group, and he is currently second in the U12 world rankings. Hussain has competed in international competitions for years as a German, which is possible in chess even without citizenship if you have not previously played for another country.
In February, the World Chess Federation awarded Hussain the title of “Fide Master” (FM) – which is the first big step on the way to the desired grand master title (GM). A second intermediate level is the “International Master” (IM). In turn, Hussain could fulfill an initial requirement – known as “norms” – by doing well in his first national team assignment in Croatia. “That,” says Hussain, “would be nice.”