He was just a refugee who got a chance to be in the United States under the Lost Boys resettlement program.
His first job was to guard a parking garage in suburban Washington.
Majur Juac who learned how to play chess in Kakuma Refugee Camp didn’t know where to place his talent, until when he decided to visit a relative in New York City.
In Queens, there was a chess tournament going on in Forest Hills. Juac saw a friend play, and he was encouraged to play as well.
Moments later he was beating other players like a grand master. He immediately caught the attention of Michael Propper, the co-director of New York City Chess Inc., the organization that sponsored the tournament.
Next day, Juac was asked to present his papers and the New York City Chess hired him as an instructor. The organization teaches the game to 6,000 students every year in private and public schools, chess camps and other events.
For Mr. Juac, chess proved much more than a game, or even a decent living.
He now lives in New Jersey and is loved by most of the children he instructs.
“He’s funny,” said one 12-year-old student, Vicki Yang. “He lets us figure out what is the correct move.”