Caleb Parker is HBCU chess champion

Photo courtesy: Daaim Shabazz

In a historic moment for Florida A&M University, sophomore computer science student Caleb Parker emerged victorious at the prestigious HBCU Chess Classic, marking the first time in the university’s history that a student has claimed the top spot in this esteemed competition.

Parker, a Tallahassee native, beat a North Carolina A&T University student in the final round on Sunday. His victory at the Georgia Institute of Technology showcased his exceptional talent and skill in chess. It also highlights FAMU’s growing presence in the world of competitive chess.

“I think it’s a very unique experience playing chess,” Parker said. “Especially as a young Black man because chess is thought of as a predominantly white sport.”

Parker credited his father and  Daaim Shabazz for inspiring him to be the best chess player he could be.

The HBCU Chess Classic brings students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities to showcase their skills and passion for chess. Parker and senior electronic engineering technology student Daniel Buckley represented FAMU at the tournament.

“Caleb is a wonderful chess player,” Buckley said. “His dedication and tactics while playing should be something that should be studied. I witnessed him study and practice like he would get a degree in chess, and it’s amazing.”

Parker’s strategic brilliance in chess has brought honor to himself and elevated FAMU’s reputation as a university that nurtures and celebrates intellectual achievement in all forms.

Shabazz, a professor at FAMU and blogger for The Chess Drum, believes this is an essential step in bringing back the Rattler Chess Club after 20 years. He said he’s proud of Parker.

“For the past year, Caleb has shown an increased passion for chess resulting in marked improvement. He has participated in local events hosted by the Capital City Chess Club and has begun the process of increasing awareness of chess activity on the FAMU campus,” Shabazz said in a statement.

“With Caleb’s victory, it serves as a testament that FAMU has students who are at the cutting edge of intellectual endeavors and chess is such an activity that can accentuate these talents in an increasingly analytical world. FAMU is looking to raise the bar, and Caleb has given us a great start,” he added.

In celebrating Parker’s historic victory, FAMU stands as a beacon of inspiration for students everywhere, encouraging them to dream big, push boundaries, and strive for greatness in all their endeavors. Parker’s win at the HBCU Chess Classic is a victory for the entire FAMU community, inspiring other chess players to make their mark.

Parker calls all chess players to meet and play in the coming semesters.

“Chess is a game that may not seem like much at first. However, it’s a game of productivity, a game that’s scientific and also has a little philosophy to it as well,” Parker said.