The Field

Nicolas Checa

Title: 
Grandmaster
Rating: 
2648
Federation: 
USA
Age: 
19
Bio: 

Nicolas Checa is a Grandmaster from New York. Checa achieved the FIDE Master title in 2015 and the International Master title in 2016. In 2018, he earned his last GM norm, and his Grandmaster title was approved in 2019. Checa has won several scholastic titles in New York and nationally. He was named a Samford Fellow in 2020, which was extended into 2021. Beginning in 2021, Checa will be a student at Yale University.

John Burke

Title: 
Grandmaster
Rating: 
2618
Federation: 
USA
Age: 
20
Bio: 

John Burke is an American chess grandmaster. Burke played his first tournament in 2008, when he was 7 years old. A chess prodigy, Burke achieved the FIDE Master title in August 2015, and the International Master title in January 2016. He was awarded his Grandmaster title in January 2018. Some of his best tournament victories are the US Masters 2018, Foxwoods Open 2019, and 2020 US Junior Championship (held online).  Burke is a member of the SPICE program and will be starting his Junior year at Webster University in the fall. Outside of chess, Burke enjoys listening to and creating music, as well as writing.

Praveen Balakrishnan

Title: 
International Master
Rating: 
2605
Federation: 
USA
Age: 
19
Bio: 

Praveen started playing chess when he was 5 years old after being introduced to the game by a neighbor. At the age of 10, he crossed 2200 and became a National Master. Praveen represented the US in World Youth Championships in Greece, Slovenia, and South Africa. At the age of 14, he received his International Master title, and he went on to win the Denker title twice. In 2019, Praveen won the Gold Medal in the North American Junior Championship and tied for first in US Masters, with both of these performances earning him a GM norm. Having a FIDE rating over 2500 and being on the brink of the Grandmaster title, Praveen was recently chosen as a 2021 Samford Fellow. Outside of chess, Praveen is a student at the University of Chicago studying computer science and economics.

Hans Niemann

Title: 
Grandmaster
Rating: 
2599
Federation: 
USA
Age: 
18
Bio: 

Hans is recently was awarded the title of Grandmaster. He met his final requirement of reaching a 2500 rating in Spain in December 2020. Some of Niemann’s recent tournaments wins in the last year include the blitz tournament at the Sunway Sitges Chess Festival, the Walter Browne Memorial Blitz tournament at the National Open in Las Vegas, the Memorial Tournament Niksic in Montenegro, Third Saturday Mix in Serbia, and the online qualifier for Americas region for the Junior Speed Chess Championship on Chess.com. Hans graduated this year from Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School in New York City and is looking forward to dedicating the next year to studying chess and training intensely in his quest to reach the most elite level of the game. Hans experienced success as Twitch streamer at the height of the chess boom and streams occasionally in his free time. His favorite activities outside of chess are tennis, cycling, and biking.

Brandon Jacobson

Title: 
Grandmaster
Rating: 
2572
Federation: 
USA
Age: 
17
Bio: 

Brandon Jacobson is an American chess grandmaster. He became a FIDE Master in 2017, an International Master in 2018, and was awarded the Grandmaster title in 2020. He is also an undergraduate student of Columbia University, majoring in economics.

David Brodsky

Title: 
International Master
Rating: 
2564
Federation: 
USA
Age: 
18
Bio: 

David Brodsky learned to play chess at the age of 6 and started taking chess lessons when he was 7. He became a National Master and FIDE Master at 11 and an International Master at 14. He earned his third Grandmaster norm at the 2019 US Masters but hasn’t reached 2500 FIDE. Brodsky won the 2014 North American Youth Championships and the 2018 US Cadets Championships and played on board 1 for the US at the 2018 World U16 Olympiad. He has won or tied for first in several open tournaments and earned 6th place in 2019 US Chess Grand Prix. Outside of chess, Brodsky is a computer science and mathematics double major in the Computing Honors Program at the University of Texas at Dallas, where he is a member of the collegiate chess team.

Andrew Hong

Title: 
International Master
Rating: 
2543
Federation: 
USA
Age: 
16
Bio: 

Andrew started playing chess at the age of 7, after being enthralled by a lecture at a local club. From then on his interest quickly blossomed, and in 2012 he began playing competitive tournaments. In 2016, he won the silver medal in the Open U-12 section of the World Youth Chess Championship held in Greece. The following year, he participated in the Match of the Millennials, and was a part of the Young Stars program. Andrew earned the IM title in 2018, and in 2020 took 2nd in the Denker National Tournament of High School State Champions. Today, his range of interests include basketball, soccer, cross-country, track and field, drawing, and playing the guitar.

Justin Wang

Title: 
International Master
Rating: 
2540
Federation: 
USA
Age: 
15
Bio: 

Justin started to play chess when he was seven years old. In 2015, just three years after the start of his chess career, he became a USCF National Master. He has previously played well in Saint Louis, winning the 2017 Saint Louis Invitational and scoring his first IM norm. Justin then went on to score a second IM norm at the 2018 World Open and came back to Saint Louis to score his third and final IM norm by winning the IM section of the Saint Louis Invitational. Besides chess, Justin enjoys math and music.

Christopher Yoo

Title: 
International Master
Rating: 
2540
Federation: 
USA
Age: 
14
Bio: 

Christopher is the reigning US Cadet Champion. He once held the records for the youngest American Master and International Master and still holds the record for the youngest player in the world to beat a FIDE 2700-rated GM. At age 11, he became the youngest State Champion in California history. He likes to compose endgame studies in his free time and at age 12 became the youngest ever medalist in the FIDE World Cup in Composing. He also won a gold medal in the 2019 Youth Composing Challenge.

Ben Li

Title: 
International Master
Rating: 
2477
Federation: 
USA
Age: 
19
Bio: 

Ben Li is an International Master from Michigan. He was the Co-Champion of the 2017 U.S. Cadet Championship and the 2019 U.S. Denker High School Championship.