It has been an amazing series of tournaments for young Jeffery Xiong. Starting with his days at the Dallas Chess Club many years ago, it was clear that this young player had an enormous potential. However, his meteoric rise has surprised almost everyone. After having an excellent result in the U.S. Championship, Jeffery followed it by winning the Capablanca Memorial, the U.S. Junior and has now added a World title to his name: World Junior Champion of 2016!
His hard work has certainly paid off, and it has come with some fantastic aid. Jeffery has taken the spotlight of a very competitive and challenging group: the Young Stars. The Young Stars – Team USA program has been sponsored by the Kasparov Chess Foundation (KCF) and the Chess Club & Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL) since 2012.
A group of young and promising chess players are assessed and evaluated by Garry Kasparov himself, along with KCF President and FIDE Senior Trainer Michael Khodarkovsky. The lead coach for this program is the world famous Alexander Chernin. This was designed as a 5 year program commenced in 2012. Jeffery’s championship is a culmination of the 5 year program. Other stars include Kayden Troff and Sam Sevian, who won the World Youth Championship under 14 and 12 respectively, Awonder, twice World Youth under 8 and 10, Carissa Yip tied for first at the World Youth under 12, and Ashritha Eswaran who was the 2015 Continental Girls Junior champion under 20.
American chess is becoming quite a superpower: Jeffery and Sam Sevian are the highest rated players born in the year 2000, while John Burke and Ruifeng Li are the highest rated players born in the year 2001!
A big part of Jeffery’s success can of course be attributed to his first coach, GM Babakuli Annakov as well as his current help in India, GM Vladimir Georgiev.
This is the seventh time an American wins this prestigious event:
1957- William Lombardy
1976 – Mark Diesen
1979 – Yasser Seirawan
1985 – Maxim Dlugy
1990 – Ilya Gurevich
1997 – Tal Shaked
Even though the World Junior is an u20 tournament, Jeffery has won it at the tender age of 15, definitely the youngest American to do so and we are figuring out if the youngest in history: we will updated the story when we have confirmation.
His style throughout the event has been true to his roots: uncompromising and dynamic play, never afraid of taking risks.
Jeffery’s new rating will be just shy of 2650. The only comparable player is Wei Yi with his 2720, but the Chinese player is over a year older than the American.
The first seed, Vladislav Artemiev, was able to win his last round and obtain second place. Third place on tiebreaks went to the Indian Narayanan Sunilduth, but it was a narrow margin over a surprise of the tournament: FM Xu Yi from China who gained a massive 67 rating points. A group of players tied for fifth at 8.5, not even including the Iranian terror who had dominated his opponents in the last couple of months and making a 70+ rating point jump: Parham Maghsoodloo!
Jeffery in action in India