FORGET travelling the world – this Brighton teenager has taken a year out to perfect his chess moves.

Varndean College student Erza Kirk dreams of becoming an International Chess Master.

So the country’s highest rated under 18 player has deferred his Science studies at the University of Cambridge to compete in tournaments across Europe.

The 17-year-old will leave his Fiveways home to play across the UK as well as in France and Spain.

If Ezra wins enough of those matches, he will achieve the title of International Chess Master.

He said: “It’s what every chess player aspires to be.”

Ezra began playing chess at a young age and competed in his first tournament at the age of five.

He said: “I started when I was three because my father plays so I watched him and caught on. I don’t ever remember not liking chess, I’ve never lived without it.”

Ezra believes that playing chess has helped him with numerous mental aspects at school and in life.

He said: “Having put so much work into my chess over the years, I know how great it can be. It’s always made me a lot quicker in decision making, all you do in chess is plan for the future.

“It’s helped me with maths as well, my mental maths is really good.”

Ezra also said he enjoys the social atmosphere at chess clubs and said chess players are a good group of friends.

He is running chess courses in August, aimed at beginners and intermediate players, which will cover the basics of the game and key strategies.

Ezra is also offering private tuition courses and is looking for tournament sponsors to help fund his chess year.

The Summer Chess Course will be held at Brighton and Hove Chess Club on Third Avenue in Hove from August 11 to 16.

For more information or to book a place on the course, email Ezra at