West Jordan The next Bobby Fischer is living on a quiet street in West Jordan, says Damian Nash, a U.S. Chess Federation senior tournament director.
Utah’s own chess phenom is Kayden Troff, and in many ways, he’s a normal 11-year-old boy. He loves to swim, go sledding and play video games.
He’s also the No. 1 chess player in the world in his age group (11 and younger), according to the World Chess Federation, a gold medal winner at the 2009 North American Youth Championship and a member of the 2010 All-America Team.
Kayden’s latest accomplishment is his biggest yet. In November, the West Jordan boy achieved the rank of National Master, a lifelong title. He is one of two National Masters living in Utah, and one of about 1,500 in the U.S., Nash says.
“Just to give you an idea, Bobby Fischer didn’t make National Master until he was 13,” said Kim Troff, Kayden’s mother. “It never ceases to amaze me. In Germany, they’re talking about him, and in Australia, they’re talking about him. It’s just absolutely amazing. They’re talking about him as the next U.S. superstar.”
Kayden’s story brings to mind that of Josh Waitzkin, a chess prodigy and the subject of the movie, “Searching for Bobby Fischer.”
Just like Waitzkin, Kayden, who is home-schooled, began playing chess after watching others play. As a toddler, Kayden sat silently on his father’s lap watching him play with Jeremy and Zachary, Kayden’s older brothers, who are also accomplished chess players.
“When he had just barely turned 3 years old, he announced to Dad [Dan Troff] he was ready to play,” wrote Kim Troff on Kayden’s Web site, Kaydentroff.blogspot.com. “Dad thought that he would be a good sport and humor ‘the baby.’ So, he set up the board and had Kayden give it a try. The whole family was amazed that Kayden knew how all the pieces moved and he knew how to attack with them without ever being taught.”
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