Many of you are familiar with NM Kayden Troff who is one of the top bloggers on Chess.com and is the #1 player in the nation for all 11-year olds. Well, this is his Dad and some of you may be interested to hear some of the details and background to how he did it, or even some details on what is happening from a different perspective.
I truly enjoy reading Mark Schein's "Parent's Perspective" articles on Chess Life Online as he talks about his son Aaron (who is just a little older than Kayden) and their chess journey together as they attend tournaments and work to improve Aaron's chess rating. I've often thought - we should compare notes! I might hope that Mark would love to hear about many of the things that we've learned along this path and vice versa.
So in this blog I will give a few of these insights or thoughts about what is going on with our chess for anyone that might be interested. I will start with a little more detail about what Kayden is doing (or has done) and then maybe share some of my own insights and thoughts about the whole process in future blogs. I do not mean to detract from Kayden's blog and I do have to say that I'm very pleased with the opportunity he has had to write his blog for Chess.com. Kayden has been trying to get a blog out on a regular basis, and this has become difficult when he attends a 9-round tournament and he is working hard in preparation for a great tournament result.
We are in the middle of the second session of our TNT Chess Camp. We are very excited about our camps and feel like they are truly some of the best chess camps out there for players between the ratings of 0-1800. Our website can be found at http://tntchesscamp.blogspot.com/ . I have produced the curriculum for this camp with short instructive lessons to teach deep chess concepts in a fun way which can be grasped and understood by our students. This is our 4th year. My three boys who are Jeremy (age 17), Zachary (age 14), and Kayden (who is now 12 years old), along with Scott (age 16) and Lauren Treiman (age 12) have taught Advanced, Intermediate and Beginner students for the past 4 years. We don't have any adults teach at this camp, although my wife and Lisa Treiman are present at all times to assist where needed. Admittedly, the first year was an experiment when the older boys were 13 years old, but they were sufficiently strong in their chess and we had great results. Now they are pros at teaching with 4 years experience under their belts which includes tutoring many students on a private basis during that time throughout the year.
So what is happening with Kayden that isn't mentioned in his blog. Kayden just regained his position as the #1 rated FIDE player in all of North and South America at the first of the month.
The new August USCF rating lists will come out in a couple of weeks and Kayden will bump to the 12 year old top 100 list. Kayden has been the #1 player on the 11 year old list for the past 6 months and it's tough to stay #1 when you move to an older list because you are the youngest for your age on the list and there are some players that are almost a year older than you (but still your same age) on the same list. It appears that Kayden will still be #1 on the 12 year old list which is a huge accomplishment! We'll see how things end up when these lists are actually published.
Kayden's main focus is trying to fill in the gaps in his knowledge and to improve his USCF Standard rating and FIDE rating as he prepares for the World Youth Championship in Greece this October. Kayden is the #1 rated player and official representative of the USCF for the World Youth Championships U12. The USCF does help pay for room and board for the player, but this is minor compared to the actual costs from what we've heard. We are still waiting to hear back on several questions that we posed to the USCF about dates, travel arrangements, restrictions, etc.
A list of the events that Kayden declined might be interesting to readers. We had to decline the US Cadet Championship, the US Chess School in Seattle (August), the Pan-American Youth Festival in Brazil and he did not apply to defend his Gold Medal at the North American Youth Championship in Canada. I should note that we would love to attend all of these activities, but it's just not possible.
Of these events I think Kayden was most disappointed that he could not attend the US Chess School in Seattle. He loves going to the US Chess School and is thrilled when he sees the email invitations from IM Greg Shahade. We have heard rumors that GM Garry Kasparov runs a very private and intimate week long chess camp for a small handful of the best upcoming players in New York each summer. We haven't confirmed these rumors, but we would love to get on the invite list for that event! We would pretty much give that top priority and do some extra fundraising if Kayden were to have a chance to work with Garry Kasparov. So if FM Daniel Naroditsky or GM Alex Lenderman read this blog then how about telling us if these rumors are true.
In a way I'm jealous that Kayden has not had the opportunities to play at the Marshall Chess Club on a weekly basis or even the Dallas Chess Club on a weekly basis like several of the strong junior chess players, but we love living in Utah and we have made it work through a lot of creativity, some wonderful people that have helped with travel expenses, and a really good internet connection (thank you Skype).
For now I plan to have a late night preparing the video/photo story that we provide at the end of each of our chess camps for each of the students. We burn it to a CD and give it to them on the last day of camp. If you're interested you can see a small example of this on the TNT website above. Or you can see a couple of these that I put together when Kayden attended the US Chess School at Kayden's website which can be found at: http://kaydentroff.blogspot.com/ . There is also video footage of Kayden being presented with a 1,500 lb chocolate chess set at his website. It's all part of keeping it fun!
It is a crazy roller coaster ride we are on with plenty of ups and downs along the way. I list Kayden's accomplishments for interest sake, but the most important thing to us as his parents is that this continues to be something he loves. That has always and will always be our main focus!