26-year-old Yasser Quesada Pérez is the 27th Cuban male chess player to receive the title of Grand Master. Photo: Freddy Pérez Cabrera

Cuban Grand Master Yasser Quesada Pérez is today one of the island’s greatest chess talents. Due to his results and quality play on the board he already ranks among the best in the country in this sport.

Having seen spectacular development in recent years, which led him to become first an International Master (IM) and then Grand Master (GM), the 26-year-old is the 27th male Cuban chess player to reach this category, and one of the youngest to have done so in Villa Clara.

Thus the Quesada family, headed by Yasser’s parents Frank and Elisa, now includes the only pair of brothers with this chess title living under the same roof, as Yuniesky, the eldest, became a GM in 2005.

Born in Santa Clara on May 23, 1992, Yasser excelled early in the world of chess, and was in the Cuban elite of his generation in both the school and youth categories, becoming a FIDE Master in 2009, IM in 2014 and GM in 2016.

As his father Frank explains, Yasser already knew how to move the chess pieces at the age of four. He remembers him as a very observant child; attentive to his older brother’s training with Jesús Nogueiras and other players, which motivated him to buy him some books, like Mate en Uno, that contributed to his development.

At the age of five, Yasser played his first tournament, and a year later he became provincial champion, results that became the norm at all competition levels, as he became a man increasingly respected by his rivals.

According to the youngest of the Quesada brothers, in his beginnings he reinforced his training in the openings, becoming very strong in that part of the game. However, he later realized that chess requires a more comprehensive strategy, as the middle and endgames are also decisive, on which he worked with the guidance of his brother, to achieve better results.

He admits that he owes much to Yuniesky, who advises him whenever he can, and he doesn’t mind being compared to his brother, whom he considers a mentor; although he points to Norwegian Magnus Carlsen and Russia’s Vladimir Kramnik as his idols, whom he describes as a cut above the rest.

Yasser was included in the pre-selection roster of those who will participate in the 43rd Chess Olympiad in Georgia, this September, until the last moment. However, he plans to continue fighting for that possibility. His other goal is to reach the respectable Elo rating of 2600, which he could do sooner rather than later if he continues to advance as he has done so far.