Her best move is check - mate!

College Point resident and avid chess player Julia Kerr will soon test out her skills in Turkey when she travels there to participate in the World Youth Chess Championships.
When Kerr was three years old, she learned how to play the game. By the age of about six, she was already participating in tournaments.
“I just found a set and asked my parents how to play,” she said.
Kerr, who is ranked by the United States Chess Federation, said that she found it to be a good game and liked the fact that it was not up to chance. She said she now plays almost every day, including playing online games, and is in a tournament about once a week. She also estimates that she spends about 20 hours a week playing chess.
The majority of the tournaments Kerr plays in take place in Manhattan with the Marshall Chess Club or in Forest Hills at the Polgar Chess Center. However, in the past she has also participated in the Pan American Youth Chess Festivals, which have taken her to Brazil once, Argentina twice and Ecuador once.
Recently, Kerr used her skills to earn a win during the Susan Polger National Invitational for Girls, which took place in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. About 45 female chess players under the age of 19 representing different states participated in the competition. Kerr played six rounds, winning four of them and having two that resulted in draws.
“It was really exciting,” said Kerr, adding that she has been close to top prizes before. “It was a great feeling.”
As the winner of the tournament, Kerr received a four-year university scholarship and a $1,000 scholarship from the U.S. Chess Trust. She was also given a “House of Staunton” chess set and a six-month paid membership to the Internet Chess Club.
This coming November, Kerr will take part in the World Youth Chess Championships in Antalya, Turkey. In order to prepare for it, Kerr said that she has been playing more and is now working with a new chess coach. She said that the area of her game she is focusing on improving is her openings.
Kerr said that she is most looking forward to having “a chance to go to Europe and compete in a highly competitive event.”
Along with chess, Kerr is active in many activities at St. Francis Prep High School, where she is starting her senior year. Among them are Chess Club, Speech and Debate Club, Biology Club, Liturgical Ensemble, and Animal Rights Club. She is also a peer counselor and retreat leader.
Outside of school, Kerr is a member of a church choir and, along with some friends from school, is in a barbershop quartet. The barbershop quartet was formed last year and has some performances at high schools.
Kerr said that she is still thinking about where she might want to go to college, but said that she hopes it will be somewhere that has a chess team that she could play on. She is considering studying either environmental science or music and becoming a teacher.

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