Utah teen a chess whiz, heading to national championships

Posted at 10:47 PM, Apr 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-07 00:47:23-04

WEST JORDAN, Utah – A West Jordan native is making all of the right moves in chess: practicing for hours each day, winning several championships and landing a spot in a highly ranked national tournament—And he’s only 14.

Kayden Troff may only be 14 years old, but he’s no stranger to success in chess.

“So I went, and I played in the world youth championships, and I ended up winning there which kind of means right now I`m the current under-14 world champion,” he said.

But Kayden has his sights set on a loftier goal than the ones he’s already achieved.

“Pretty much by 16 at least I want to be a grand master, so it’s kind of a year and a half away,” he said.

Kayden spends nearly seven hours each day practicing and learning about chess, which he hopes will become his career.

“Eventually, if I could just choose, I’d play for a long time, make my career a little bit, and then after a while quit playing and then start teaching—kind of helping other people,” he said.

Kayden has already won several national and world tournaments, and he said he is now preparing for the upcoming 2013 Chess Championships in St. Louis.

“It’s not an age category,” he said about the championships. “It’s just everyone in the U.S. This is the championship, and it’s by invitational, so I`m one of 24 players, and you just come and you play.”

Kayden has been developing his strategy, and he hopes to compete at a higher level at the championships.

"I've been doing a lot of opening work,” he said. “I have a few coaches that help me with openings, and then I do middle games, middle game work, and I have some books for that, and I will look over my own games to kind of see where I went wrong to try and work on that, and do end games, so pretty much the entire game."

Kayden said it’s his love of the game that makes all of the time and work worthwhile, and he said he only plans to improve.

“Even to this point, I still have some to go, but you realize how much work it really takes to get there,” he said. “So yeah, back then I wanted to be grand master, but even to this point I don`t think I realized how long it would take for me and how much work it would take to get here where I am right now.”

Kayden heads to the 2013 Chess Championships in St. Louis on May 3.