SAINT LOUIS, MO, Nov. 26, 2012 — Sam Sevian and Kayden Troff each won a gold medal at the World Youth Chess Championship, which concluded in Maribor, Slovenia, on November 18.
Sam finished first overall in the under 12 section and Kayden earned the top spot in the under-14 section. Earlier this year, both players were selected by the Kasparov Chess Foundation (KCF) to participate in an intensive training program, which started in the beginning of 2012 with a special training camp conducted by World Champion and KCF Chairman Garry Kasparov in Saint Louis in June.
The KCF and the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis established a five-year grant partnership to develop several American chess prodigies from across the nation. The program, called Young Stars – Team USA, is designed to offer extraordinarily talented children the opportunity to maximize their potential and to achieve the highest level in chess.
“Our goal is to prepare the best young players in the country for the most difficult competition in the world,” Kasparov said. “Kayden and Sam prepared diligently for this event and proved they have what it takes to become the world’s elite. With continued hard work and dedication, these rising stars can help lead the next generation of chess players in the U.S.”
The Young Stars – Team USA program includes two training sessions with Kasparov each year, one in the summer in Saint Louis and one in the winter in New York City, and individual coaching for each participant. The winter Master Class session will take place December 14-16.
Kayden said hours of daily preparation and special training sessions with his coach GM Alex Chernin and Garry Kasparov have been key to his recent success.
“When it comes down to it, a result like this is why I spend 30-plus hours a week on chess, and I am just grateful it paid off,” Kayden said.
Because of the Young Stars program, Sam also has benefited from special training sessions with both Kasparov and Chernin. He said the fact that he entered the tournament ranked first overall in his section put some additional pressure on him to succeed.
“Plus the fact that many of my games were available in the database prior to the tournament [meant that] opponents could prepare specific lines against me,” Sam said. “In some of the games I found myself under severe time pressure, especially with black pieces. I had to spend a lot of time at the board just to equalize.”
Sam said that in addition to continuing to fine-tune his game, he hopes to attain his third IM norm in the coming year and plans to begin competing in tournaments that offer GM norm opportunities.
Kayden, who has already achieved the three IM norms necessary for the title, said he is working on improving his FIDE rating to 2400 and trying to maintain consistency in his performances. His results and upcoming tournaments can be found at http://kaydentroff.blogspot.com/.
About Kasparov Chess Foundation
Founded by World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov, KCF’s mission is to bring the many educational benefits of chess to children throughout the United States by providing a complete chess curriculum and enrichment programs. The Foundation promotes the study of chess as a cognitive learning tool in curricular classes and after-school programs for elementary, middle and high schools, both in the public and private school sectors. The not-for-profit educational organization also organizes tournaments and competitions on a local and national basis. For more information, please visit http://www.kasparovchessfoundation.org/.