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Juniors Fish For Victims This Summer Print E-mail
By Jennifer Shahade   
June 17, 2009
11-year-old expert Kayden Troff with one of his victims!

As kids around the country get excited for the summer, chess kids get ready for some serious practice, and training.  Meanwhile, the Cadet Championships are set to take place from in USCF headquarters in Crossville, TN from July 7-10. The U.S. Junior Open and Closed has moved  from Waukesha to Milwaukee, WI but will still take place on the previously announced dates, July 10-17. This year's Junior Closed, unlike last year's, will feature some of the very best Under 21 players in the country. Look for the full scoop very soon on CLO.

Summer camps are also in session! Two ten-year-old American experts, Luke Harmon of Idaho and Kayden Troff (Kayden just turned 11 but topped the latest top 10-year-old list ) of Utah both will be attending the July session of the U.S. Chess School in New York with GM Alexander Onischuk. Yury Shulman's first summer camp just kicked off, also with Onischuk. Read about more summer chess camps in Alexey Root's summary, or check out the listings.

Kayden Troff, like Harmon, has his own chess website. Troff is very serious about chess, as his recent improvement should make clear. Kayden learned at the age of three from his father and is home-schooled to allow for an intensive chess training program including 6-7 hours of daily study. Troff also had a good tournament at the National Open, raising his rating all the way up to 2062.   Check out a press release by Damian Nash on Kayden's topping the 10-year-old list.

Kayden's website includes info on his achievements, personal photos and thoughts and sponsorship information. Kayden also offers his own tips on playing chess, including, "TO REALLY GET GOOD AT CHESS, YOU HAVE TO REALLY LIKE IT." Kayden's favorite players are GMs Gregory Kaidanov and Nigel Davies, and one of his favorite books is Jeremy Silman's, How to Reassess Your Chess.

Kayden's father, Dan also described his son's intensive training program and how they combine chess work with home-schooling and physical exercise: "He gets up at 7am and does some reading together with the family.  He then studies his favorite openings on ChessBase while he is eating breakfast and he continues to study ChessBase for about an hour.  He then logs into Improveyourchess.com and does 45 problems in the advanced section of the Chess Gym.  This usually lasts about 1/2 hour.  He then does 50 problems at random (from the 2300 problems) in the testing section of the Convekta Endgame module with 85-95% accuracy.  After this he does math. He then works on physical fitness where he will run 1-2 miles or he may do Dance, Dance Revolution, the Wii Fit or play basketball against his older brother. He tries to do something very active to help him train for the longer over the board tournaments. After lunch he reads and does Science." The evening concludes with more ICC and debating the day's chess with Rykba!  Does some of this sound familiar? CLO also wrote about Luke Harmon Vellotti's training program about a year ago.

Here is a win by Kayden in a quick game tournament on World Chess Live, over IM Alex Lenderman.


Luke Harmon in the G/10, playing against WIM Alisa Melekhina

Harmon-Vellotti also  had a great run in Las Vegas, defeating GM Dmitry Gurevich and WIM Alisa Melekhina in the G/10. He went on to score 3 out of 6 in the Open Section of the National Open including wins over two masters.


Another youngster who has been making waves in time for a hot summer is Darwin Yang. The 12-year-old scored 4 out of 7 in the Chicago Open to earn his highest rating ever, 2354. He lost a few of those points in the National Open, but the World Youth bronze medalist is still comfortably over 2300.


Stay tuned to CLO for reports from the Cadet, the U.S. Junior Closed, the U.S. Chess School, and of course the results of our top juniors in the major events of the summer including the World Open, the U.S. Class Championships and the U.S. Open. This article is not meant to be comprehensive, so also please feel free to comment on the success of other rising youth players.