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“I made a checkmate” ~ A new life and a quest to be grandmaster.

Our brand is founded around 3 main principles, art, culture and people. Today we will focus on the latter : the people, the people who help us evolve, and make our brand evolve. And why the name of our winter collection is inspired by the touching and incredible story of Maksym Kryshtafor.

photo credit : Mary Turner

In May 2022, Maksym Kryshtafor, an 8 year old Ukrainian boy, fled the war in Ukraine with his mother. When the war was declared, his mother, like six million other refugees, did everything to save her child. Equipped with a backpack each with their most important belongings, including a book on chess, they made their way to England to find a home and safety. 
In Romania, during a long transitional journey, Ms. Kryshtafor called the English Chess Federation to see if they could find a host who would be willing to take them in so that her son could continue to play chess.
Once in England, they faced new challenges, such as the language barrier, or cultural differences between that of Ukraine and their new home. Maksym and his mother have to carve a space for themselves, and for the little boy, it will be through chess.
Four days after his arrival in the UK, Maksym attracts the attention of the local media by winning a chess tournament a few miles from York and quickly becomes known on the local chess circuit. Passionate about chess from the age of four, his mother says that it has become his whole life, his oxygen, as he plays it all the time.
Chess was a real escape, and helped Maksym, who is only 8 years old, to deal with the difficult emotions of leaving his home, his family and having to adapt to a new environment. The language barrier prevented him from making good connections with other children at school, so he decided to communicate in his own way, through a universal language: chess.
It's a complicated situation for Maksym’s mother who, unlike her son, thinks a lot about the future and what will happen next. But the anxiety is quickly surpassed by a shared dream: that Maksym will become a chess grandmaster before he turns 12. This would allow him to become the youngest person ever to achieve this prestigious ranking.

photo credit : Mary Turner

Reaching this goal will not be easy. Certainly Maksym is gifted, but it is by his determination that he will succeed in reaching the title of grandmaster. He wakes up at 5am every morning to train on the internet before going to school and regularly trains online with a Ukrainian grandmaster. So far, all his hard work is paying off as he continues to win competitions in England.
At a competition in York involving 120 youngsters aged 7 to 18, Maksym beat his first opponent in less than a minute. He went straight to his mother and kissed her "Too easy," he said with a smile. "I made a checkmate."

photo credit : Mary Turner

People are part of our lives without us realizing it, and more importantly, they are part of the beautification and evolution of our lives. And this story of Maksym and his mother is proof of just that. 

Article written by Mathilde Caroprese.

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