GM Kayden Troff Simul finishes successfully for all
Utah's only grandmaster, GM Kayden Troff, was invited by chess student, Nobel Ang to Pocatello to provide the Idaho Chess Association with a 20-board simultaneous exhibition and a lecture. Though twenty chess players were encouraged to participate, Idaho was only able to field 17 players from Coeur d'Alene, Twin Falls, Boise, Idaho Falls, Pocatello, and other Idaho smaller communities. Idaho State University donated the quad-room to feature this unique and historic event; only two other grandmasters have touched an Idaho chess event in the past 30 years (GM Alex Yermilinsky and GM Timur Gareyev)!
The games started at 11:15 am and continued until approximately 3:30 when the last player, Nobel Ang succumbed to Mr. Troff's skills and abilities. In fact, of the 17 participants, only one, Darren Su was able to score a draw against Kayden. During the lecture, Mr. Troff revealed that he was not up for fighting back to regain the two pawns he was down and figured a draw was appropriate. An ecstatic Darren accepted. In the preceding boards, Nobel Ang, Desmond Porth, Andrea Chimenton, and Niall McKenzie were giving Kayden some grief and complex boards that stretched their abilities, however, Kayden was able to wear them down using his mantra/advice that was emphasized in his lecture, "give your opponent every opportunity to mess up while you provide pressure that doesn't wreck your position."
The day also drew many spectators that were able to closely observe the games and also an alumni from 40 years ago that was an ISU Chess Club participant, Don Pitchford.
Mr. Troff's lecture involved many questions from interested participants and lasted another 1 1/2 hours! He passed on some advice after thinking about the games he witnessed: avoid playing passively and look for some way to improve your position while wrecking your opponent's. "If you give me enoungh time, I'm going to attack you." He continued and shared his favorite game between Karpov and Kasparov which demonstrated simple moves that apply pressure. Another game, Gligoric v. Padevsky, demonstrated how to recognize critical moves and squares where equal numbers of attackers and defenders exist.
The day ended with a quick meal where stories were shared about starting chess and the other grandmasters that Mr. Troff had the pleasure to play such as GM Hikaru Nakamura, and GM Fabiano Caruana. Kayden learned how to play chess at age 3, "which is hard to remember," he said and he began playing competitively at age 6. He currently is focused on spreading his wealth of knowledge by coaching and is not thinking of playing any time soon. But we in Idaho know that he is truly a player - and a winner!