Jeffrey Xiong leads in U.S. Juniors

by Johannes Fischer
7/11/2016 – From 7th to 18th July the U.S. Juniors Closed Championship take place in the Chess Club & Scholastic Center in St. Louis. It's a tournament of future U.S. stars and Elo-favorite and top seed is Jeffery Xiong who has a rating of 2624. The 15-year old no longer goes to school but his chess skills brought him an offer to study at the University of Texas. After three rounds he leads with 2.5/3.

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Chess is booming in the USA. The national team is one of the world's best and one of the favorites in the coming Chess Olympiad in Baku, in September 2016. Young talents are also supported and chess is popular in schools and High Schools.

A driving force behind this chess boom is sponsor Rex Sinquefield who supports the Chess Club & Scholastic Center in St. Louis where the U.S. Juniors take place.

The coming stars of U.S. chess play in the tournament hall where some
of the world's best players have showed their skills
in top tournaments such as the Sinquefield Cup.

Talents in battle

Michael Brown

Awonder Liang against Kayden Troff

Help from above?

After three round Jeffery Xiong leads the ten-player tournament. The short bio on the website of the U.S. Juniors lists his many impressive achievements: "Jeffery Xiong of Coppell, Texas, is the highest ranked player in the world under the age of 16. He has shown tenacity well beyond his years. At age 15, he already has had an impressive list of results: the 2010 Under-10 North America Continental Champion, a silver medalist in the 2010 Under-10 World Youth Chess Championships, 2013 MVP of the United States Chess League for his perfect record in regular season for the Dallas Destiny, 2015 Chicago Open Championship, 6th place finish in the strongest U.S. Championship in history (2016), and was recently awarded the 2016 U.S. Outstanding Player Achievement Award by USCF.

Home-schooled now, Xiong already has been awarded a four-year scholarship to the University of Texas at Dallas. The school’s faith in him is well-founded, particularly since his undefeated play in this past spring’s UT Dallas vs. U.S.A. Junior All-Stars event helped his team, the Junior All-Stars, achieve victory over that same UT Dallas university program he may one day attend." Xiong takes part in the Young Stars program and is mentored by Garry Kasparov.

In round three against Michael Bodek Xiong showed how mature his play is already.


Games rounds 1 to 3


Standings after three rounds


Analysis after the game - Jeffery Xiaong and Alejandro Ramirez

Impressions from the opening ceremony

The participants

Playing blitz in the club

The next generation gets ready!

Photos: Austin Fuller (Tournament page...)

Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".


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