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WEST JORDAN — A West Jordan teenager is being personally trained by the Michael Jordan of chess. And this week, he's competing in a national competition.
At age 14, Kayden Troff is well on his way to being one of the world's best youth chess players. At TNT Chess Camp earlier this summer, he helped teach dozens of kids from pre-kindergarten to high school some of the tips, tricks and strategies of chess.
He'll be using everything he has this week at the U.S. Junior Championships in St. Louis. Troff is excited for the competition. He'll be one of only 16 players to compete.
"It's been fun learning it and working really hard on it, but it's also helped me with other things," he said.
Troff spent his summer running chess camp for the sixth year, passing on his knowledge and passion about chess to other children in Utah.
"It's fun, it's great, and you can see chess has a lot of benefits in life," Troff said.
He is also now being trained by Gary Kasparov, one of the greatest names in chess, to become a champion himself. Troff's mom, Kim, explained what that's like.
- July 10 - 15 in St. Louis
- One of the most prestigious chess events that occurs in the U.S.
- Players compete for the title of U.S. Junior Champion, more than $18,000 in prizes and a highly coveted invitation to the 2013 U.S. Junior Championship.
"Imagine if you have a son who is a basketball player, and all of a sudden you get a call from Michael Jordan saying he wants to train your son," she said.
"(Chess has) been one of the greatest things in my life," Troff said.
According to the Deseret News, Troff practices chess six to seven hours each day. He also enjoys reading, sports and outdoor activities. He plays video games and enjoys being with his friends and attending church dances.
He played his first game of chess when he was 3. He learned by watching as his father taught and played his two older brothers. He is the second youngest of six children.
His accomplishments in the world of chess include:
- 2008 - Invited to be part of the All-America Chess Team.
- 2009 - Became the youngest player ever to win the Utah Speed Chess competition.
- 2010 - Member of the All-America Chess Team
- 2010 - Named the Utah Chess Player of the Year
- 2010 - Took second in the Under-12 Division of the World Youth Chess Championships in Greece
The Deseret News reports Troff's most recent accomplishments include achieving the chess rank of FIDE Master and attending the first session of the prestigious "Young Stars — Team USA" program with Kasparov.