Young Stars USA Training

The Kasparov Chess Foundation (KCF) and the Saint Louis Chess Club have been running the very successful Young Stars program for the past seven years. The program has helped develop several American chess prodigies from across the country, including the likes of GM Jeffery Xiong and GM Sam Sevian. Students receive individualized training sessions with Kasparov’s coaching staff and special training sessions with Garry Kasparov himself.

The second weekend of December saw a new training session with promising American players. The following attended the camp:

Standing: Khodarkovsky, Kasparov

Sitting: Jacobson, Yip, Wu, Lee, Yoo, Mishra

– IM Brandon Jacobson (NJ)- only one GM norm left for the title, as he has crossed 2500
– IM Christopher Yoo (CA)- 2nd highest rated 13-year old in the World
– IM Abhinav Mishra (NJ) – the youngest IM in the world, at the age of only ten years, nine months and three days;
– IM Carissa Yip (MA) – rated #1 in the previous rating list among all US Women players. Member of the Olympic team and competing for first board.
– WIM Rochelle Wu (CA) – Youngest member of the 2019 U.S. Women’s World Championship team
– WCM Alice Lee (MN) – 10-years old freshmen of the program, 2019 World Cadets Champion for girls under 10

The session was conducted by the 13th World Chess Champion, Garry Kasparov and FIDE Senior Trainer Michael Khodarkovsky at KCF’s headquarters in Midtown Manhattan.

Renowned grandmaster and trainer Dmitry Gurevich attended this session and had the following to say:

“I was fortunate to be present at two sessions of KCF Young Stars years ago: first time with Sam Schmakel and later with Brian Luo. Both of these students are very talented and bright. Sam became an IM and Brian stopped playing, unfortunately. But, talent aside, this generation is on a totally different level.
Dmitry Gurevich gave great praise to this new group of Young Stars
For example, years ago Garry would go for length to explain some interesting but basic endgames. Now he wouldn’t touch them because they are too simple for the modern youngsters. Brandon, Carissa, Abhimanyu and others are much stronger than the top boys and girls 10-12 years ago.
On the other hand their strength is based on computer  analysis and preparations and what will come out of it remains unclear.
Garry Kasparov seems to be enjoying working with his young students now as much as he did back then.  The audience was engaged and responded enthusiastically. I don’t know anybody better and more charismatic than Kasparov, to share his wisdom with the youngsters and give them the resources to reach their peak. We can only wait and see what happens next.
Thanks to Michael, the organization was superb now as it was years ago. My student Alice Lee was invited for the next KCF session, and I am looking forward to attend it in Saint Louis in June.”

Young Stars has open admission for talented kids from all over the World to apply to this elite program. Candidates may apply by submitting the application found here: KCF YoungStars Application. The program is open for talented players that are nine (9) years of age on January 1, 2020, and not older than thirteen (13) years of age on January 1, 2020.

Send the full applications to: youngstars@kasparovchessfoundation.org

Zagreb Welcomes Kasparov Chess Foundation’s Young Stars: Ukrainian Children in the Spotlight

July 22, 2022, Zagreb, Croatia — The Kasparov Chess Foundation and Kasparov Chess Foundation Adriatic organized a special training session for talented Ukrainian kids in Zagreb, Croatia. A city known for its historic center square, became home to a big stop on the 2022 Grand Chess Tour. Garry Kasparov, Chairman of Kasparov Chess Foundation, was there to highlight talented young players, and to give them a lesson they’re not likely to ever forget.

Ukrainian young talents Ihor Samunenkov, Kyrylo Nezhentsev, and Mariya Manko participated in a training session with the 13th World Champion, Garry Kasparov, and FIDE Senior Trainer, Michael Khodarkovsky. Part of KCF’s Young Stars program, the session took place during the Grand Chess Tour (#grandchesstour) event in Zagreb. The Kasparov Chess Foundation’s “Young Stars” is organized for young talented players from around the world. 

Ukrainian children participated in the session organized by the Kasparov Chess Foundation and they also had a chance to take photos and chat with the legendary player! Garry Kasparov even procclaimed, “I think Ukrainian chess has a great future!” Kasparov has been adamant in his support for Ukraine in their war against Russia.

Ihor Samunenkov is a rising star from #Ukraine. In 2021 he became the national rapid champion and also has a GM norm. He is one of the Young Stars participants in Zagreb. #grandchesstour #chess


Ukrainian rising chess stars recently participated in Kasparov Chess Foundation’s Young Stars program in Zagreb, Croatia. Pictured with the Ukranian students are Garry Kasparov, Chairman of the Foundation, and Michael Khodarkovsky, Foundation President.

Young Stars benefit from Kasparov’s Session

The Kasparov Chess Foundation (KCF) and Saint Louis Chess Club have been running the very successful Young Stars – Team USA program for the past six years. Team USA’s program has helped develop several American chess prodigies from across the country. including the likes of GM Jeffery Xiong and GM Sam Sevian. Team USA has been capped off with individualized training sessions with Kasparov’s coaching staff and special training sessions with Garry Kasparov himself.

The Saint Louis Chess Club is an organization that knows no rest! The Club restarted this year their Classic tournament series – a quarterly event with two very strong Round Robins. These proved to be perfect training grounds for three of our Young Stars; it was only convenient to have a training weekend immediately afterwards to learn from the tournament. Garry Kasparov lead the session and was assisted by FIDE Senior Trainer Michael Khodarkovsky. Four very strong students were able to participate, though three of them did it in person:

  • GM Jonas Bjerre
  • GM Abhimanyu Mishra
  • GM Christopher Yoo

Top: Michael Khodarkovsky, Jonas Bjerre, Garry Kasparov. Sitting in front: Christopher Yoo, Abhimanyu Mishra. Photo Courtesy of the Saint Louis Chess Club.

The youngest participant, WIM Alice Lee, joined the session online as she was unable to travel this weekend. The average rating of the students was a whopping 2497.

A lesson from the pandemic: Even though the experience of attending a camp in person is much superior to attending online, it is still better than not participating! Alice Lee had to join via zoom. The game being presented here is a fascinating struggle between Jonas Bjerre vs. Nikolas Theodorou.

The top Danish Chess Player: Jonas Buhl Bjerre. Jonas has been part of the Young Stars program for three years. He is trained by the head coach of the Young Stars program GM Alexander Chernin. Photo Courtesy of the Saint Louis Chess Club.

Jonas Bjerre recently crossed the 2600 mark and is currently the highest rated player in all of Denmark. His next big challenge will be at the 2022 Chess Olympiad in Chennai, leading the Denmark squad as their #1 board. His tournament game against Abhi must have felt rather sour as he let his fellow Young Star narrowly escape.

Despite facing strong opposition, “Abhi” had a fantastic performance at the Summer Classic. Photo Courtesy of the Saint Louis Chess Club.

Abhimanyu Mishra has been a hot topic for the chess world in the past year. He shattered Sergey Karjakin’s record to become the youngest GM of all time. He is now making quick strides towards his next goal: breaking 2600. He picked up a whopping 17 points towards this goal in the Summer Classic and is less than 50 points away.

Christopher Yoo crossed the 2550 mark at the exact same time as Abhimanyu: Christopher picked up 6 points in the Summer Classic, including a last round win against Young Stars alumnus GM John Burke. An overall success for all of these youngsters.

Strong chess training always involves beautiful compositions. Try your luck, or at least try to figure out the main ideas, in the following puzzle:

Only one of the participants got our featured composition this time around. Study by IM in Chess Composition Yehuda Hoch. Solution below.

The training session was the usual combination of hectic and intense. Variations were thrown around so often it was important to pay attention and keep up and calculate in your mind!

The Young Stars Program has open admission for talented kids from all over the World to apply to this elite program. Candidates may apply by submitting the application found here: KCF YoungStars Application. The program is open for talented players that are nine (9) years of age on January 1, 2022, and not older than thirteen (13) years of age on January 1, 2022.

Send the full applications to: youngstars@kasparovchessfoundation.org

Study’s Solution: White’s plan is clear, the pawns must be advanced. In return, Black must use the fact that thet king is still weak on h1 to prevent the rolling pawns from queening.

 

All Girls National Championships Winners and Recap

This year, Chicago welcomed back Kasparov Chess Foundation’s All Girls National Chess Championships, the largest and most prestigous girls only tournament in the USA. Now in its 18th year, KCF All-Girls National Chess Championships took place on April 22 – 24th at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place.

Presented in association with Renaissance Knights Chess Foundation and U.S. Chess Federation, nearly 400 girls from 33 states participated – a tremendous turnout. Players participated in the following categories: Under 8 years old, under 10, under 12, under 14, under 16, and under 18; sections. The Champion in each age category, qualified to represent the USA at the 2022 World Cadets (U8, U10, U12) and World Youth (U14, U16, U18) Championships. The organizers recognized the challenges presented by COVID-19 and definitely rose to the occasion. Following are the winners in each age category:

Under 8 Individual: Dena Wang, NY, NYNYHN

Under 8 Team: PS 77 Lower Lab, New York, NY

Under 10 Individual: Ananya Wadhwa, KS, KSOPVP

Under 10 Team: PS 334 Anderson School, New York, NY

Under 12 Individual: Jasmine Su, CT, CTMSMS

Under 12 Team: Hunter College Elementary school, New York, NY

Under 14 Individual: Kally Wen, CA, CASJBS

Under 14 Team: Success Academy Hudson Yards, New York, NY

Under 16 Individual: Asha Kumar, NC, NCDUDA

Under 16 Team: Discovery M.S., Madison, AL

Under 18 Individual: Iris Mou, from NY, NYNYDL

Under 18 Team: Dalton, New York, NY

For more information on standings and to see pictures from the tournament, please visit Renaissance Knights Chess Foundation.

Training Session Kasparov

The Kasparov University Cup was held on February 5-6, and at the end of two days of online battles it was the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley which took home the cup.  The tournament attracted students from every continent and from over thirty countries. With nearly 700 participants, it was anybody’s tournament, but UTRGV had a brilliant performance to become the repeat winner.

The first prize for the winning team was a private training session with legendary world champion Garry Kasparov. One more university team had this magnificent opportunity with the 13th World Champion, and that was awarded to the winner of the u2200 rating section: the University of Texas at Dallas.

UTRGV’s team was composed of GM Kamil Dragun, IM Viktor Gazik, IM Irakli Beradze and Ricardo Peredo, and is supervised by Coach GM Bartek Macieja and Manager GM Alex Mista.

Both sessions were one hour long each. The teams met Kasparov over zoom, and both hours were certainly action packed. The team from UTRGV had their session first. The World Champion prepared nine different games which exemplified his decision making in complex situations, his attacking intuition and what patterns allowed him to decide if a sacrifice had the potential to work.

Many of these games are rather recognizable masterpieces!

Some of the stronger students were aware of the more famous games that Kasparov showed, and it made the discussion only the more interesting: they were able to get into the mind of the World Champion in key junctures of the games were a decision seemed difficult to make.

An example of a position in which intuitive understanding, developed through many years of practicing the same opening, proves to be correct. Kasparov was candid explaining the way that he sought and solved problems during games. In this particular example, Kasparov is playing black against Movsesian in the Sarajevo tournament of 2000. Black has many ways to continue his queenside initiative, for which he has already sacrificed an exchange. Instead, Kasparov played the move 16… 0-0 “castling into it”. White’s attack is not as fast as Black’s with the important inclusion of the rook to the proper flank, and Black won a beautiful game.

The second session was with the University of Texas at Dallas, represented this time by GM Razvan Preotu, IM Guillermo Vazquez, IM Joshua Ruiz, IM Ivan Schitco, Chris Vazquez and Wilson Farris. The head coach of UTD is GM Julio Sadorra.

In many cases brilliant games come with a myriad of easy-to-miss but fantastical and instructive variations. The students were able to delve into Kasparov’s own analysis during his brilliant bout against Viswanathan Anand in Linares 1994, and also all of the variations that stemmed from these positions.

The students certainly seemed happy with their sessions, UTD had the following to say:

“I’m so happy for my guys to hear the passion and see high level decision-making of the great World Champion through some of his memorable games.” -Coach Julio Sadorra

“The KCF Cup was a great experience for me because I got to perform really well against strong opposition. The training session with the 13th World Champion was definitely something special. Personally, it was extremely inspiring to see how a great player analyzes and more importantly the amount of belief and confidence Kasparov has in himself and in his position, no matter the opponent and the circumstances.” -IM Ivan Schitco

“I’m challenged to keep improving my chess education and inspired to make strong exchange sacs like Garry!” GM-elect Guillermo Vazquez

Coach Bartek Macieja from UTRGV:

“We would like to thank Mr. Garry Kasparov and the Kasparov Chess Foundation (particularly its President – Mr. Michael Khodorkovsky) for this tremendous opportunity. We will remember it forever and we look forward to participating in next year’s edition of the tournament.”

Support Ukrainian Chess Players – Your Help Is Needed Now!

University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley wins 2nd Annual KCF University Cup

The Kasparov Chess Foundation organized the second annual KCF University Cup was played on lichess.org and hosted on chessstream.com on the weekend of February 5 and 6, 2022. The tournament attracted students from every continent and from over thirty countries. With nearly 700 participants, the event was a resounding success.

The KCF University Cup is an annual international online team event which is open to teams from a post-secondary school (university, college, community college, etc.) enrolled in at least one class in the January 2022 semester. The time control was a quick 10 minutes with a 5 second increment, perfect for a collegiate setting. A team consists of four players plus two alternates.  This year, the event featured a team rating cap of 2400 – no team could have an average rating exceeding 2400. This little twist made the event extremely competitive. One of the examples:

LiChess.org hosted the KCF University Cup. This was one of the many grandmaster games of the event: Missouri University’s Mikhail Antipov against Saint Louis University’s Robby Kevlishvili. White won a crushing game!

The competition was a nine round Swiss tournament, with some impressive statistics:

  • 146 teams from 79 colleges/universities
  • 31 countries from All Continents
  • Nearly 700 players participated
  • 16 GMs, 19 IMs, 2 WGMs, 3 WIMs, 14 FMs, 5 WFMs

Players from all over the world participated in the event. To ensure fair play, players had to log in to a giant, monitored zoom call.

The battles on the chess screens were intense. With a rating cap of 2400, it was clear that there would be no absolute favorite starting the event. It was hard to predict that 11 teams fielded a four player average of 2360 or more! The National Technical University of Athens managed to field a near perfect 2398.

Teams kept taking points off each other, and it was exceedingly rare for a match near the top of the standings to finish 4-0, or even 3.5-0.5. The players put their hearts on the chess board and it showed with the competitive fighting spirit all the teams brought. Even in the final round there were multiple universities that had a fighting chance at reaching a tie for first with 7.5 points: University of Texas at Dallas (A) managed to do so by securing a draw against University of Missouri (A) in the last round, while University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley (A) vanquished their eternal rivals, Texas Tech (A), by the minimum margin to also reach 7.5. Even on board three, both Saint Louis University and National Technical University of Athens (A) were in contention with 6.5 points each, but they were only able to reach 7 as they split the point. This allowed many other teams to join them in seven points, and the tournament ended with a big tie for third place. Due to the greater amount of game points – which was the tiebreak system for places other than first – it was the Armenian Institute of Physical Culture and Sport that took home not only third place, but also top European team.

After nine tough rounds, first place boiled down to one more match. According to the tournament’s regulations, the two universities that reached 7.5, UTRGV and UTD, would face in a playoff to determine the victor.

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley vs University of Texas at Dallas playoffThe playoff between UTRGV and UTD in which the former won convincingly.

The teams were not only fighting for the prestige of winning the KCF University Cup, but also for an exclusive training session with legendary World Champion Garry Kasparov! At the end of the playoff, these were the results:

UTRGV vs UTD
GM Kamil Dragun 0.5-0.5 IM Guillermo Vazquez
IM Irakli Beradze 1-0 IM Rahul Peddi
IM Viktor Gazik 1-0 IM Aaron Grabinsky
Ricardo Peredo 0-1 Thomas Kung

UTRGV was coached by GM Bartlomiej Macieja and GM Alexander Mista, while UTD was coached by GM Julio Sadorra.

Congratulations to UTRGV, winning for the second year in a row despite the strong competition.

Top-10 Final Standings:

1 University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley (A) 7.5 1st Place (Playoff Winner), Top Americas
2 University of Texas at Dallas (A) 7.5 – 2nd Place
3 Armenian State Institute of Physical Culture and Sport 7 – 3rd Place, Top European Team
4 University of Warsaw 7
5 University of Toronto 7
6 Texas Tech University (A) 7
7 University of Missouri – Mizzou (A) 7 – Top Mixed Doubles
8 University of Texas at Dallas (B)  7 – Top u2200
9  Saint Louis University 7
10 National Technical University of Athens 7

Out of this list notably University of Texas at Dallas (B) team won the u2200 prize and also won a coaching session with Garry Kasparov!

Other prizes went to:

Gunadarma University (A) – Top Asian Team
Vellore Institute of Technology (A) Top 1800-1999
Indian Institute of Technology (A) Top U1800
University of Benin (A) Top African Team

Particular congratulations to University of Benin, who hail from Nigeria, for winning Top African Team two years in a row.

All of these battles were followed closely by people around the world thanks to the commentary by U.S. Women’s Champion IM Carissa Yip, as well as FM Gauri Shankar.

The commentators were joined by a special guest before the start of round 6: World Champion Garry Kasparov for over an hour on the Sunday broadcast.

Carissa is a current member of the Young Stars program, and it is now characteristic that Kasparov joins a KCF Young Star with commentary for this event: last year the World Champion joined one of the program’s alums, GM Daniel Naroditsky. Carissa was very open about the ways that the KCF Young Stars program helped her in achieving her goals. Garry Kasparov was candid during the commentary session, answering questions regarding all aspects of chess, from game analysis to book writing. If you want to enjoy this insightful conversation you can find the link by clicking here.

You can find all the information of the tournament, the pairings, links to the games and final standings at the

Official KCF University Cup website

KCF established a multinational team of officials and organizers that ensured fair and friendly competition. Thanks to them, this event ran very smoothly. Officials include: 

  • Michael Khodarkovsky, Kasparov Chess Foundation President
  • Grandmaster Alex Onischuk, US Chess College Committee Chair 
  • International Arbiter Grant Oen, Chief Arbiter 
  • International Arbiter Ignatius Leong, Kasparov Chess Foundation Asia-Pacific Director
  • Hiquingari Carranza, KCF Ibero-America Director
  • Graham Jurgensen, KCF Africa Director 
  • Grandmaster Zlatko Klaric, KCF Adriatic Director
  • Grandmaster Darcy Lima, KCF Lusophone Director

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 worldwide 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.

Hungarian Grandmaster Gabor Kallai (Feb. 21, 1959 – Dec. 31, 2021)

We are saddened about the passing of our friend and member of our coaching staff for KCF’s Young Stars program, Hungarian Grandmaster Gabor Kallai. Condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

Gabor was author of nine books, published in multiple languages. Since 2005 he has written a chess column in the Hungarian daily newspaper Népszabadság and from 2006, served as host of a TV-program on Hungarian SPORT1 TV (SAKKK!). In 2014, he was named chair of MTK’s chess section. In 2015, he was appointed a master instructor at the Hungarian Physical Education University.

He coached the Hungarian Men’s Team for the 2002 Bled Chess Olympiad, guiding the team to the silver medal position. From 2005 to 2010 he was the Public Relations Director of the HCF. In 2006, he was a founding member of the Hungarian Association of Talent Support Organizations. Since 2014, he was member of the board of directors at Bay Area Chess.

Kallai with students at the American International School in Budapest

The Kasparov Chess Foundation Presents Second Annual KCF University Cup Online Global Tournament

The KCF University Cup Will Take Place on February 5 – 6, 2022, on LiChess.org platform.

New York, NY, Nov. 29, 2021 — The Kasparov Chess Foundation announces the second annual KCF University Cup, which will take place online, February 5 – 6, 2022.  The tournament is open to teams from colleges and universities from all over the world. 

The KCF University Cup is an international online event which is open to teams from a post-secondary school (university, college, community college, etc.) enrolled in at least one class in the January 2022 semester. A team consists of four players plus two alternates.  There is no entry fee for teams to participate in the online tournament.  This year, there is a team rating cap of 2400 – no team may have an average rating exceeding 2400.

A nine-round team, Swiss system tournament over the two days, with a rapid time control, will be played on the free and non-commercial chess platform, lichess.org.  

First place winning team will receive the KCF University Cup and exclusive online team training session with legendary World Champion Garry Kasparov.  

The top team in the U2200 category will also receive an online team training session with Garry Kasparov.  Plaques will be awarded to the top three teams in the final overall standings as well as to the top team in the U2200, U2000, and U1800 rating categories.  Plaques will also be awarded to the top team per FIDE Continent (Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe). One additional plaque will be awarded to the top “Mixed Doubles” team – 2 males and 2 females must represent the team on each day. The mixed doubles prize can be earned in addition to the prizes above. 

Kasparov Chess Foundation established a multinational team of officials and organizers to ensure a fair and friendly competition. Officials include: 

  • Michael Khodarkovsky, Kasparov Chess Foundation President
  • Grandmaster Alex Onischuk, US Chess College Committee Chair 
  • International Arbiter Grant Oen, Chief Arbiter 
  • International Arbiter Ignatius Leong, Kasparov Chess Foundation Asia-Pacific Director
  • Hiquingari Carranza, KCF Ibero-America Director
  • Graham Jurgensen, KCF Africa Director 
  • Grandmaster Zlatko Klaric, KCF Adriatic Director
  • Grandmaster Darcy Lima, KCF Lusophone Director

For complete registration and rules details, please visit https://kcf.chessstream.com or email: KCFUniversityCup@chessstream.com with any questions.

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 worldwide 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.

# # #

Carissa Yip is the 2021 U.S. Women’s Champion

IM Carissa Yip clinched victory in the 2021 U.S. Women’s Championship with a round to spare, after defeating IM Nazi Paikidze in today’s penultimate round. With an unreachable score of 8.0/10, Yip also made history by becoming the first woman ever to defeat four former champions in a U.S. Women’s Championship. Currently tied for 2nd place are GM Irina Krush and WGM Begim Tokhirjonova, with 6.5/10.

IM Carissa Yip has been one of the leading students at the Young Stars project. The Kasparov Chess Foundation (KCF) and Saint Louis Chess Club have been running the very successful Young Stars – Team USA program for the past six years. Team USA’s program has helped develop several American chess prodigies from across the country. including the likes of GM Jeffery Xiong and GM Sam Sevian. Team USA has been capped off with individualized training sessions with Kasparov’s coaching staff and special training sessions with Garry Kasparov himself.

Carissa Yip (bottom left) at the latest Young Stars training session with Garry Kasparov

Carissa’s confident chess catapulted her to the top of the standings and is uncatchable before the last round even starts. She will finish the event against IM Katerina Nemcova.

IM Carissa Yip at her post-win interview with GM Maurice Ashley. Photo courtesy of the Saint Louis Chess Club

Congratulations to the 2021 U.S. Women’s Championship, 18-year old Carissa Yip!

 

Young Stars return to in-person session

The Kasparov Chess Foundation (KCF) and Saint Louis Chess Club have been running the very successful Young Stars – Team USA program for the past six years. Team USA’s program has helped develop several American chess prodigies from across the country. including the likes of GM Jeffery Xiong and GM Sam Sevian. Team USA has been capped off with individualized training sessions with Kasparov’s coaching staff and special training sessions with Garry Kasparov himself.

The Saint Louis Chess Club is an organization that knows no rest! The day after finishing the Chess 9LX: Champions Showdown, the club hosted the summer session of the Young Stars – Team USA program. Garry Kasparov lead the session and was assisted by FIDE Senior Trainer Michael Khodarkovsky. The session was an intimate one, with four talented youngsters participating:

  • WIM Rochelle Wu – u10 World Girls Cadet Chess Champion 2016
  • IM Carissa Yip – Reached the third round of this year’s FIDE World Cup
  • GM Brandon Jacobson – Winner of the 2020 Charlotte Open
  • IM Christopher Yoo – Obtained his second GM norm days before the session

This year has been a tough one for young players: despite their list of accomplishments and willingness to participate in every event imaginable, many international competitions were cancelled or postponed in the last year and a half due to Covid.

Left to Right standing: Christopher Yoo, Michael Khodarkovsky, Garry Kasparov, Brandon Jacobson. Sitting: Carissa Yip and Rochelle Wu

This session marked a return to “over the board” training, as Covid regulations allowed for travel and a small session to be held. The players welcomed the ability to ask questions in person while practicing against each other in blitz games and regaining a feel for the pieces.

Garry Kasparov scored a strong 5.0/9 performance in the Chess 960 tournament against some of the best players in the world, and it is clear that his feel for many positions is still spot on. He was able to use fragments of these games to show some key concepts:

Kasparov, G – So, W Chess9LX: Champions Showdown 2021. White to play.

Despite the fact that this is clearly a Fischer Random game – as hinted by the awkward bishops on b1/b8 and queens in the corners, positional chess concepts are still of incredible importance, as well as knowing your classics. Here Kasparov uncorks the positionally correct idea of 12. Nxe8! eliminating a “bad” bishop that would hold on to the light squared structure while preventing the sacrifice of an exchange on f6. White went on to achieve a dominant position. This was certainly reminiscent of Fischer’s exchange of a “good knight for bad bishop” in his duel against Petrosian in 1971: 50 years ago!

Brandon Jacobson balances his life as a college student at Columbia University and as a grandmaster.

Carissa Yip celebrated her 18th birthday by attending the Young Stars training camp! Carissa’s last over the board tournament before the pandemic featured her win against World Champion Ju Wenjun at the Cairns Cup in Saint Louis.

The camp was extremely fast-paced: with only four players and two days of training, the amount of chess looked at and solved was quite intense. Brandon Jacboson was particularly impressed by the following composition which was selected from the treasure cove of Michael Khodarkovsky.

White to play and win. Remember to find the best resources for black as well! Solution at the end of the article. N. Elkies, 5th prize at the Assiac Memorial Tournament 1988. 

Even “over the board sessions” have the need for plenty of technology. Engines and databases are a necessary part of a strong young player’s set of resources.

Rochelle Wu has been a Young Star since 2017, and she just hit her new rating peak of 2211! Here she is relaxing at the Kingside Diner, part of the Saint Louis Chess Campus

The players are preparing for a strong return to over the board chess: most notably Carissa Yip will be back in Saint Louis in a few weeks for the 2021 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship, where will fight for her first national championship title. Christopher Yoo will continue his quest to obtain his final grandmaster norm in the upcoming tournaments.

The Young Stars Program has open admission for talented kids from all over the World to apply to this elite program. Candidates may apply by submitting the application found here: KCF YoungStars Application. The program is open for talented players that are nine (9) years of age on January 1, 2021, and not older than thirteen (13) years of age on January 1, 2021.

Send the full applications to: youngstars@kasparovchessfoundation.org

Study’s solution: 1. Nf7 g3! distracting the king is the most resilient 2. Kxg3 Kg6 and now it is the spectacular 3. Nh8+!! that is the only winning move. 3…Kg7 4.a4! (this one, because if 4.Kf4?, then 4…b5! 5.Ke5 Kxh8 6.Kd6 Kg7 and black survives since his King reaches c6 square just on time) 4…Kxh8 5.Kf4 Kg7 6.Ke5 Kf7 7.Kd6 Ke8 8.Kc7 Ke7 9.Kxb6! Kd7 10.Kxb7 wins.