Satiya Ewing-Boyd agrees, “In the time I’ve known Zahir, he has grown so much as a friend and a student. He is reliable, kind, and intelligent. He started with little experience but as his time in chess grew, he became more humble, yet significantly more skilled to the point that he was able to lead himself and others to multiple championships.” -Satiya Ewing-Boyd, Former Bravo Zulu Chess teammate https://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/National_News_2/article_105140.shtml
Ramson said Zahir fills a very conspicuous void in the local and national chess scene. “Going back maybe 10 or 15 years, I don’t think anyone could remember a young Black man from Southeast representing D.C.” in a national chess tournament, she said. “The children don’t understand Zahir’s power, because they don’t see chess as a serious opportunity to connect the dots, and put [something different] on your college resume. Zahir has been doing a good job speaking to the power of chess in building up your confidence.” -Robin Ramson, District of Columbia Scholastic Coordinator for US Chess Federation https://washingtoninformer.com/d-c-chess-prodigy-returns-to-national-tournament/
Perfecting the art of chess isn’t always about memorizing plays, according to David Bennett, Zahir’s coach of one year and a certified chess master. “His intuition is really strong,” Bennett said. “He doesn’t focus on rogue memorization because he has an ability to outmaneuver his opponents and has a lot of grit.” During tournament play, his coach said, Zahir uses different moves in every game — a notable feat for a high school student. -David Bennett, US Chess National Master https://thedcline.org/2018/11/28/introduced-to-chess-at-the-age-of-3-ward-7-teen-now-holds-national-ranking/
“Throughout the years of Zahir’s chess career, he has grown so much. I know for a fact because I have been by his side since the beginning.,” ...Zion Utsey told The Final Call. “Every game he plays, he takes it as if it is his last and that is something I take away from his attitude. The game of chess changed Zahir’s whole perspective on life and he used it to his advantage. His leadership, on and off the chess board, was impeccable and he is also one of my closest friends to this day. Solely off of his drive and dedication to the game, he could become the best in the world, without a doubt.” -Zion Utsey, Former Bravo Zulu Chess teammate https://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/National_News_2/article_105140.shtml
Zahir playing at the Denker Tournament of High School Champions in Middleton, WI.