WHEN David Cannon was just four, he stumbled across his first chess book.

Unable to read, the curious child started looking at the pictures until he got his dad involved.

“I couldn’t read so my dad would read the book to me before bed,” David said.

“It was called `The art of the check mate’.”

After figuring out how to play the master-mind game, the Heidelberg West youngster started playing at the Melbourne Chess Club.

“My dad and I went together and then we started at the Box Hill Chess Club,” he said.

“I now play twice a week and I read books about the secrets to chess every night.”

David, now nine, said the game taught him patience, thinking and planning.

“I’ve beaten my dad and I’ve played against opponents that are a lot older than me,” he said.

“I really love the game because it’s fun.”

He said the longest chess game he had ever played was 79 moves that lasted over two hours.

The young chess master will be pulling his moves at the Australian Junior Chess Championships later this month.

“I’ll be playing for the under-10s and the under-14s,” he said.

“I’m really excited but I’m not nervous because I feel really confident.”