Bingham High junior Jeremy Troff won the Utah state chess championship, held Feb. 27-28 at Highland High School, in leading the Miners to their first-ever chess team championship.
After seven rounds during the two-day tournament, Troff found himself in a three-way tie for first place with West High School students Adam Mielke and Tony Chen. Troff won when a tiebreak determination based on strength of opponents was calculated.
Troff said his first few games were relatively easy but the competition got more intense with each round and, after two hours in the final round, three were on top.
“I love it when I win but winning isn’t everything,” he said. “I will always try my hardest to do my very best and if that is good enough to get the title then that is what it means.”
Bingham High’s Daniel Schackleford, David Shackleford, Michael Hansan, Michael Gustofson and Andrew Cutler combined with Troff for the team title, which is determined by the top five scores. Since Bingham only had six players, each match was crucial to the team’s success.
This group of players, most of whom are now seniors, have been playing since they all met in the chess club at South Jordan Middle School a few years ago and took second place in the 2006 Junior High School Chess Championship. “I thought it would be fun to go for one last title with them,” Troff said.
Troff’s journey with chess began as a 4-year-old when his father taught him the game. All of his brothers play chess, including 10-year-old Kayden, who won the 2009 Utah Game/60 Chess Championship March 14. “It has become a family thing,” Troff said.
He has been playing in state tournaments since the 5th grade, losing to Mielke and Chen in the championships every time. In 2008, he competed in the Junior High State Championships and avenged those losses by defeating them both to win the title. This year was the same outcome against “great rivals and friends.”
Troff, who also runs on the cross country and track teams at Bingham, has won several other tournaments, including the 2007 Grand Prix, a collection of five tournaments and the 2008 Salt Lake Open.
He has been running the TNT Chess Camp the last couple of years to share his knowledge of the game. More information is found on http://tntchesscamp.blogspot.com.