Latest Young Stars Camp in Saint Louis

(left to right): Nastassja Matus, Vincent Tsay, Rochelle Wu, Christopher Yoo, Wesley Wang, Andrew Hong, Liran Zhou. Photo: Lizhi Wu
The Kasparov Chess Foundation (KCF) and Saint Louis Chess Club have been running the very successful Young Stars – Team USA program for the past six years. Team USA’s program has helped develop several American chess prodigies from across the country, including the likes of GM Jeffery Xiong and GM Sam Sevian. Team USA has been capped off with individualized training sessions with Kasparov’s coaching staff and special training sessions with Garry Kasparov himself. The latest of the Young Stars camp was held at the Saint Louis Chess Club, and it brings forward a talented new generation. The players attending this camp already have several World titles between them:

Rochelle Wu – U10 World Girls Cadet Chess Champion 2016

Vincent Tsay – U12 World Cadet Chess Champion 2017

Andrew Hong – U12 Silver Medal World Cadet Chess Championship 2016

Liran Zhou – U10 World Cadet Chess Champion 2017

Christopher Yoo – 2nd ranked U12 player in the World

Nastassja Matus – U12 Silver Medal Girls Cadet Chess Championship 2017

Wesley Wang – All-America team member in 2016, 2017 and 2018

The camp was three days long and focused on evaluating each player’s current skill and providing guidance towards future improvement. The attendees presented some of their games against top-level competition: six annotated games, all within the last six-month period. Kasparov went through every game, providing his insights and analysis as well as recommendations for improvement. Students also were tasked with absolutely top-notch tactical and strategical problems to solve – after all, a back and forth banter with Garry Kasparov is difficult to follow even for an in-form GM! Kasparov was in charge of reviewing the players’ games, offering feedback and giving his evaluation of the player’s strengths and weaknesses. He was assisted by FIDE Senior Trainer and KCF President Michael Khodarkovsky.
Kingside Diner, next to the chess club, is always a favorite for the players of top tournaments to eat lunch and relax. Photo: Andrew Tsay
Rochelle Wu kindly answered a few questions about the camp: – What did you feel was different about this chess camp compared to others? I think this camp is tougher and at a much higher level than others. People here take chess more seriously, and it feels like I’m with the best. – How is Garry as a teacher? Garry is an interesting teacher. He’s world class unlike me, and sometimes he is too advanced, but, at the end of the day, I feel like I learned something. – Can you share a couple of your favorite examples from this camp? I like how during presentations, he would come up with entertaining ideas. He gives interesting studies, and it feels great when I get them correct. I felt really good when I solved the knight and pawn ending. Rochelle Wu solved Tigran Gorgiev’s study from 1928, can you?
White to move and win.
Show Solution
[pgn][Event "?"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "????.??.??"]
[Round "?"]
[White "?"]
[Black "?"]
[Result "*"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "4NN2/8/6P1/7k/7n/6K1/8/8 w - - 0 1"]
[PlyCount "9"]1. Ng7+ Kg5 2. Nge6+ Kh6 3. g7 Nf5+ 4. Kg4 Nxg7 5. Nd4 {and Black is in a
surprising zugzwang!} *[/pgn]
Parents are invaluable in the process of achieving success. Seven talents, seven parents!
The highest rated player of the camp was Andrew Hong, a talented and hard-working player that is only one point shy of breaking the 2400 mark. Here is one of Hong's annotated victories against a grandmaster.
[pgn][Event "Southwest Class 2018"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2018.02.19"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Hong, Andrew"]
[Black "Gabuzyan, Hovhannes"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "B90"]
[PlyCount "111"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. h3 e5 7. Nde2 h5 8. g3
Be6 9. Bg2 Nbd7 10. a4 Rc8 11. O-O Be7 12. b3 h4 (12... Nc5 13. a5 Bd7 {is
another try for Black}) 13. g4 O-O 14. a5 (14. Be3 Qa5 15. Qd3 {was better} Nc5
16. Qd2) (14. Nd5 $5 {was also interesting} Bxd5 15. exd5 Nh7 16. a5 (16. c4 a5
(16... Bg5 17. Ba3 Nc5 18. a5 (18. Nc3 a5))) 16... Bg5 17. Ba3 Nc5 18. c4 $14)
14... Rc5 15. Na4 Rc6 (15... Rxa5 $5 16. Bd2 Rb5 17. c4 Nc5 $1 18. Nc1 (18. Qc2
Rxb3 19. Nxc5 dxc5 20. Qxb3 Qxd2 21. Nc3 Rb8) 18... Nxb3 (18... Ra5 19. Bxa5
Qxa5 20. Nd3 Nxa4 21. Rxa4 Qb6 22. Qc2 $14) 19. Nxb3 Bxc4 20. Rb1 Bxf1 21. Qxf1
Qd7 22. Nc3 Rb6 23. Bf3 $14) 16. Be3 Nh7 (16... Qxa5 17. Nb6) 17. Nb6 $6 {I
underestimated the exchange sacrifice. I thought I would still be better, but
it seems like it's not so easy} (17. Qd2 $1 {was stronger} Bg5 18. f4 exf4 19.
Nxf4 Re8 20. c4 $14) 17... Nxb6 (17... Bg5 18. Nxd7 Bxd7 19. f4 exf4 20. Nxf4
Re8 21. c4 $14) 18. Bxb6 Rxb6 $1 19. axb6 Qxb6 20. Qd3 Rc8 21. c4 Nf8 22. Qe3 (
22. Rfd1 Ng6 $11 {position is about equal}) 22... Qc7 {I didn't like to play a
little bit passive, so I tried to open up the position a little.} (22... Qxe3
23. fxe3 Nd7 $11) 23. f4 $5 (23. Nc3 Ng6 24. Rfd1 Nf4 25. Bf1 $14) 23... exf4 (
23... d5 $1 {was more accurate. Here White is forced to play Kh1, because Qf3
is not good} 24. Kh1 (24. Qf3 $6 dxc4 25. f5 Bd7 26. bxc4 Qxc4) 24... d4 (24...
exf4 25. Nxf4 dxc4 26. Nd5 Qd8 27. bxc4 Rxc4 28. Nxe7+ Qxe7 29. e5 $11) 25. Qf2
Bc5 26. Qf3 f6 27. f5 Bf7 28. Nc1 Nd7 29. Nd3 Be7 30. Rfc1 $11) 24. Nxf4 (24.
Qxf4 {wasn't my plan, although maybe it is fine}) 24... d5 25. Qf3 (25. Kh1 {
cf7}) 25... Bc5+ (25... dxc4 26. Nxe6 Qb6+ 27. Nd4 Qxd4+ 28. Kh1 Qf6 29. bxc4
Qxf3 30. Bxf3 Rxc4 31. e5 $11) 26. Kh1 dxc4 27. Nxe6 (27. e5 {is also possible}
Bd4 $6 {I have} 28. Ra4) 27... Nxe6 28. e5 {This was my plan when I played Qe3
and f4} cxb3 (28... Bd4 29. Ra4 $1 {was my plan} cxb3 30. Rc4 $1 Bc5 (30...
Qxc4 31. Qxf7+ Kh8 32. Qh5+ (32. Be4 $2 Be3) 32... Kg8 33. Qf7+ Kh8 $11) 31. g5
$1 g6 (31... Nxg5 32. Qh5 Qxe5 33. Re4 (33. Rxh4 $2 g6) 33... Nxe4 34. Qxe5
Ng3+ 35. Kh2 Nxf1+ 36. Bxf1 Bb6 {I think Black can hold}) (31... Nd4 32. Qg4 g6
33. Bd5 (33. Rxd4 Bxd4 34. e6 (34. Qxd4 Qc4) 34... Ba7 35. exf7+ Kf8 36. Qxh4
Qe5 37. Qh6+ Qg7) 33... b2 34. Rxf7 Qxf7 35. Bxf7+ Kxf7 36. Qd7+ Be7 37. Rb4
Rc1+ 38. Kg2 Rc2+ 39. Kf1 Rc1+ 40. Kf2 b1=Q 41. Rxb1 Rxb1 42. Qxd4) (31... Qe7
32. g6 Rf8 33. Qxb3 fxg6 34. Rxf8+ Kxf8 35. Qf3+) 32. Rxh4 Ng7 33. e6 (33. Qxb3
Nf5) 33... fxe6 34. Qxb3 $13) (28... Nd4 29. Qxb7 cxb3 30. Rxa6 (30. Rfb1 Qxb7
31. Bxb7 Re8 32. Bxa6 Rxe5) 30... Ne2 31. Rxf7 $1 Ng3+ (31... Kxf7 32. Qxb3+
Kf8 (32... Ke7 $2 33. Qe6+ Kf8 34. Bd5 Nd4 35. Qg8+ Ke7 36. Qxg7+ Ke8 37. Qg6+
Kd8 38. Qg8+ Ke7 39. Qh7+ Ke8 40. Qh5+ Kd8 41. Qh8+ Ke7 42. Qxh4+ Ke8 43. Qh5+
Kd8 44. Qh8+ Ke7 45. Qf6+ Ke8 46. Qg6+ Kd8 47. Qg8+ Ke7 48. Qg5+ Ke8 49. Be4)
33. Qf3+ Qf7 34. Qxe2 Qf4 35. Qf3 Qxf3 36. Bxf3 $11) 32. Kh2 Kxf7 33. Qxb3+ Kf8
(33... Ke7 34. Qe6+ Kf8 35. Rc6 (35. Bd5 $4 Bg1+) 35... Nf1+ 36. Kh1 Ng3+ 37.
Kh2 $11) 34. Rc6 Nf1+ 35. Kh1 Ng3+ 36. Kh2 $11 Qd7 (36... Qb8 37. Qxb8 Rxb8 38.
Rxc5) (36... Qd8 37. Qf3+ Ke8 (37... Ke7 38. Rg6 Qf8 (38... Ke8 39. Rxg7 Bg1+
40. Kxg1 Qd4+ 41. Kh2 Nf1+ $11) 39. Qb7+ Kd8 40. Qd5+ Ke8 41. Qe6+ Kd8 42. Qd5+
$11) 38. e6 Rc7 39. Rxc5 Nf1+ 40. Kh1 Ng3+ $11) 37. Qf3+ Ke7 (37... Ke8 38. e6)
38. e6 Qe8 39. Rxc8 Qxc8 40. Qf7+ Kd8 41. Qg8+ Kc7 42. Qf7+ $11) 29. Qxb3 b6 (
29... Bd4 30. Rad1 Bxe5 31. Qxb7 Qxb7 32. Bxb7 Rc2 $11) 30. Bd5 {I decided to
add more pressure to his position} (30. Rxa6 Qxe5) 30... Re8 31. Rae1 (31. Rxa6
$5 Qxe5 32. Qf3 Kh8 (32... Ng5 33. Bxf7+ Kh7 34. Qd3+ Qe4+ 35. Qxe4+ Rxe4 $11)
33. g5 Qxg5 34. Ra4) (31. Rf5 g6) 31... a5 32. Rf5 (32. g5 g6 33. Qa4 (33. Rf6
Be7) 33... Qc8 34. Qxh4 Qd8 35. Qe4 Qxg5 36. h4 Qh5) 32... g6 (32... Rd8 33.
Ref1 Qd7 34. Bg2 Nd4 35. Qxf7+ Qxf7 36. Rxf7 Ne2 37. Kh2 Ng3 38. R1f4 Rd1 39.
Bf3 Rd2+ 40. Bg2 $11) 33. Rf6 Kg7 {I was in time trouble, so I took on e6} (
33... Be7 34. Rf3) 34. Bxe6 Rxe6 35. Rxe6 fxe6 36. Qxe6 Qb7+ 37. Kh2 Qf7 $2 (
37... Qf3 38. Qd7+ Kh6 39. Qd2+ (39. g5+ $5 Kh5 (39... Kxg5 40. Qd8+ $11) 40.
Qd1 Qxd1 41. Rxd1 Kxg5 42. Rf1 $1 {and in my calculations, I thought this
should be a draw} a4 43. e6 a3 44. Rf7 a2 {White trades e pawn for a pawn, and
it is a draw} (44... b5 45. e7)) 39... g5 40. Qg2 Qc3 41. Qc6+ $11) 38. Qxf7+
Kxf7 39. Kg2 a4 (39... Ke6 40. Kf3 Bd4 $1 (40... Bb4 $1 41. Re2 (41. Rc1 Kxe5
42. Rc6 Bc5 43. Rxg6 a4 44. Rg8 a3 45. Ra8 b5 46. Ke2 Ke4 47. g5 b4 48. g6 Bd4
49. Ra4 Kf5 50. Kd3 b3 51. Rxa3 b2 52. Kc2 Kxg6 53. Ra4 Bf6 $11) (41. Re3 b5
42. Ke4 a4 43. Rf3 Be7 $11) 41... b5 42. Ke4 Bc3 43. Rf2 Bxe5 44. Rf8 Bc3 45.
Ra8 Kf6 46. Ra6+ Kg5 47. Rb6 b4 48. Rb5+ Kh6 49. Rxa5 b3 50. Rb5 b2 $11) (40...
a4 41. Ke4 a3 (41... b5 42. Rc1 Be7 43. Rc6+ Kf7 44. e6+ Kf6 45. Kd5 a3 46. Rc1
g5 47. Rf1+ Kg6 48. Rf2 b4 49. Kc4 Bd6 50. Kb3 Be7 51. Rf7 Bd6 52. Rd7 Bc5 53.
Rc7 Bd6 54. Rf7 Bc5 55. Kc4 a2 (55... Bd6 56. Kd5) 56. Rf1 Bd6 57. Kb3 Bf4 58.
Kxa2 $18) 42. Rb1 $1 g5 43. Rc1 $1 {Zugzwang for Black} Bf2 44. Rc2 Bc5 45. Rc4
Bf2 46. Ra4 Bc5 47. Ra6) (40... b5 41. Ke4 b4 42. Rc1 Be7 43. Rc6+ Kd7 44. Ra6)
41. Ke4 Bxe5 42. Rc1 Kd6 43. g5 (43. Rb1 g5 44. Rxb6+ Kc5 {it looks like Black
can hold a draw}) 43... a4 44. Rb1 a3 45. Rxb6+ Kc7 46. Ra6 Bb2 47. Kd5 (47.
Kd3 Bc1 48. Kc4 Kb7 49. Kb5 Bb2 50. Ra4 Kc7 (50... Bc1 51. Rxh4 Bxg5 52. Rg4
Bf6 53. Ra4 Kc7 54. Rxa3 Kd6 55. Rg3 $1) 51. Kb4 Kd6 52. Kb3 Ke5 53. Rxh4 Kf5
54. Rg4 Bc1 $11) 47... Kb7 48. Ra4 Kc7 49. Kc4 Kd6 50. Kb3 Ke5 51. Rxh4 Bc1 52.
Ra4 Bxg5 $11) 40. Kf3 b5 $2 (40... Ke6 $1 41. Ke4 {cf7}) (40... a3 41. Ke4 Bb4
42. Rf1+ Ke7 43. Kd4 Bc5+ 44. Kd5 Bb4 45. Kc4 Bc5 46. Kb3 Ke6 47. Rf6+ Kxe5 48.
Rxg6 Kf4 49. Rc6 Be3 50. Rc3 Bc5 51. Rc4+ Kg5 52. Ra4 $18) 41. e6+ Ke7 (41...
Kf6 42. g5+ Ke7 43. Re5 Bd6 44. Rxb5 Kxe6 45. Ra5 a3 46. Kg4 Kd7 47. Kxh4 Kc7
48. Ra6 Bc5 49. Rxg6 Bb6 50. Rg8 Kb7 51. Rf8 a2 52. Rf1 $18) 42. Re5 Bd6 (42...
a3 43. Rxc5 a2 44. Rc7+ $1 $18 {is probably what he missed}) 43. Rxb5 Kxe6 44.
Ke4 $18 Bf8 45. Rb6+ Kf7 46. Kf4 a3 47. Ra6 Bb4 48. g5 Bd2+ 49. Kg4 Bc1 50.
Kxh4 Bb2 51. Kg4 Kg7 52. h4 Kf7 53. h5 gxh5+ 54. Kxh5 Ke7 55. Kg6 Bc1 56. Ra5
1-0[/pgn]
The camp finished, and, of course, these kids could not get enough chess, and played a strong blitz tournament held at the Saint Louis Chess Club to finish off the weekend! The Young Stars program has also gone global, and is currently accepting applications world wide. If you are or know of a talented youth that could immensely benefit from the expertise of Garry Kasparov, please find the information and submission forms by clicking here.

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