England's 16-year-old IM Luke McShane was born in London on Saturday 7 January 1984, and from then until the present time he has always lived in his country's capital city. Other celebrities with a January 7 birthday include actor Nicholas Cage and the late great Estonian GM Paul Keres (7.1.1916-5.6.1975), but young Luke was already a mega star when he won the 1992 World Under-10 Championship at the age of eight.
Five years on he became Britain's youngest-ever IM, and after lots of further invaluable experience plus hard work, Luke has now achieved all of the three GM norms which he needs in order to be awarded the title of International Grandmaster (subject to having a 2500+ FIDE rating at some point). Such superb results will have delighted all of our hero's supporters, including Psion plc (the hand-held computer company and leading shareholder in Symbian- a mobile telephone consortium) which has sponsored Luke since 1995.
Even though he may have felt some pressure due to the high expectations of others, Luke has always impressed me by his happy, relaxed attitude to playing chess. He once summed up the Royal Game with the phrase "Chess is fun", and although he undoubtedly possesses enormous talent and determination too, one gets the impression that he has a very healthy approach which could perhaps be summarised by the words KEEN, CALM, NO RUSH. Much credit is also due to Luke's father, Rod, for his constant tremendous support and caring, and as a wee tribute we can rearrange the previous 14 bold letters to give R.McSHANE ON LUKE!!
Away from the chessboard, Luke again works extremely hard at his academic studies, for which he also has a scholarship. The City of London School must be really proud of his excellent grades in the recent national GCSE examinations, and I'm sure that the results will be equally glowing after the next year of taking A levels in Mathematics, Additional Mathematics, English Literature, Russian, and Philosophy.
Join with me now in wishing Luke all the very best in everything he does, but if you can't wait any longer before checking out his cool moves, then go straight on from here to game G13.46!