Utah's top chess player is an 11-year-old Mormon boy

Kayden Troff might look like an average 11-year-old, but he's not. Kayden, a member of the Welby 2nd Ward, West Jordan Utah Welby Stake, is a prodigy chess player. Before turning 11, he was listed No. 1 in the nation for all 10-year-olds, and is still No. 1 in the nation on his quick chess rating for all kids ages 13 and under.

Kayden, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has won many tournaments. But chess to Kayden isn't just a game he plays — he loves it. "I like puzzles, and chess is like a big puzzle to me," he said. He labors hard to figure out his puzzle by practicing hours on the computer and spending around six hours a day on chess.

Although Kayden has accumulated hundreds of trophies over the years, the real payoff for him is the love of the game. Although the tournaments he has won seem numberless, he knows that he has help from his Heavenly Father.

Before each game, he joins with his family in prayer. They will sing a hymn, his favorite being "The Spirit of God." His mother, Kim Troff, reminds him how hard he has worked and the promise that Heavenly Father will help him. Heavenly Father helps him in "every way," she reminds him.

Kayden started playing chess when he was 3 years old. He would silently watch his two older brothers, Jeremy and Zac, play games with their father, Dan. When he was barely 3, he told his father that he was ready to play. Brother Troff agreed to set up the board to humor him. Kayden, without any instruction or coaching, knew how each piece moved and how to attack.

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