Young Stars featured on

FIDE Master Dennis Monokroussos has written an excellent article on the continuous, and very recent, success of the Young Star students, focusing mainly on Sevian and Xiong.

Find the article at:

U.S. Wins Gold at Chess Olympiad

The United States’ gold is the team’s first since 1976. But in that year, the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc countries boycotted the competition because it was held in Israel. The United States’ previous gold medals were in the 1930s — 1931, 1933, 1935 and 1937 — before the Soviet Union began to dominate the competition.

To read more about the US Men’s Team win at the 2016 Chess Olympiad’s and Kasparov Chess Foundation’s role in helping them get there, check out the complete New York Times article.

America’s Young Chess Champs

As featured in the Wall Street Journal on Sept. 5, 2016 – The Young Stars-Team USA program, a collaboration between the Kasparov Chess Foundation and the Saint Louis Chess Club, is churning out elite players at an impressive rate. Former Soviet chess world champion and political activist Garry Kasparov, now based in New York City, and Michael Khodarkovsky, the foundation’s president, have built a program similar to the one Mr. Kasparov attended as a youth in the Soviet Union. Read the entire article.

Xiong: World Champion

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!

You can read all about it either at the articles on or



Jeffery in action in India



Jeffery took out Nasuta Grzegorz in round 10
Xiong-vs-AravindhA key victory in round 8 against GM Chithambaram Aravindh


Young Stars Xiong and Liang 1-2 at U.S. Junior

With a prize fund higher than most national championships, you can expect that the U.S. Junior will attract several talented players. Leading the pack was Jeffery Xiong, with his massive 2641 FIDE, but it was not all smooth sailing for him. Second place Awonder Liang, only 13 years old, chased him the entire way. has a big write up that you can find here.

More tournaments, more success

It feels as if the Young Stars program is producing fantastic result after fantastic result, and that might just be the case. We published not too long ago a piece on Sam’s and Jeffery’s performances in their recent events, as well as Awonder’s fabulous result in the Continental Championship.

Jeffery has made the headlines yet again. A fabulous result in the 45th Capablanca Memorial, held in Havana, Cuba, this month granted him the first place in the Premier section of the tournament and another 13 rating points to his name.

51st Capablanca Mem Prem Varadero CUB Wed 8th Jun 2016 – Mon 20th Jun 2016
Leading Final Round 9 Standings:
Rk Name Ti FED Rtg Pts TB1
1 Jeffery Xiong GM USA 2627 6.5 25.75
2 Isan Ortiz Suarez GM CUB 2578 6 25
3 Kamil Dragun GM POL 2599 6 23
4 Yuniesky Quesada Perez GM CUB 2631 5.5 22.75
5 Yuri Gonzalez Vidal GM CUB 2555 4.5 17
6 Yusnel Bacallao Alonso GM CUB 2554 4 19
7 Samuel Sevian GM USA 2603 4 16.75
8 Camilo Gomez Garrido IM CUB 2546 3.5 15
9 Angel Arribas Lopez GM ESP 2544 3 11.5
10 Ivan Morovic GM CHI 2572 2 7.25 did a big expose, including analysis of two of his fantastic wins, and can be found here: ChessBase Article.


Grand Chess Tour starts in Leuven

Only five days after the finish of a brilliant event in Paris, the Grand Chess Tour moves on to Leuven, Belgium with the top-10 players in the World. The tournament, named YourNextMove, is being hosted at the Leuven City Hall.



World Champion Magnus Carlsen playing an opening tandem simul

The sponsor and organizer, Jan Callewaert, is the co-founder and President of the Kasparov Chess Foundation Europe and a driving force behind the European Union’s endorsement for the “Chess in Education” program. His contribution to chess in the region are palpable and the ability to host the strongest tournament in the history of Belgium is largely thanks to him.

You can follow the action at or at

GM-norm for Awonder

13-year-old Awonder Liang just earned his first GM norm at the Continental Championships held in San Salvador, El Salvador May 28-June 5, 2016. There were 13 Grandmasters (GMs), 12 International Masters (IMs) and 12 FIDE Masters (FMs) competing in the event.


Awonder comes from a greaet result in Hasselbacken

The 11 opponents whom Awonder competed against in the event are: (copied from Awonder’s GM Norm Certificate):
Round one: Oscar Valencia, El Salvador, FIDE Rating 1792 (adjusted to 2200), Awonder won
Round two: GM Lazaro Bruzon Batista, Cuba, FIDE Rating 2681, Awonder won
Round three:GM Alan Pichot,  Argentina, FIDE Rating 2532, draw
Round four: IM David Arenas,  Colombia, FIDE Rating 2496, Awonder won
Round five: GM Sergey Erenburg,  USA, FIDE Rating 2587, draw
Round six: FM Perez Gormaz Matias, Chile,  FIDE Rating 2437, Awonder won
Round seven: GM Emilio Cordova, Peru,  FIDE Rating 2602, draw
Round eight: GM Aleksandr Lenderman, USA,  FIDE Rating 2614, Awonder lost
Round nine: GM Yuri Gonzalez Vidal, Cuba,  FIDE Rating 2555, draw
Round ten: GM Sandro Mareco, Argentina,  FIDE Rating 2610, Awonder lost
Round eleven: CM Ernesto Jorge Giron, El Salvador,  FIDE Rating 2218, Awonder won
Awonder with newly made friends in El Salvador
Awonder elaborated to US Chess on his great result (and fun time!) in San Salvador.
“The people here seem very friendly and energetic. The drivers are among the most skillful and creative in the world. The streets in San Salvador are normally very crowded. But the buses taking us players and families from the three hotels to the playing avenue arrived safely and on time every day with the diligent and dutiful escort of police motorcades, and policemen armed with shotguns on the buses. The tournament was run very smoothly and the round always started punctuating the clock. This truly reflects that the organizer, the arbiters and other supporting members of the team, including the government, put in huge efforts with challenging conditions. I would like to  give a big “Thank You” to every one involved.
Another big  Thank You to Mr. John Buck and his company, Dr. Tansel Turgut, Dr. Nidal Aker, Dr. and Mrs. Dennis Doren, Dr. Connie Li and Prof. Ran Bin, Dr. and Mrs. Keming Song, Dr. and Mrs. David Huang, Dr. and Mr. Shucai Huang, Dr. and Mrs.Yiming Li, Dr. and Mrs. Xue Qi, Dr. and Mrs. Zhiliang Hu, Dr. and Mrs. Zhenhua Ma. Their generous financial support made my trips to chess tournaments, including this one, possible.
I would also like to say  Thank You to Mr. Garry Kasparov and Mr. Rex and Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield for their support to my uncompromising chess pursuit through the “Young Stars-Team USA” program, which is co-sponsored by the Kasparov Chess Foundation and the Saint Louis Chess Club and Scholastic Center.
Thank You to Mr. Mike Nietman, all of my teachers in school and all friends and supporters out there who have been backing me all the time.”
We at the Kasparov Chess Foundation congratulate Awonder for this amazing result, and wish him a swift path to his GM-title!
You can find more information about the tournament as well as Awonder’s games from that event at USChess

Young Stars success: Sevian and Xiong

The fight to be known as the best prospect for chess in America is a tough one. With the chess boom caused by the coming of top-level GMs to this country, as well as the impact of the Saint Louis Chess Club and the Kasparov Chess Foundation, there have been several impressive talented players making their ways up the national ranks. However, two of them stand head above the rest, and have recently distanced themselves even more from the pack: Sam Sevian and Jeffery Xiong, the two star students of the Young Stars program.


A typical training session for 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. These players are also individually trained by prominent grandmasters and famous coaches, including Alexander Chernin.


Jeffery Xiong proved that his 2600 is no accident. Photo: Austin Fuller.

Jeffery’s most recent success was his wonderful performance in the 2016 U.S. Chess Championship. The strongest American national championship ever held, with three top-10 players, was held in Saint Louis, Missouri a couple of weeks back. Jeffery was the youngest participant, and a first-timer at this prestigious event. The second youngest player, Akshat Chandra, qualified through his victory in last year’s U.S. Junior Championship and is also part of the Young Stars program.


Dress-wise, Jeffery is known for his lucky hoodie. Photo: Austin Fuller.

The performance of young Jeffery, hailing from Coppell, Texas, was astonishing. After nine rounds of chess he had not dropped a single full point, remaining undefeated until then and even defeating former U.S. Champion Gata Kamsky along the way. His only loss in the tournament came with the black pieces to none other than Hikaru Nakamura, at that point the defending U.S. Champion. He was aided in the tournament by GM Vladimir Georgiev, one of the KCF official coaches.

Jeffery’s performance gained him six rating points, and with that he cements his position as one of the top Junior players world-wide. He currently is ranked sixth in the World for players born after January 1st, 1996, and clear first for players born in January 1st, 2000 or later.ratinggraphjeffery

Jeffery’x meteoric ascent! Source:

It wasn’t only Jeffery that was making waves around the World, however. Sam Sevian just finished an impressive performance in the very strong Hasselbacken Open in Sweden. The field was star-studded, with players such as Andreikin, Almasi, Smirin and Shirov. It was precisely the Latvian legend of Alexei Shirov that fell victim to Sevian’s unstoppable chess in Hasselbacken in the fifth round.


Sam in action in Sweden. Photo from official website.

The Young Star started with a demolishing 4.5/5, and even though he was “only” able to draw his last four games, all against 2600+ rated grandmasters, he managed a beautiful 2657 performance and catapulted himself over the 2600 mark. He is currently tenth in the World in the Junior list, and second in the World in the list of players born after January, 1st 2000, but he is quickly on the pursuit of Jeffery’s #1 spot!


Sam’s crashing start came after giving a simultaneous exhibition!


Sam will be crossing 2600 in the next rating list, when Hasselbacken is included

Also with a great performance was Young Star Awonder Liang. Despite a rough start with only 2.0/4, the youngest IM in America was able to bounce back with an amazing 5.0/5 to finish the tournament with 7.0/9! His last round victory was against strong Russian GM Konstantin Landa.


Training to be the World’s best is no easy task, and there is little rest time. Both Sam and Jeffery will be attending a training session with Garry Kasparov and Michael Khodarkovsky in Saint Louis, from May 27-29. They will be joined by other American stars, such as Kayden Troff, John Burke and the rising female star Carissa Yip.


Sam Sevian, Garry Kasparov, Kayden Troff and Jeffery Xiong at the KCF Gala last year

With three players in the top ten, and such promising talent rising through the ranks, it is clear that the future of elite American chess is in a very healthy state!

Record-Breaking Turnout for 2016 All Girls Scholastic Championships

Nearly 450 K – 12 Students Across The Country Competed — And All Are Winners.

New York, NY, April 25, 2016 — Kasparov Chess Foundation held its 2016 All Girls Scholastic Championships this past weekend at the Hyatt Regency, McCormick Place in Chicago, IL, and scored a checkmate in terms of attendance smashing previous records. The Foundation organized and sponsored the tournament in association with local chess organization Renaissance Knights Foundation and the United States Chess Federation (USCF).

In total, 449 players from 27 states were represented at this year’s tournament, which took place on April 22nd – 24th. Following is a partial listing of the winners:

Under 8

Individual: Kally Wen, 6.0, CASJME

Team: Speyer Legacy, New York, NY

Under 10

Individual: Emma Cheng, 5.5 OHDBTE

Team: Weibel Elementary, Fremont CA

Under 12

Individual: Minda Chen 6.0 WASEJA

Team: Dalton, New York, NY

Under 14

Individual: Marissa Li, 5.0 ILLIKN

Team: University Prep Science & Math, MI

Under 16

Individual:  Thalia Cervantes 5.5 MOHOME

Team: Earl Stem, Chicago, IL

Under 18

Individual: Anupama Rajendra 5.5

Team: Hunter College High School, New York, NY

To view the complete results, please visit

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

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