Jennifer Yu started playing chess when she was seven years old. Chess started to have a greater impact on her life after she moved to Virginia and began to play regularly when she was nine. In 2012, Jennifer played her first World Youth Chess Championships in Slovenia. With a mediocre score, she returned to play the 2013 World Youth and tied for 3rd but unfortunately missed out on a medal because of tie breaks. Jennifer's first remarkable result came in 2014 when she won gold in World Youth in South Africa in the U12 girls section, the first time an American girl did so in 27 years. From 2014-2016, she won three NGTOC championships and in 2015, she won the VA State Closed Championship as the first girl and youngest person ever. Last November, Jennifer won bronze in the World Junior U20 Championships. She has also participated in the U.S. Women’s Championships for the last four years. Currently, she is on the hunt for her last IM norm.
Maggie Feng started playing chess when she was 8 years old. In 2016, Feng shattered the glass ceiling and became the first female in history to win the U.S. Junior High School Chess Championship with a strong score of 6.5/7. Feng competed in her first U.S. Women’s Chess Championship in 2017 and tied for fourth place; in that tournament, she won her game against the U.S. Women’s Champion Sabina Foisor. Over the course of the same year, she acquired her new title of FIDE Master. In March of 2018, she competed in her 2nd U.S. Women's Chess Championship and tied for eighth place.
At just 14 years of age, Carissa Yip has quickly become one of the top female players in America. Known for her creativity over the board, she enters the tournament with an all time high rating of 2408. Yip has been on a record-shattering pace ever since she learned how to play the game from her father at age 6. Three years later, at age 9, she became the youngest ever to reach the title of Expert. Two years later she broke the record for youngest female to achieve the title of National Master at the age of 11 years, 5 months, and 18 days. Along the way to Master, she set the record for youngest female player to beat a Grandmaster for her win against GM Alexander Ivanov in the New England Open a few days before her 11th birthday.
Emily started playing chess competitively at a young age. She notably won the U.S. Junior Under 8 Championship (Open section) in 2010, the 2012 Pan-American Youth Championships (U10 Girls), and the 2016 North American U20 Girls Championship. She also won the Junior Girls Championship in 2016. Outside of chess, Emily enjoys swimming and playing the piano.
Thalia started playing chess in Cuba, but in 2014 she moved to the United States seeking better chess opportunities. She has won such tournaments as the Susan Polgar Fundation Girls Invitational and KCF US Girls Championship. More recently Thalia has had good results at Carlos Torre Open, North American Open and Continental Championship, where she got a WIM norm. She is a national master, WFM, and member of the SPICE chess program at Webster University. Thalia played this tournament last year as the wild card, and despite being the lowest rated she tied for third place.
Rochelle started playing chess at the age of six. She won the gold medal in the 2016 World Cadet Chess Championship U10 Girl section. Her performance has been recognized by Senator Waggoner of Alabama by issuing her a Senate Resolution. In 2017, she took first place in the National Girls Tournament of Champions (NGTOC), which earned her a spot in the 2018 U.S. Girl’s Junior Championship. In addition, Rochelle has been granted the Ursula Foster award twice in NGTOC as a best player under the age of 13. Her other winnings include multiple Alabama Scholastic Championships. At age of 11 1/2, she earned her National Master title. With her success as a young player, she was invited to participate in the Young Stars program, a chess training program coached by Garry Kasparov. Rochelle is continuing her chess exploration despite the challenges she faced when she moved from Alabama to California last summer. She is currently ranked as the No.3 female player under the age of 12 in the World by June 2018 FIDE rating.
Martha Samadashvili is going to be a freshman at Emma Willard High school in Troy, NY. She enjoys reading and writing, and is a two-time Geography Bee school Champion. She started to play chess in 2012 when she was 8 years old. In 2013 Martha became North American Youth Champion GU10. In 2014, she won the North American Youth Chess Championship GU12, giving her the WFM title. The same summer, she became the Pan American Youth Chess Champion by winning all nine games in the GU10. She became a National Master at the age of twelve in 2017. In the summer of 2017, she also competed in the Match of the Millennials in Saint Louis. In 2018, Martha won the NY State Girls Championship, making her the State Champion.
Nastassja Matus is thirteen years old and was born and lives in Minnesota. She started playing in chess tournaments when she was around six and a half, but only started playing "professionally" shortly before her first World Youth, when she was eight. Nastassja has gone to the World Youth five times and, last year, achieved second place in Girls Under 12, in Brazil. She also won Susan Polgar’s Girls Invitational Tournament last year and became National Master in October. Along with chess, Nastassja attends math classes at the University of Minnesota and will be starting calculus in September. She is also learning Spanish and likes to play the flute outside of school. In the summer, Nastassja really enjoys biking and swimming outside in the nice warm weather with friends.
Sanjana began playing chess at the age of eight and was immediately drawn to the game. At the age of ten, she qualified to represent the United States for the World Youth and has been selected every year since, for a total of three. Sanjana won her first title of WCM by winning the silver medal in the 2013 NAYCC in Toronto, Canada. She won the WFM title by winning gold in the 2015 Pan American Youth Chess Championships in Cali, Colombia. She also won silver in the 2015 NAYCC and 2017 North American Junior Chess Championships. She is a National Master with a WIM norm. Sanjana is the winner of the 2017 Susan Polgar World Open for Girls and she has also been the NJ state champion three years in a row. Sanjana is currently a freshman in high school pursuing STEM. She is also an avid reader and has been trained in classical dance for eight years.
In 2014, at the age of 11, Sophie tried to learn how to play chess after watching her friends play the game at school. She really enjoyed it, so she decided to play in her first tournament soon afterwards. Since then, her rating skyrocketed to above 1500 in July 2015, and then, in February 2016, she broke the 2000 barrier. Later that year, she won second place in the U14 section of the 2016 All-Girls National Championship. The following year, she won the 2017 New York Girls State Championship and the 2017 All-Girls National Championship (in the U18 section). She also carried the Stuyvesant High School chess team to first place victories in the 2016 K-12 Grade Championships and the 2017 All-Girls National Championship.
Besides chess, Sophie's main passion is singing. She is a member of her school's chorus and she hopes to become a famous singer one day.