Young Stars to Vie for U.S. Junior Closed Title

Jeffrey Xiong is the No. 2-ranked 13-year-old in the nation behind Sam Sevian.

SAINT LOUIS (June 11, 2014) -- Ten of the top young chess players in the United States will compete in the 2014 U.S. Junior Closed Championship June 19-29 at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL).

But there’s more than just the title on the line. The winner also will receive the $3,000 top prize and, more importantly, an automatic invitation to the 2015 U.S. Championship.

The nine-round, round-robin tournament will feature one newly anointed grandmaster and another rising star who is just one norm away from achieving the coveted GM title. But eight other worthy competitors are prepared to fight for the crown. The opening ceremony takes place June 19, and the first round of play begins at 1 p.m. CT on June 20.  

GM Kayden Troff, 16, finally surpassed the 2500 FIDE rating necessary to earn his grandmaster title at the Chicago Open in May. For good measure, Troff turned in an impressive performance to solidify the title at the recently concluded Saint Louis Invitational at the CCSCSL. He enters the tournament as the highest-rated player.

IM Sam Sevian, 13, earned his second GM norm at the Saint Louis Invitational. Sevian won’t turn 14 until December and is on pace to break the record as the youngest grandmaster in U.S. history.

Tony Rich, executive director of the CCSCSL, said the Junior Closed Championship offers an excellent opportunity to showcase the best and brightest student chess players in the nation and provide them with valuable big-tournament experience.

“For students here in Saint Louis and students across the nation, it’s incredibly inspiring to see these top juniors compete,” Rich said. “These players are proof that hard work, commitment and study can produce successful results.”

Meet the field (USCF Ratings from May supplement):

  • GM Kayden Troff (2573): West Jordan, Utah
  • IM Sam Sevian (2545): Southbridge, Mass.
  • IM Aleksandr Ostrovskiy (2521): New York City
  • IM Luke Harmon-Vellotti (2515): Boise, Idaho
  • IM Jeffrey Xiong (2513): Coppell, Tex.
  • FM Michael Bodek  (2486): New Rochelle, N.Y.
  • FM Arthur Shen (2458): Edison, N.J.
  • NM Joshua Colas (2426): White Plains, N.Y.
  • FM Justus Williams (2366): New York City
  • NM Matt Larson (2215): Saint Louis

Each round of the 2014 U.S. Junior Closed Championship will feature live commentary with GM Ben Finegold and FM Aviv Friedman. For more information about the tournament and the players, visit