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Trophies Plus All-America Team Print E-mail
March 31, 2010
ImageThe results are in and it is time to honor our Trophies Plus 2010 All America Team members. Team members are chosen based on achieving a certain rating by a certain age. While my gnomes believe every young USCF member is an all-star, here are the Trophies Plus All America team members for 2010.

Trophies Plus is located in Templeton, Iowa, and they provide the hundreds and hundreds of trophies  awarded at all of the USCF national scholastic events. They even provide a shipping service at each event for parents and coaches who just don’t have room for those monster trophies on the return trip home!

Each team member receives a commemorative plaque and a Trophies Plus team jacket. The USCF congratulates each team member and thanks Trophies Plus for their continued support. You can thank them as well by visiting www.trophiesplus.com.

AGE 18
(minimum peak rating 2450):
Daniel Ludwig of Florida

AGE 17
(minimum peak rating 2400)
Robert L. Hess of New York
Samuel L. Shankland of California
John Daniel Bryant of California
Daniel A. Yeager of Pennsylvania

AGE 16

(minimum peak rating 2350)
Marc Tyler Arnold of New York

AGE 15
(minimum peak rating 2300)
Michael Lee of Washington
Stephen Zierk of California
Conrad Holt of Kansas
Victor Shen of New Jersey

AGE 14
(minimum peak rating 2250)
Ray S. Robson of Florida
Parker Bi Guang Zhao of New York

AGE 13
(minimum peak rating 2200)

Gregory Young of California
Greg has had a number of coaches and a number of successes, tying for first in the 2007 National Junior High (K-9) Championship and in the 2008 U.S. Junior Invitational. Math, science, singing, drama and basketball occupy his free time.

Daniel Naroditsky of California
CL4K readers know Daniel from his cover photo (Feb. 2008). He has been a FIDE Master since he won the 2007 World Under 12 Championship. Reading, geography, basketball, and writing are his interests. In fact, last month he became the youngest published author on chess when Mastering Positional Chess: Practical Lessons of a Junior World Champion was released by New In Chess.

AGE 12

(minimum peak rating 2100)

Lucas Van Beuzekom of Florida
Lucas is a three-time member of the Trophies Plus All America team, and deservedly so, winning many titles at the national and state level. He is a veteran (!) of world competition, having played on the 2005 World Youth team. He recently finished third in the Florida State Championship behind two grandmasters. Basketball is his sport of choice.

Darwin Yang
of Texas
Darwin is no stranger in the winner’s circle, having won more than his share of national and international titles. He was awarded the title of FIDE master after tying for first in the Under 10 section of the 2006 Pan American Youth Championship. When not studying with Coach Gregory Kaidanov, he enjoys video games, math, and writing.

David Adelberg of Arizona
IM Nikolai Andrianov must be very proud of his student, who has already won the Arizona High School Championship (as a fifth grader!). David also achieved a master rating at the age of 12 years and 10 months! And he has a bronze medal in his collection from the World Youth Under 12 Championship. Math competes for his time: he has already achieved high school honors in algebra … in the sixth grade! Add a little skiing, golf, and tennis, and you’ve got a fine, young addition to the All America Team.

Kevin Y. Cao
of Missouri
Kevin has a long string of scholastic successes, the most recent being second place in the 2009 K-6 section of the SuperNationals. But he isn’t afraid to mix it up with adults, under the direction of GM Dmitry Gurevich. In 2008 he won the Class A section of the Midwest Open, and in 2009 he added the expert’s title to his collection, in the same event. Violin, basketball, soccer and dreams about being a professional athlete (and a grandmaster!) occupy his spare time.

Aleksandr Ostrovskiy of New York
Aleksandr is the 2008 National Elementary K-6 champion, but that is just one of many titles earned, having also won many New York state and city events. This is his fifth time on the All America Team and he has played in the Worth Youth three times. Under the guidance of Vladimir Lymar (and undoubtedly influenced by his Hunter College High School teammates), Alex has begun to make waves at the famed Marshall Chess Club. I think it is a law in New York, if you grow up in Brooklyn, you have to love handball. Alex obeys the law.

Sean Vibbert of Indiana
When he isn’t studying with GM Predrag Trajkovic or dreaming about filling cavities (he wants to be a dentist), Sean can be found playing violin with the Evansville Philharmonic Youth Orchestra or sharpening his Taekwondo skills (black belt). Or you can find him striking fear into the hearts of players of all ages in Indiana and Kentucky. His most recent achieve­ment was at the 2009 SuperNationals where he won the K-6 Blitz Championship.

AGE 11
(minimum peak rating 2100)

Daniel Gurevich of Georgia
What ever happened to growing up to be a fireman? Daniel already has his goals in place: grandmaster before graduating from college, medical school, and a career in cancer research! And there is every reason to believe he will succeed, if his chess accomplishments are any indication. Most recently, he won the 2009 SuperNational K-6 title. He studies chess with Michael Elkin, but I don’t know when he finds the time. Math, science, Latin (!), and writing are his favorite subjects. Daniel also writes a games column for each issue of the Georgia Chess magazine. Adhuc tua messis in herba est.

Jarod M. Pamatmat of Texas
Jarod has not been a stranger to these pages. He was invited to play in the U.S. Cadet Championship, which we covered in the August 2009 issue. Jarod has two national scholastic titles under his belt, and has played on three World Youth teams (2007, 2008, 2009). He loves football and basketball, math and science, and music, playing both the piano and the violin. Career plans: doctor.

Kevin Wang of Maryland
Kevin won the 2006 National Youth Action, K-6 section, and has numerous state scholastic titles from Maryland to his credit. Math and reading are his favorite subjects. Throw in a smattering of piano, clarinet, tennis, swimming, and watching movies, and there just might be enough time for what I suspect is every 11 year old’s favorite activity: video games!

Yian Liou of California
Yian was self-taught, using a DVD by Roman Dzindzi- chashvili, and then took lessons from GM Larry Christiansen and Michael Aigner, and now takes private lessons on the Internet Chess Club, using Skype. There are many roads to success! Some of those successes include the 2009 Northern California K-12 Championship, and tying for first in the Under 2300 section of the 2009 Pacific Coast Open. Other interests include math, science, social studies, piano, soccer and tennis. And we have another scientist in the works!

Arthur Shen
of New Jersey
Arthur is a silver medalist, when he  placed second in the Under 12 section of the 2009 Pan Am Youth Championships. He also surprised quite a few people when he won the Under 2200 section of the 2008 National Chess Congress! Some of his favorite things: English, eating!, reading, and basketball.

Michael William Brown of California
You can almost always find Michael’s name near the top of the list of finishers in any scholastic event he enters. He won the K-6 section of the 2008 National Youth Action, and was a valuable member of the 2009 Worth Youth team when he played in the Under 12 section. Coaches Takashi Iwamato and Armen Ambartsoumian and parents are justifiably very proud! Math, science, baseball and tennis are some of his interests. He is also an excellent pianist and likes to write science fiction.

Varun Krishnan of California
Varun first joined the Trophies Plus All America Team in 2008. Math, economics and social studies are his favorite subjects. Hobbies include baseball, basketball, tennis, football, Wii and board games. I don’t know if he still wants to be an economist (or an inventor), but he is certainly honing his skills, especially in math (San Diego math champion in 2007 and 2009!). He started playing chess in Texas, when he won the 2004 Austin Primary Championship and simply hasn’t slowed down, pushing his rating well over 2100. He plays primarily in local events and first pushed his rating over 2100 at the 42nd Gambito Open. He has also represented the U.S. in 2007 and 2009 in the World Youth championships. He has been studying with IM Cyrus Lakdawala.

AGE 10

(minimum peak rating 2000)

Christopher Wu of New Jersey
I remember this youngster. Such a sad case—to be afflicted with a malady for which there is no known cure, and at such a young age. Christopher, you see, is a super Yankees fan. Luckily he has Dmitry Gurevich and Dean Ippolito to keep him occupied between the end of the World Series and spring training. Christopher has won four national scholastic titles and has won a New Jersey grade school title for six consecutive years. This is the fourth time he has been named to the Trophies Plus All America Team.

Joshua Colas of New York
The Westchester Chess Academy (along with coaches Rusudan Goletiani and Mike Amori) can rightfully be proud of Joshua’s accomplishments. Joshua tied for first in the 2009 National Youth Action,  K-9 section, and took first place in the 2009 K-12 Blitz. And 2010 promises to be just as successful. He recently tied for first in the New York City Championship, Junior High Varsity section. For three years now, he has been the top rated player in New York for his age group. When he isn’t adding to his collection of trophies, Joshua enjoys math, science, video games, and playing the cello.

Kayden Troff of Utah
When he isn’t fishing, swimming, sledding, or just playing Nintendo, you can probably find this energetic youngster running every morning with his dad. Then again, you may find Kayden defending any number of the Utah state titles he has won during the past two years. He is the highest rated, active player in Utah, for both regular and quick ratings. And don’t even think about getting into a time scramble with Kayden. He is the only scholastic player to win the Utah State Speed Chess Championship (2009)!

Luke Harmon-Vellotti of Idaho
As Kayden Troff is to Utah, so is Luke Harmon-Vellotti to Idaho! Luke is also the highest rated active player in his state! Not that it wasn’t predicted by the late Jerry Hanken—he wrote an article about Luke in CL4K back in August of 2008 called “The Littlest Warrior.” His primary coach is his dad, Daniel Vellotti, assisted by Dr. Michael Gold of Boise. Luke is not afraid to mix it up with adults; he defeated GM Dmitry Gurevich in the 2009 National Open / Game 10 Championship. And at this tender age, he is already enrolled at Boise State University studying engineering and taking pre-med college classes. He still finds time to play center in the Junior Basketball League.

Justus Williams of New York
Justus is fresh from his match win against Joshua Colas, which had been arranged by Chess-in-the-Schools (C-I-S). Studying with C-I-S instructors Miron Sher and Shaun Smith has certainly paid off as Justus also won the Empire State Open Championship in Saratoga Springs, New York. Being chosen to be a student at the U.S. Chess School in 2009 also helped. Because Justus is from the Bronx, he is required by law to play handball … but also enjoys basketball and football. Math and science are his favorite subjects. Where have I read that before?


(minimum peak rating 1850)

Dachey Lin of Texas
This is Dachey’s second time on the Trophies Plus All America Team. He has also been a member of the 2007 and 2009 Worth Youth Championship teams. Math is a favorite subject and interests include guitar, piano, martial arts, Rubik’s Cube, and Legos®!

Alex Liu
of Texas
Alex won the 2007 National Scholastic  Second Grade Championship, and quite a few Texas state scholastic titles. Math and science are his favorite subjects. He also enjoys music, playing piano and percussion. Video games and basketball round out a full schedule.

Michael L. Chen of Michigan
Michael has only been playing for three years under the guidance of Dr. Tony Palmer, but he has already racked up enough titles at the state and national levels to fill a trophy room! Is he a dangerous player? Well, he gained a draw against former World Champion Susan Polgar in a simultaneous exhibition last April! Michael loves school activities, is a straight A student, enjoying math, science and reading. In addition to the student council, he plays soccer, tennis and the violin. He plans to be a doctor and a chess master.

Simone Liao of California
“Too many hobbies, too little time.” That just about sums it up for most of our Trophies Plus All America Team members. For Simone that means tennis, swimming, reading, art, music … and a Woman FIDE Master title by age nine! She won a silver medal at the 2008 Pan American Youth Championships, and came home with the gold medal at the 2009 Pan American Youth Championships. And it all started as an after school activity in the second grade!

William Graif of New York
A student attending Edgemont Schools in Scarsdale, NY, under the critical eye of FM Sunil Weeramantry, William has already won titles in two countries: the 2008 National Scholastic Third Grade Championship, and the 2008 Canadian nationals, under age 10 section. Add a smattering of New York State titles (and a win in a simul over GM Alexander Shabalov), and you know the best is yet to come. Math, soccer, baseball, and following ALL of the New York sports teams are just a few of his interests.


(minimum peak rating 1800)

Tanuj Vasudeva of California
Tanuj graced our cover in October of 2009 as “Mr. Perfect,” because of his perfect score at the 2009 Pan American Youth Championship, winning the gold medal. He also won a silver medal at the World Youth Championship the same year. Tanuj proudly displays the 2008 National K-1 Championship trophy on his mantle, as well as three California state scholastic titles. Geography, math and astronomy are his favorite subjects, but I suspect it is only by a matter of degrees, since he has won the Cougar Club award for scholastic achievement in elementary school, three years in a row!

Cameron Wheeler
of California
Cameron won the K-3 title at the 2009 SuperNationals—a perfect complement to various second place finishes at previous national scholastic events, as well as to his two state championships. He plays the guitar, baseball, and basketball.

Tommy O. He
of Texas
When asked about his major chess successes, Tommy responded not with titles, but with “combination and middlegame.” The young man is learning—quickly! His favorite subjects are math, science and music. And guess what! After school he plays the violin,—and studies math and science. I don’t know how tennis fits in, but he also likes tennis.

Jeffery Xiong of Texas
Jeffery tied for second place in the K-3 section of the 2009 SuperNationals, finished tied for fourth place in the K-1 section of the 2007 National Elementary Championship, and also won the 2007 Ohio state second grade championship. Math is his favorite subject and he enjoys football, basketball, and dodgeball. And when he grows up? Banker and grandmaster!

Samuel Sevian of California
Samuel is another “local boy.” While he has played in a number of scholastic events (he’s a former Florida state K-3 champion), he seems to prefer playing in open events. Reaching 1800 was not a problem for Samuel. In fact, he broke the 2100 barrier at the 2009 American Open and peaked early this year at 2160 at the Golden State Open. Under the watchful eye of IM Andranik Matikozian, Samuel became the youngest expert in the USCF, and has the highest FIDE rating in the world (2144) for anyone under 10 years old! In school, his favorite subjects are math and science.

Jonathan Chiang of Texas
Coaches GM Gregory Kaidanov and FM Igor Shtern can be very proud of this youngster, as are his parents! Jonathan started off by winning the 2006 National Scholastic First Grade Championship, and hasn’t stopped to look back. He placed sixth in 2007 and fifth in 2009 in the World Youth Championships. Math and science are his favorite subjects, and he likes reading books. For exercise, it’s Taekwondo two or three times a week!