Ashritha Eswaran is Girls u20 U.S. Champion

Yet another victory for a member of the Young Stars program, sponsored by the Kasparov Chess Foundation. This time it was Ashritha Eswaran’s turn to shine, as she won the U.S. Junior Girls Invitational in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with an outstanding score of 6.5/9.


Ahsritha Eswaran hard at work in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Photo by Ruth Haring.

The tournament brought together some of the strongest female players in the nation under the age of 20. The ten-player Round Robin was quite strong, with an average rating of well over 2200; included among them were U.S. Women’s Championship participants Apurva Virkud, Annie Wang, Jennifer Yu and Sarah Chiang. The tournament was sponsored by Frank and Jim Berry.


The 10 players for this year’s Junior Girls Invitational. Ahsritha was the lowest ranked, but emerged with the win!

Despite being a tournament for players under 20, Ahsritha emerged victorious at the young age of 14! From San Jose, California, Ashritha is no stranger to top level competition. She has participated in several World Youth championships as well as the 2014 U.S. Women’s Championship.

The first-ever Congressional Chess Match at the Rayburn House Office Building on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Invision for Invision for Saint Louis Chess Club/AP Images)

The first-ever Congressional Chess Match at the Rayburn House Office Building on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Invision for Invision for Saint Louis Chess Club/AP Images). Ashritha is here with Young Star teammates Jeffery Xiong, Kayden Troff, Samuel Sevian and, of course, Garry Kasparov.

Ashritha started with a loss in Tulsa, but she recovered tremendously. In the last four rounds she obtained 3.5/4 points, good enough to win the event by a full point over the competition. Maggie Feng played Ashritha in the last round, and a draw was good enough for Ashritha to clinch the tournament. Things started to look bad for her, but, according to her coach, GM Dejan Bojkov, she cleverly swindled her opponent and even took the full point for herself.


Ashritha with organizer Frank Berry receiving her 1st place prize

There is no time to rest for Ashritha, however, as she travels to Cali, Colombia straight from Tulsa. She will be representing the United States in the Panamerican Under 18 Girl’s Championship, again playing above her age group. We wish her the best of luck and we hope to be reporting on her success in Colombia soon. She is off to a good start with 2.0/2!


A final dinner for the players to unwind and say good bye to each other

The final standings of the tournament:

Rk. Name Rtg Pts.
1 Eswaran Ashritha 2143 6.5
2 WIM Wang Annie 2264 5.5
3 WCM Feng Maggie 2209 5.0
4 WFM Chiang Sarah 2282 4.5
5 WFM Bykovtsev Agata 2143 4.5
6 WIM Liao Simone 2203 4.5
7 WCM Virkud Apurva 2233 4.0
8 Yip Carissa 2257 4.0
9 WFM Yu Jennifer 2285 4.0
10 WFM Regam Jessica 2159 2.5

You can find more information at

All photos by Dejan Bojkov unless specified

Message from the Chairman


I want to take this opportunity to thank you for  your interest in the most worthy of endeavors – the education of our  children. In an age when schools are facing significant budgetary  restraints, there is a greater need than ever to make chess available to  as many students as possible. We’ve assembled the very best in chess  education to develop a complete chess curriculum – K through 12.

We’ve designed a program that encourages  creativity, instills self-discipline and offers hope and a feeling of  accomplishment to millions of children. But we can’t do it alone. With  your help, we can bring chess into the classrooms where it belongs. We can  turn our dream of a better education for tomorrow into a reality today.  KCF’s mission is to bring the many educational benefits of chess to children throughout the world by providing a complete chess curriculum and enrichment programs.

Now in its tenth year of operation, the Foundation works with more than 3,500 schools throughout the United States and many more around the world, to promote the study of chess as a cognitive learning tool in curricular classes and after-school programs for elementary, middle and high schools. The not-for-profit educational organization also organizes tournaments and competitions on a local and national basis.

Thank you for your continued support and generous donations.

Young Stars USA Session (1/2)


The tension could be cut with a knife; the focus and intensity of every member of the room was apparent. A trio of tables had been arranged in a U shape, and everyone was ignoring the laptops in front of them, focusing instead on the position on the projector. Suddenly, one of them spoke up. In a voice that was still crackling from the changes brought on by puberty, he rattled of a variation several moves deep. The room fell silent for a few seconds, before another player gave a refutation. “Aha!” was the only thing Sam Sevian could say to the rebuttal from Jeffery Xiong, and the analysis continued. Meanwhile the greatest chess player in history sat quietly, looking at the position and judging the variations given by his students.


Kayden Troff working with Garry Kasparov at the Saint Louis Chess Club

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. These players are also individually trained by prominent grandmasters and famous coaches, including Alexander Chernin.

Jumping off the plane from his visit at the Norway 2015 Super Tournament, Kasparov sat down from Thursday, June 18th – Saturday, June 20th in the Temple of Chess, the Saint Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center, with some of the most talented kids in the Young Stars program. This time around the field was unbelievably strong:

  • GM Samuel Sevian
  • GM Kayden Troff
  • GM-elect Jeffery Xiong
  • IM Akshat Chandra
  • FM Awonder Liang

The youngest participant is only twelve years old, the oldest a mere seventeen. The table boasts of having won many medals at World Youths, but they know that their path to success is only starting. Hard work is still required for these talented youngsters to rise to the very top of the elite in the chess world: their competition in a few years will be the players that are currently playing in the Grand Chess Tour, which is currently happening in Norway.


GM Samuel Sevian has under his belt a World Championship title (u-12, 2012) and he qualified to the World Cup with an excellent performance at the U.S. Championship

The players were asked to bring their games for review by their peers and by Kasparov himself, assessing the progress that these players have made in the past six months, and advising on what weaknesses need to be focused on, which strengths can be improved, and what errors need to be eliminated.


Kasparov and Jeffery Xiong in Washington D.C.

This invaluable experience is sure to help these talents tremendously, as these five players represent the best hopes for the future in American chess. Their successes are already known around the World, and they hope to establish themselves in the extremely strong American Olympic team soon – that is the goal of each and every one of them.


An evaluation session finished off the meeting early Saturday morning. Below we are posting the easiest three puzzles in the series, and we will be providing the solutions in a couple of days here in the website. Do you think you are up to the challenge? The players had 70 minutes to solve a ten-puzzle series. Here are the first three:




As with any good puzzle, all you know is that you are playing as the White pieces and you must find the best moves. We will be bringing you a video of this year’s training session as well as the solution to the puzzles very soon!


Success for Jeffery Xiong

It has already been a fantastic year for the young members of the Young Stars program, which is co-sponsored by the Saint Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center as well as the Kasparov Chess Foundation. Earlier this year Sam Sevian had a fantastic performance in the U.S. Championship, earning his qualification to the 2015 World Cup, to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, later this year. However he is not the only youngster with a meteoric rise. Jeffrey Xiong, aged only 14, has recently conquered a top international open and obtained his grandmaster title to boot!


Jeffrey Xiong showing his skills in the 2015 edition of the U.S. Junior Championship in Saint Louis. Photo by Austin Fuller -Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

Jeffrey scored an impressive 7.0/9 in the world-famous Chicago Open, held in Wheeling, Illinois every year. This event attracts grandmasters from around the World, from as far away as Belarus and as strong as Gata Kamsky (former U.S. Champion) and Lazaro Bruzon Batista (Cuba’s #2 player). However, this time they were no match for young Jeffrey as his score was good enough for clear first, his final grandmaster norm and the rating bump needed to cross 2500 – the last requirement in obtaining the coveted title. As a nice bonus, Jeffrey took home $10,300 in prize money.

The following were the final standings in the Chicago Open:

# Name Rtng Tot
1 IM Jeffery Xiong 2497 7.0
2 GM Gata Kamsky 2673 6.5
3 GM Illia I Nyzhnyk 2622 6.5
4 GM Daniel A Naroditsky 2622 6.5
5 GM Sergei Azarov 2619 6.5
6 GM Samuel Sevian 2565 6.5
7 GM Vladimir Georgiev 2550 6.5
8 GM Vladimir Dobrov 2490 6.5
9 FM Eric S Rosen 2372 6.5
1st U2400
10 GM Lazaro Bruzon Batista 2684 6.0
11 GM Boris Avrukh 2609 6.0
12 GM Ioan Chirila 2542 6.0
13 GM Joshua E Friedel 2505 6.0
14 IM Ashwin Jayaram 2466 6.0
15 FM Atulya Shetty 2331 6.0
2nd U2400
16 GM Bartlomiej Macieja 2605 5.5
17 GM Isan Ortiz Suarez 2581 5.5
18 GM Kayden W Troff 2556 5.5
19 GM Holden Hernandez Carmenate 2544 5.5
20 GM Conrad Holt 2533 5.5

On his way to tournament victory he defeated grandmasters Boris Avrukh, from Israel, and Lazaro Bruzon Batista, from Cuba, in the final two rounds – must wins to claim clear first!

Jeffery lives in Coppell, Texas – part of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. He is an arduous worker both on and off the board, studying many hours a day to keep up with the latest opening trends, as well as polishing his strength. As a youngster, he was trained by GM Babakuli Annakov and practiced in the Dallas Chess Club – a strong center of players due to the proximity to the University of Texas at Dallas; one of the top collegiate teams in the country.

The big leap for Jeffery made came with his joining of Young Stars, a program catapulting extremely talented children and giving them the tools and opportunities to achieve the highest level in chess. The program is run by KCF president and FIDE Senior Trainer Michael Khodarkovsky. Since the inception of the program in 2012 Jeffery has been coached by grandmasters Alexander Chernin (head coach of the Young Stars program) and Gabor Kallai, both from Hungary. Also he has two training sessions a year with Garry Kasparov, one in New York and one in Saint Louis – the upcoming one will be held in the Missouri city starting June 18.


Jeffery’s Rating Progress – only going up!

Jeffery knows that his path to the top is only starting, and his next goal will be to qualify to the 2016 U.S. Chess Championship, the most important tournament of the year in America outside of the Sinquefield Cup. To do this, he will be participating in the U.S. Junior Closed Championship to be held in Saint Louis – the winner if this strong tournament will earn a direct spot in the U.S. Championship of the following year. Competition will not be easy, as some of his Young Stars colleagues will most likely be participating, including grandmasters Kayden Troff and Sam Sevian.


Photo: Austin Fuller, Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

 His goal is to be part of the U.S. Olympic team – and join the ranks of Hikaru Nakamura and Fabiano Caruana in representing his country in the maximum level of chess. He will continue his climb to the top with the backing of the Kasparov Chess Foundation.


Jeffery Xiong Makes History in Chicago Open

Congratulations to 14-year-old Jeffery Xiong, who took clear first at the Chicago Open with 7/9! Xiong took home over $10,000, earned his third GM norm and gained enough rating points to push him over 2500 FIDE!

To read more about Jeffrey’s big win, click here.


Kasparov Delivers Commencement Speech at Saint Louis University – Receives Honorary Doctorate of Laws

On May 16, 2015, Garry Kasparov delivered the commencement speech at Saint Louis University.  To read the transcript of his speech, please click here.  To watch the entire commencement speech on video, click here.


Executives From Kasparov Chess Foundation’s Five Branches Gathered for Annual Meeting In St. Louis On April 27, 2015

Representatives From All Five Continents Met to Map Out The Future of Chess Education.

New York, NY, April 28, 2015 — Kasparov Chess Foundation held its annual conference on Monday, April 27th, at the World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis, MO.  Leaders from all five Kasparov Chess Foundation’s worldwide branches, along with the Foundation’s Chairman and Hall of Famer, Garry Kasparov, presented their programs that bring chess to students from Africa to Europe, the United States to Asia, and beyond.

While in St. Louis, former World Champion Mr. Kasparov played an exhibition match against Britain’s GM Nigel Short at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis. KCF executives from Africa, Asia, Europe, Mexico, and the United States, made presentations of their programs and accomplishments for the last fifteen months. Further, they discussed new initiatives and programs, as well as collaboration between all branches.

According to Michael Khodarkovsky, President of Kasparov Chess Foundation USA, “The conference is an opportunity for all of the KCF family foundation to share their experience and ways of improvements, as well as future plans. And, it was very productive to meet face-to-face and learn from each other about successes as well as difficulties in accomplishment of our mission to bring chess in education. It is very inspiring to hear visionary guidance by KCF Chairman, Garry Kasparov, which would certainly have an indisputable impact on our programs worldwide,” he explained.


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

Record Breaking All-Girls Nationals in Chicago – Lampman & Behura Among Winners

This past weekend, the All Girls National Scholastic Championships took place in Chicago.  To read more about it, click here.


Garry Kasparov Vs. Nigel Short, Live At the CCSCSL, April 25 – 26

World chess legends Garry Kasparov and Nigel Short will meet later this month for the first Battle of the Legends exhibition match, to be held in Saint Louis, the Chess Capital of the United States.

On April 25-26, former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov and famed English Grandmaster Nigel Short will play a series of blitz and rapid games at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL), rekindling the duo’s match at the 1993 World Chess Championship.

For more information on this event, please visit the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis web site.

International Launch of the Kasparov MiniChess Mobile Application

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City of Tshwane, Gauteng, 10 February, 2015 game released internationally – This is a historic day for us and we would love to share it with you. Come join the celebration as we launch the one-and-only Kasparov-MiniChess mobile game on App Store and Google Play. The MiniChess Mobile Game, in association with Garry Kasparov, will be show-cased on Tuesday, 24 February at MiniChess Head Office in Pretoria. The concept was developed by Marisa van der Merwe (Developer of the Award-winning Educational Program, MiniChess) and the mobile game is endorsed by Chess Grandmaster and former World Chess Champion, Garry Kasparov. The Mobile game was developed and published by the reputable HeroCraft. The concept designed by Michelle Robbertse with the script written by Gregory Blyth.

A number of prominent guests have been invited to bear witness to this exclusive unveiling, including respected business leaders, MiniChess associates, MiniChess franchise members, and most importantly children who will play the MiniChess mobile game. The Honourable, Founder Marisa van der Merwe, will deliver a keynote speech at the event.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to get their photographs taken with the famous life-sized Cheddar the cartoon chess mouse from the MiniChess mobile game. The MiniChess mobile game will be housed in Apple app store, Google Play store and for all medium size mobile phones and tablets.
“Experiencing the MiniChess mobile app, isn’t just any enjoyment, it is a new opportunity to learn through play – for all ages”, said Founder Marisa van der Merwe.

The Kasparov-MiniChess educational mobile game enables children to learn and play chess with colourful, interactive and fun gaming. Even kids as young as five can enjoy playing with Cheddar the Chess mouse. He makes learning fun and easy, with over 80 different and exciting mini-games to play. This affordable fun teaching tool is now available on App Store and Google Play
Educational Benefits of Kasparov-MiniChess, the game: Mathematics Development (Adding and Subtracting; Division; Multiplication; Introducing numbers; Counting; Categorizing), Algebraic Concepts and Pre-Concepts (Spatial Orientation / Directions and Graph Reading & Coordinates); Pre-Reading & Writing Skills (Shape recognition; Fine motor skills/ hand-eye coordination; Word and sound recognition (Listening exercises); Visual memory) and Life Skills Development (Colour and Pattern recognition; Steriognostic development; Planning & Strategic thinking & Emotional awareness; Reasoning & Problem solving and Comprehension).

“MiniChess empowers not only the children of South Africa towards a bright future but also creates jobs and nurtures entrepreneurship inside communities. Taking hands with international leaders, I hope that Tuesday the 24th of February 2015’s historical Kasparov-MiniChess launch – will continue to inspire the people and children of our country for generations to come,” concluded Mrs Marisa van der Merwe.

Issued by: MiniChess Proprietary Limited

Contact 1: Ms Kim Boman
Tel: 084 513 0222
Contact 2: Ms Michelle Robbertse
Tel: 012 347 6464