US Prodigies Elite Training Program

US Prodigies Elite Training Program

| 11 | Chess Event Coverage

CCSCSL Partners with KCF on Elite Training Program

PRESS RELEASE: Club provides five-year grant to train next generation of U.S. chess champions

SAINT LOUIS, June 18, 2012 – The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL) is partnering with the Kasparov Chess Foundation (KCF) on a five-year grant program to help develop several American chess prodigies from across the United States. The program, called Young Stars – Team USA, will begin with a kick-off training program in Saint Louis at the CCSCSL from June 18-20. Program participants range in age from nine to 15 years old.

Garry Kasparov observes Awonder Liang (left) and Jeffrey Xiong (right) before the training session.
Garry Kasparov observes Awonder Liang (left) and Jeffrey Xiong (right).jpg

The program’s players include: 
Awonder Liang, age 9, from Madison, WI – Won a gold medal in the under-8 section of the 2011 World Youth Chess Championship in Brazil.

Ruifeng Li, age 9, from Plano, TX – Won the 2011 Arkasas State Championships and a silver medal in the under-10 section of the 2011 World Youth Championships.

Jeffrey Xiong, age 11, from Coppell, TX – Recently, Xiong received a four-year scholarship to the University of Texas at Dallas. 

Sam Sevian, age 11, from Santa Clara, CA – Is currently the youngest-ever American chess master.

Kevin Cao, age 15, from Saint Louis – Named to the 2010 All-American Team at the age of 12, participated in the Kings vs. Queens tournament in Saint Louis

Kayden Troff, age 14, from West Jordan, UT – Troff participated in the Junior Championships at the CCSCSL in 2011.

Sarah Chiang, age 15, from Southlake, TX – Tied for third place at the World Youth Championship in the girls U-14 division in 2011

“This inaugural group features some of the top young chess players in the country,” said CCSCSL Executive Director Tony Rich. “By fostering their talent now, we’re hoping to position the United States as a future chess super power.”

Down to business! Kayden Troff sits next to Garry Kasparov.
Garry Kasparov and Kayden Troff Chess Camp St Louis 2012.jpg

World Chess Champion and KCF Chairman Garry Kasparov personally coach the young players in the training program, which will be held at the CCSCSL every summer and in New York City each winter. The CCSCSL and KCF have established a five-year educational program for extraordinarily talented children to maximize their potential to achieve the highest level in chess and become members of the U.S. Olympiad Teams. The grant also provides individual coaching for each participant.

“The joint effort of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis and the KCF provides these promising players a tremendous advantage,” said Michael Khodarkovsky, president of the KCF. “Their time spent in these training sessions will help prepare them for the demands of a career in chess – and hopefully the demands of winning championship tournaments as well.”

More information on the program can be found at or

About the Kasparov Chess Foundation
The Kasparov Chess Foundation offers hope to millions of U.S. students through chess education - developing a complete chess curriculum for public and private schools, from K through 12, that delivers much more than a strong end-game to students. Their in-school and extracurricular programs are designed to encourage creativity, instill self-discipline and bring hope and a feeling of accomplishment to millions of children. 

The Kasparov Chess Foundation also sponsors tournaments for those students who are attracted to the competitive and social aspects of chess, while encouraging our youth to strive for higher levels of intellectual achievement. While delivering an approved in-the-school chess curricular is a primary focus for the Foundation, it is just the beginning. Delivering invaluable enrichment programs, such as after-school clubs, chess programs and awards programs, as well as a gifted program for advanced students, are all part of the bigger picture for the Foundation. More information can be found at

About The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization that is committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons and special lectures.


Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit

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