Robson has won seven national scholastic titles and finished in the top ten at each of the World Youth Chess Championships from 2004 to 2007. He also tied for first place in the 2005 and 2006 (U12 Boys, Silver on tiebreak) Pan American Youth Chess Championships. On July 16, 2009, he won the U.S. Junior Chess Championship, becoming one of the youngest champions ever. Robson played in his first World Cup in November 2009 in Russia and again in 2011. Robson has also won the Webster University - SPICE Cup Open in St. Louis in 2012, and he finished second in Millionaire Chess in Las Vegas in 2014, losing to Wesley So in the final round. Even more, Robson has played in many of the major open tournaments in the United States, including the U.S. Championships since 2007. When he qualified for the 2007 U.S. Championships, it made him the youngest player in the history of the event to participate.
Sasikiran started playing chess at the age of 10 and became an IM in 1999 and GM in 2000. He was the second Indian after Ex-World Champion Vishy Anand to cross 2700. Sasikiran was honoured by Government of India with "Arjuna Award" (civilian honour) in 2002 for his exceptional performance. He has also been the Indian National champion for 4 times (1999, 2002, 2003 and 2012), Asian Individual (Classical) Champion in 2003 and holds the record for playing the highest number of chess games (more than 100) for India in the Olympiads. Sasikiran was instrumental in India winning the first ever Bronze Medal at 41st Olympiad at Tromso, Norway in 2014 and won the Individual Silver Medal on Board 3 for his performance in the same event. His other chess achievements include winning the European Club Cup in 2013 (for Novy Bor), becoming the first Indian to win the 52nd edition of the Prestigious "Capablanca Memorial" in 2017, and many other open tournaments around the world including the Rilton Cup and Benasque Open. Sasikiran joined the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) a Government of India undertaking and playing for them since 1999.
Darius is the youngest Polish player of all time to qualify for the title Grandmaster at the age of 14 in 2009. Świercz won the 2011 World Junior Chess Championship at the age of 17 and is currently the only Polish male chess player to accomplish this title. The following year he also won the Under 18 World Championship.
Alexander Motylev is a Russian chess grandmaster, former European champion, and former Russian champion. He is also Sergey's Karyakin trainer and one of the coaches of the Russian Men’s national team. In 1995, he won Russian Junior Championship under 16 and, in 1997, for the under 18 level. Motylev was the runner-up in the 1998 European Junior Chess Championship, which was won by Levon Aronian. Then, in 2001, he won the Russian Chess Championship in Elista and played for the national team in the World Team Chess Championship, where he contributed to the team silver medal scoring 2/3. In 2006, he was the joint winner (first on tie-break) of the Corus B Tournament in Wijk aan Zee with Magnus Carlsen and, in June 2009, he won the 10th Karpov tournament (category 18, 2694) in Poikovsky, Russia. Other achievements for Motylev include sharing 2-3 places (2nd on tiebreak) with Lazaro Bruzon, behind Pentala Harikrishna, in the Corus B Tournament in Wijk aan Zee in 2012 and finishing second in the 14th edition of Poikovsky Karpov tournament (category 18, 2685) in 2013. Motylev also won the 2014 European Individual Championship in Yerevan, Armenia with 9/11 and a rating performance of 2872, the best performance in the event's history. Following this event in 2014, he took clear second place, behind Pavel Eljanov, in the B tournament of the Vugar Gashimov Memorial in Shamkir, Azerbaijan. He also placed equal first (second on tiebreak) in the 2015 Russian Championship Higher League with 6.5/9 in Kaliningrad. Recently, in 2017, Motylev won the Russian Rapid Chess Championship in Sochi.
Hrant is a 29 year-old Armenia chess player who earned his Grandmaster title in 2008. He has won many prestigious tournaments including taking 2nd at the World Youth Championship under 18 in Batumi in 2006 and at the European Rapid Championship in 2015. Hrant has also won the European Blitz Championship in 2011, the London Chess Classic in 2013 and 2017, and other Open tournaments. He has also played on the Armenian national team, taking the European silver (1st result on board 4) and world Team bronze medal in 2015.
Jeffery Xiong of Coppell, Texas, is the highest ranked player in the US under the age of 18. He won the World Junior Chess Championship in 2016 at the age of 15, which was the first time an American chess player has won in 2 decades. He was also the youngest winner of the Chicago Open Chess Championship in history, when he won it in 2015 at the age of 14. He was awarded the prestigious Samford Chess Fellowship in 2017. He has represented the USA in the 2017 World Team Championship and FIDE World Cup.
Sam Sevian is an American chess prodigy. He holds the record for the youngest ever United States Grandmaster at the age of 13 years, 10 months, and 27 days. He also holds the record for the youngest ever United States International Master at 12 years and 10 months; and the youngest National Master in USCF history at 9 years, 11 months, and 23 days. In 2012, he became World Champion in the U12 category. He achieved a 2500 FIDE rating during the Saint Louis GM Norm Invitational tournament with an impressive outcome of 7.5/9.
Sevian made his first appearance at the U.S. Chess Championships in Saint Louis, Missouri in 2013 as the youngest ever participant. There, Sevian placed in a shared 14th position out of 24 total players with a score of 4/9, beating out several grandmasters. He returned for another U.S. Chess Championships in 2015 and shared fifth place ahead of several well-known names in the chess world including Wesley So, a world top ten ranked player. His overall performance in the championship earned him a spot in the 2015 Chess World Cup.
Aleksandr Shimanov became an International Master in 2007. Two years later, he received his grandmaster title when he was just 17 years old. In 2013, he tied for 1st-3rd at the Nakhchivan Open with Gadir Guseinov and Igor Kurnosov. GM Shimanov typically favors the Queen’s Pawn Game and Salv openings for white, and Caro-Kann and King’s Indian openings for black.
Yuniesky Quezada Pérez is a Cuban chess grandmaster. He was the fourth Cuban chess player to surpass the Elo 2600 rating mark in July 2010. His chess achievements include winning the Cuban Chess Championship in 2008 and 2011 and, in April 2015, winning the Philadelphia Open, defeating runner up Ioan-Cristian Chirila.
Grandmaster Evgenij Miroshnichenko, often referred to as Miro, was born in Donetsk, Ukraine. He was introduced to the game of chess at 5 and started to attend his local chess club at 6. At the age of 19, Miro was awarded the International Master title and the Grandmaster title in 2002. He is a two time Ukrainian champion (2003 and 2008) and reached his highest world rank, 37, in 2007. Miro has also worked as a coach and second to Sergey Karjakin, both Muzychuk sisters, and Anton Smirnov, to name a few. Miro has extensive experience doing commentary, which includes two chess olympiads (2012, 2016) and now as the Russian commentator for the 2018 Grand Chess Tour.
Zaven is an Armenian Grandmaster, earning the title in 2006. He won the 2005 European Youth Chess Championship for under-16, followed by the 2006 World Junior Chess Championship. His other chess achievements include winning the Russian Cup Final after defeating Artyom Timofeev in the second game of the final in 2010, earning second in the Armenian Chess960 Championship in 2012, and sharing first with Alexander Kovchan and Sipke Ernst in the Groningen Chess Festival, also in 2012. In 2016, Zaven won the Armenian Chess Championship for the first time.
Blindfold chess exhibitionist Grandmaster Timur Gareyev, originally from Uzbekistan, is thrilled to return to the US Chess Championship after having last competed in the 2015. Also known as the Blindfold King, Gareyev astonished the chess community in 2016 when he broke the Guinness World Record for Blindfold Chess playing 48 simultaneous chess games blindfolded while riding a spin bike achieving 82% wins. Gareyev’s chess development began at age 10 and by 2004, at 16, he earned the distinction as the youngest-ever Grandmaster from Asia. Gareyev represented Uzbekistan in 2004 and 2006 Olympiads. In 2007, GM Gareyev tied for first with GM Vladimir Egin and GM Anton Filippov in the Uzbekstani Chess Championship. In 2008, he became Champion Blackstone Chess Festival, in Pawtucket RI, and won the Liberty Bell Open in 2008 and 2009. He was the Champion of the Arizona International in 2009 and 2010 and won the Chicago Open and US Open in 2011.
From 2009-2011, he traveled to the US and helped the University of Texas at Brownsville win its first national championship. After receiving his B.A. degree in 2011, Gareyev was awarded the Samford Fellowship in 2012, which awarded him a monetary stipend to assist his chess development. He consistently placed first in numerous tournaments including Land of the Sky 2012, and the North American Open 2012. In 2013, he tied for third in the US Chess Championship. In 2014, he became Champion of Far West Open in Reno. In 2015, he won the IX Festival International de Xadrez Figueira Da Foz in Portugal with 8.5/9. Some of his most recent accomplishments include 2018 winner of the Doeberl Cup, the largest chess tournament in Australia, 2018 winner of Japfa Indonesia tournament and 2018 winner of the US Open. US Chess awarded Gareyev with the Outstanding achievement award earlier this year.
Victor Mikhalevski is originally from Gomel, Belarus. He relocated to Israel in 1991 and achieved the title of Grandmaster in 1996. Victor was a member of the Israeli Olympic team in 2006 and 2010, winning the bronze team medal in the latter. Victor won two Israeli Junior championships in 1991 and 1992. In 1997 he won the Israeli rapid championship and in 2014 both the Israeli Classical and Blitz titles and many international tournaments. His best performance up to date was 2876 in 2007 Calvia International Open, which he won with 8 points out of 9. He resides in Beer Sheva, Israel with his wife and three kids.
Aram Hakobyan started playing chess when he was 6 years old and earned his Grandmaster title in 2018. Since then, he has achieved much in the chess world, such as winning the Armenian Youth Championships five times in different age groups (10,12,14,18), becoming World Chess Champion in U12 in 2012, earning vice-champion of the European Chess Championship U14 years in 2014, bronze medalist of the of the European U14 Championship in 2015, and bronze medalist in U16 team Olympiad in 2016. Other accolades Aram has been awarded include "The World's Young Stars" - 3rd prize for first and second rounds of European Junior Grand Prix in 2017, 2nd place in the category "Best junior player "The World's Young Stars" - 1st prize of third round of European Junior Grand Prix in 2018, and European individual chess championship - Best junior player U18, also in 2018.
Cemil Can Ali Marandi
Cemil Can is a 20-year-old Grandmaster from Turkey. His current FIDE rating is 2549. He is currently a sophomore at the Saint Louis University studying Computer Engineering. He has a unique achievement of winning the European Youth Championships for five times. Additionally, he has represented Turkey in the 2012 Istanbul Chess Olympiad.
Nikolas Theodorou is an 18 year old International Master from Greece. He is ranked 8th in Greece and has represented his country in many junior events. One of his most notable achievements is having won the Greek championship in his age group five times. He is currently residing in Saint Louis, majoring in Engineering Physics at SLU.
Joel Benjamin was the first to break Bobby Fischer’s record for youngest master (1977) and won national titles at every scholastic level, as well as the US Junior Championship. He earned the IM title in 1980 and GM title in 1986, among the youngest in the world at the time.
Benjamin won the three U.S. Championships (1987, 1997, and 2000) and finished in the top three on numerous other occasions. He holds the record for most consecutive appearances, playing in every Championship from 1981-2006.
Benjamin also played in six Olympiads and many medal winning teams, including the 1993 and 1997 World Team (gold and silver, respectively), and the 1990 and 1996 Olympiad (silver and bronze, respectively). Most recently he was part of the gold medal U.S. team in the 2018 World Senior Team Championship. Benjamin has won individual gold in the World Youth Team, World Team, and World Senior Team. From 1995-1997, Benjamin was Grandmaster Consultant for IBM’s Deep Blue, preparing the computer for its 1997 defeat of Garry Kasparov. Benjamin has won titles in every major open tournament in the country, including the U.S. Open, National Open, and American Open. He has won more World Opens than any one player.
Benjamin has just authored his fourth chess book, Better Thinking, Better Chess: How a Grandmaster Finds His Moves (New In Chess) as well as Liquidation on the ChessBoard: Mastering the Transition into the Pawn Endgame, second edition due out spring 2019.
Benjamin was inducted into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame in 2008. He currently teaches privately, coaches the Columbia Grammar chess team, and makes videos for the Internet Chess Club. He is a graduate of Yale University (1985).
Lucas van Foreest
Lucas van Foreest is one of Netherlands’ upcoming players, his best achievements include winning Bruges Masters 2017 and sharing first place at Batavia Chess 2017 and the Dutch Open 2018, as well as becoming a Grandmaster a few months ago.
Eugene Perelshteyn (born 1980) is a chess grandmaster and author that learned to play chess at the age of 7 from his father, who was a professional chess coach. One of his first major victories was winning the U.S. Junior Closed Championship in 2000. He then earned the International Master title in 2001 and the Grandmaster title in 2006 In 2001, Perelsteyn was awarded the Samford Chess Fellowship by the US Chess Trust. He was also the winner of the tournament "The Spice Cup" in 2007, tied for first in the B group at that tournament with 6 points in 2009. Perelshteyn has also placed 2nd in the Canadian Open Championship (2012) and tied for first in the Golden State Open (2016).
He is co-author of Chess Openings for Black, Explained: A Complete Repertoire by Lev Alburt, Roman Dzindzichashvili and Eugene Perelshteyn and Chess Openings for White, Explained: Winning with 1.e4, by Lev Alburt, Roman Dzindzichashvili and Eugene Perelshteyn. He has since converted his book into a website, ChessOpeningsExplained.com, in which he shares his knowledge of the Hyper-Accelerated Sicilian Dragon. In August 2015, Perelshteyn developed the Android application, Chess Genie, which offers tactical exercises to its users. Most recently, Perelshteyn finished 4th in the Reykjavik Open, scoring 6.5/9 in 2017.
Robby Kevlishvili is a 17-year-old IM from the Netherlands. He started playing at the age of 4, and has since played a lot of European- and World Youth Chess Championships. His best performance was in 2013, at the World U12 championship, where he finished on a shared second place and winning the gold medal in the Blitz championship.
Robby’s best achievements include winning the Vandoevre Open tournament in France, and winning the Noteboom open memorial in the Netherlands, earlier in 2018. Robby currently holds 1 GM norm and hopes that his first trip to the United States will help his journey towards the GM title.