Teen becomes national chess master following 4th brain surgery

Griffin McConnell, National Chess Master
Posted at 1:55 PM, Apr 14, 2022

DENVER, Colo. (KMGH) — A lot of brainpower is needed to excel at Chess.

Griffin McConnell, 17, has undergone four different brain surgeries to treat severe seizures and still managed to become a national chess master.

While recovering from the surgeries, Griffin had to relearn how to walk and speak.

His biggest passion, chess, came back the easiest.

"It's kind of interesting because I feel like chess is one part of me, and that's why I did so well," Griffin said. "And with the hemispherectomy, when that happened, I don't know. It's interesting because I (wanted to relearn) chess more than I wanted to walk or talk."

After the latest surgery, Griffin said his game improved.

“I knew right away that my thinking was better.” Griffin McConnell, chess master

Griffin recently won the Colorado Scholastic Championship.

He and his family have also started a nonprofit organization, ChessAbilities Inc. They will host a tournament for children with disabilities later this year.

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This story was originally reported by Danny New on