Young stars enjoy Kasparov session

Special training

The Kasparov Chess Foundation (KCF) and the Saint Louis Chess Club have run the highly successful Young Stars – Team USA program for six years. The Team USA program has helped develop several American chess prodigies across the country, including GM Jeffery Xiong and GM Sam Sevian. Team USA was crowned with one-on-one training sessions with Kasparov’s coaching staff and special training sessions with Garry Kasparov himself.

The Saint Louis Chess Club is an organization that knows no rest! The Club restarted its classic tournament series this year – a quarterly event with two very strong round robin tournaments. These proved to be perfect training grounds for three of our young stars; it was just handy to have a practice weekend right after to learn from the tournament. Garry Kasparov led the session and was assisted by FIDE Head Coach Michael Khodarkovsky. Four very strong students were able to participate, although three of them did so in person:

  • GM Jonas Bjerre
  • GM Abhimanyu Mishra
  • GM Christopher Yoo

Kasparov Chess Foundation

Top: Michael Khodarkovsky, Jonas Bjerre, Garry Kasparov. Seated in front: Christopher Yoo, Abhimanyu Mishra. Photo courtesy of St. Louis Chess Club.

The youngest participant, WIM Alice Lee, joined the online session as she was unable to travel this weekend. The average student grade was a whopping 2497.

A lesson from the pandemic: While the experience of attending camp in person is far superior to attending online, it’s still better than not attending! Alice Lee had to join via Zoom. The game presented here is a fascinating fight between Jonas Bjerre and Nikolas Theodorou.

Jonas Buhl Bjerre

The best Danish chess player: Jonas Buhl Bjerre. Jonas has been part of the Young Stars program for three years. He is trained by the head coach of the Young Stars program, general manager Alexander Chernin. Photo courtesy of St. Louis Chess Club.

Jonas Bjerre recently broke the 2600 mark and is currently the highest rated player in all of Denmark. His next big challenge will be at the 2022 Chess Olympiad in Chennai, leading the Denmark team as the first board. His tournament match against Abhi must have been rather sour as he let fellow Young Star narrowly escape.

Abhimanyu Mishra

Despite strong opposition, “Abhi” put in a fantastic performance at the Summer Classic. Photo courtesy of St. Louis Chess Club.

Abhimanyu Mishra has been a hot topic for the chess world over the past year. He smashed Sergey Karjakin’s record to become the youngest GM of all time. He is now making rapid progress towards his next goal: surpassing 2600. He collected 17 points towards that goal during the Summer Classic and is under 50 points.

Christopher Yoo

Christopher Yoo broke the 2550 points mark at exactly the same time as Abhimanyu: Christopher collected 6 points in the Summer Classic, including a last-round win over former Young Stars GM John Burke. A global success for all these young people.

Good chess training always involves good compositions. Try your luck, or at least try to figure out the main ideas, in the following puzzle:

Only one of the participants received our featured composition this time around. Study by IM in Chess Composition Yehuda Hoch. Resolution below.

Kasparov Chess Foundation

The workout was the usual mix of excitement and intensity. Variations were thrown so often that it was important to pay attention, follow and calculate in your mind!

The Young Stars program is open to talented children around the world to apply for this elite program. Candidates can apply by submitting the application found here: KCF YoungStars Application. The program is open to talented players aged nine (9) as of January 1, 2022 and under thirteen (13) as of January 1, 2022.

Send complete applications to: [email protected]


Study solution: White’s plan is clear, the pawns must be advanced. In return, black must use the fact that the king is still weak on h1 to prevent the thrown pawns from making the queen.


How I Became World Champion Vol.1 1973-1985

Garry Kasparov’s rise to the top was meteoric and on his very first attempt he managed to become world champion, the youngest ever. In over six hours of video, it gives a first-hand account of crucial events in recent chess history, you can enhance your understanding of chess and enjoy explanations and commentary from a unique and exceptional personality on and off the chessboard.


About the Kasparov Chess Foundation

Founded by World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov, KCF’s mission is to bring the many educational benefits of chess to children around the world by providing a comprehensive chess curriculum and enrichment programs. The Foundation promotes the study of chess as a tool for cognitive learning in school classrooms and after-school programs in elementary, middle, and high schools, in both the public and private school sectors. The non-profit educational organization also organizes tournaments and competitions on a local and national basis. For more information, please visit http://www.kasparovchessfoundation.org.


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