A Solid Month Of Chess

A Solid Month Of Chess

GM KaydenTroff

How much do you love chess?  Enough to spend an entire month (minus two days) dedicated completely to chess?  Well, I definitely love it that much because that is exactly what I did!!   Starting on June 10th going to July 8th it was one FUN chess event to another which is the reason it has been such a long time since I wrote a blog (you know it has been a long time since you did a blog when you have people sending you messages about how many days it has been).  So this very well could be the week of blogs recapping all that happened over the month since putting it all in one blog would probably take you a month to read!!

So here is what my schedule looked like:

June 10th I flew from Utah to New York.

June 11th-June 13th I was invited to Garry Kasparov’s Master Chess Camp and then helped him with a fundraiser afterwards.

June 14th I flew from New York to Saint Louis.

June 15th-June 26th I played in the US Junior Closed Championship with the Opening Ceremony on the 15th and the Closing Ceremony on the 26th and rounds from the 16th through the 25th.

June 27th I left from Saint Louis (at 4:30 am) to Utah and went straight from the airport to our Chess Camp (Check out our chess camp here: tntchesscamp.blogspot.com)

June 27th-June 29th I was helping out with one of our TNT Summer Chess Camps.

June 29th I left from the Chess Camp straight to the airport where I flew to Philadelphia for the World Open.

June 30th-July 4th I played in the World Open.

July 5th I flew from Philadelphia to Utah.

July 6th-July 8th I helped out with another of our TNT summer Chess Camps.

So taking the list, I am going to go down covering most of the things on here starting with Garry Kasparov’s Master Camp and the Fundraiser.

For the most part I think most of the people reading this blog should know about Garry Kasparov.  If you don’t that’s fine (actually, if you don’t, what are you thinking???  He is only one of, if not the, greatest chess players ever to play the game!!!!!).

This would be my second time at his Camp.  You can read about the first time I went here: http://blog.chess.com/KaydenTroff/meeting-kasparov-for-the-1st-time

I would have to say I liked it this time even better just because I was a little bit more comfortable, and this time we didn’t get stuck on the wrong side of the freeway for a long time (this is explained in my other blog that I put the link to, but to sum it up… IT WASN’T FUN!).

The Kasparov Master Camp is two days (Saturday and Sunday) from 10:00-5:00 (with lunch 1:00-2:00), where several of the top young players are invited to come work with Kasparov and bring some of their games for him to analyze along with the other students.  This time we were told to bring 4-6 games because there would be less people there than last time.  Generally, he is looking for games where there is good fighting chess on both sides with high rated opponents (and his definition of high is usually IM or better).  He was not really interested in seeing games where you were totally losing and got lucky.  For the most part it was not about whether or not you got the win, but how you played the game. 

The camp was held at the NYAC (New York Athletic Club) which for any of you who have not been there, it is really nice!!  Imagine going to an athletic club in a required suit jacket and tie!!  Silly me, I thought you went to an athletic club in shorts and a t-shirt, but what do I know?

Like the last time, we stayed with Sam Shankland’s grandparents (who live in North Shore Towers in Floral Park which is part of Queens) which we were thankful for.  Yes, North Shore Towers is a little far from NYAC (like over an hour by bus, subway, and airplane….okay not really by airplane (that would probably have cut the time way down)…how about by bus, subway, and walking, but if you know what you’re doing (which we gratefully did this time) it isn’t bad at all.  Traveling a little bit or spending a lot for a hotel, we definitely take the travel a little bit.  It was also nice to have a more home setting.  It was especially good because we actually got to spend some time with Sam’s grandparents who were out of town last time and got to know them better.  They are very nice people (I wondered what happened to Sam!  Just kidding Sam!!  You are fairly nice too.)

The people who participated were Alec Getz, Alexander Ostrovskiy, Alena Katz, Alisa Melekhina, Jeffery Xiong, Joshua Colas, Marc Tyler Arnold, Sam Sevian, and, of course, me.  So this time there were a few more kids around my age.

My dad and I got to the NYAC a little early (we never know exactly how long it is going to take us) so we got to talk to Michael Khodarkouvsky who also helps out with the camp.  He asked me when I wanted to present my games and I said Sunday afternoon (that way there wouldn’t be a hurry to get through my games to finish on time).

Both days there were a lot of fun and exciting games and I enjoyed a lot of them!  Some of the most interesting games were when someone brought a game that they had played against another student at the camp then you had both people there commenting on their positions.  At first I thought that we might end kind of early on Sunday, but it worked out because we went long on some of the games people showed on Sunday.  When we got to Sunday after lunch they decided to do Jeffery Xiong before me, then I would go last, and after me we would have the opportunity to ask Kasparov questions for a little bit.  I was a little concerned because I was hoping that they wouldn’t rush through my games if we ended up getting pressed for time, but it turned out okay.

When Jeffery was done, I got up.  The games I brought were, Troff-Amanov 3rd Metropolitan, Kudrin-Troff Far West Open, Banawa-Troff 5th Metropolitan, Pruess-Troff 5th Metropolitan, Taylor-Troff 5th Metropolitan, Troff-Yankovsky 5th Metropolitan.  While I was presenting my game against Kudrin which I had gotten a draw, Kasparov stopped me at one point (which I will show below) and said, “There has got to be a win here for Kudrin.”  I was very happy when after many attempts, he could not find the win for Kudrin.   I was also happy that he was happy with my games.  That is always a good thing!!  He really liked my game against Roman Yankovsky when I secured my first norm and told me that it was really sharp.  The only game I didn’t get to show because of time was Taylor-Troff 5th Metropolitan.  There were some things he pointed to out which were very interesting and helpful.  Of course, I can’t elaborate because it is secret information J.  It is definitely a great experience to have a world champion go over your games.  There weren’t many questions asked afterwards.  The one I asked was how Kasparov would prepare for one of his tournament games.  He told me that since he hasn’t played for a long time that he couldn’t explain it as well, but for the most part he told me it depended, but he usually put in 4-5 hours of prep work before a game, which I thought was cool.  After that there were some other questions asked, and some people had Kasparov sign some stuff.

 And again, like last time, it was a fun experience... which wasn’t over yet!

As I mentioned at the beginning “Garry Kasparov’s Camp and Fundraiser” so we still have to cover the Fundraiser.

Michael Khodarkouvsky told us before we went to New York that Garry Kasparov had specifically asked for me to help out with the fundraiser.  That was pretty cool!!  Out of the participants from the camp that were at the Fundraiser there was me, Joshua Colas, and Jeffery Xiong.  The Fundraiser started at 5:00, but they asked us to be there by 4:30 (yes PM not AM).  My dad and I spent most of the time before that at Central Park just at the little Chess place they have there, on a bench or walking around looking at different things.

The fundraiser was held on a different floor, but still at the NYAC.  Our job was to play Blitz games against the people there.   I got to play GM Lev Alburt (former US Champion).  I did pretty well in the first game and was actually better at one point, but ended up losing.  Kasparov was watching the game and gave me some pointers afterwards (I have to say that that was the first time I have ever had a Super GM analyze my unrated blitz game J), but after that I played him another game and beat him.  Here is a picture of the game with Kasparov giving his analysis:


I also played someone named Anatoly Something (his last name really isn’t “Something” I just don’t know what it is.  And if you want to be technical, I am actually not even positive that his first name is Anatoly other than I heard someone call him that).  I lost 0-2 against him, but had some fun games, and Michael Khodarkovsky told my dad during the games that he was the Israeli two time Blitz Champion.  I played several other people and it was a lot of fun!  The Fundraiser overall was to have people help support the Kasparov Chess Foundation.  They showed a video/powerpoint presentation and told about the things they were doing and then provided a nice dinner afterwards.  Unfortunately for Jeffery they got the time mixed up and showed up late when it was suppose to be ending, but fortunately for him, it went about an hour over.  I ended up playing him two games which was fun.

Overall it was a really nice event and I am excited about what the Kasparov Chess foundation has done and will be doing in the future.

Thanks to Garry Kasparov and Michael Khodarkovsky for the invitation and event, and to Sam Shankland’s grandparents for letting us stay with them!

Stay tuned for the next installment about Saint Louis and the US Junior Championship which I will write about soon.

Here is the position Kasparov stopped me against Kudrin.  Can you find the win?