Yu Yangyi is a Chinese Grandmaster who earned his title at the age of 14 years, 11 months in 2009. Consistently one of the best players in China, he has maintained a rating over 2700 for the past 7 years. He was a member of the gold medal winning Chinese teams at both the 41st and 43rd Chess Olympiads. At the 2014 Chess Olympiad in Tromso he also won the individual gold medal on board 3 with a performance rating of 2912, the best of the entire event.
Over the past 10 years, Vidit Gujrathi has gone from a fresh, 18 year old GM to one of the best players from India in chess history. He rose through the ranks along with illustrious contemporaries such as S.P. Sethuraman and S.L. Narayanan, and now he finds himself competing with the next generation of rising stars. The Fall Classic marks his first appearance at a major event here at the Saint Louis Chess Club.
Hans Niemann has always been a mainstay of the junior chess scene in the United States, but until recently, there was nothing to separate him from other promising juniors. Over the past two years, Niemann has gone from the high 2400s to an elite top 50 player in the world. While everyone is familiar with his earth-shattering victory over Magnus Carlsen, perhaps equally impressive is his consistent performances on the grueling tournament chess circuit. In 2021, these performances included winning both the World Open and U.S. Junior Championships, placing second in the U.S. Open, and holding his own at the FIDE Grand Swiss. Niemann has just finished competing in the U.S. Championship, where he surged to a +1 score by winning three of his final four games following a rocky start.
Illya Nyzhnyk began playing chess at age 5, and hasn’t stopped since. As a talented junior, he won numerous youth events and soared to the Grandmaster title in 2011. Since then, Nyzhnyk helped lead an extremely dominant collegiate team at Webster University. During his tenure, the team won 5 consecutive PanAm InterCollegiate Chess Championships and 3 straight Final Four Championships. Outside of collegiate chess, Nyzhnyk has won the U.S. Open, National Open, and 4 World Opens. Recently, he has made a push towards the 2700 barrier, peaking at a 2699 live FIDE rating.
Grigoriy Oparin is a Russian grandmaster who received his title by FIDE in 2013. That same year he was on the Russian team that won silver in the World Youth Under-16 Chess Olympiad. He has won the Russian Junior Championship, Russian Higher League, and was the best player at the Nutcracker Match of the Generations in Moscow. Oparin is currently the top player on the Mizzou Chess Team.
After becoming a GM at age 15, Nijat Abasov made his presence known on the world stage by winning the World U18 Blitz Championship, and placing 2nd in the classical portion of the U18 Championship. He has competed at the highest level of chess, performing well at both the 2019 FIDE World Cup and 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss. In the latter tournament, he placed 15th overall, ahead of chess legends such as Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand. The Fall Chess Classic marks his first appearance in Saint Louis.
Thai Dai Van Nguyen
At just age 16, Thai Dai Van Nguyen became the youngest Grandmaster in the Czech Republic. He has continued to improve ever since, and now hovers on the bubble of breaking into the top 100 players in the world. He recently competed at the 2021 World Cup, managing to advance to the second round. The Fall Classic marks the Czech phenom’s first appearance at the Saint Louis Chess Club.
Aram started playing chess when he was 6 years old and earned his Grandmaster title at the age of 17. He has achieved much during his career, winning the Armenian Youth Championships five times, becoming U12 World Chess Champion in 2012, earning a bronze medal in European U14 Championship in 2015, and another bronze medal at the U16 Olympiad in 2016. Aram’s other accolades include 3rd prize for the first and second rounds of the European Junior Grand Prix in 2017 and being named best junior player U18 for his efforts at the 2018 European Individual Championship.
As a 2600+ GM at age 16, Raunak Sadhwani would be the single-most promising young talent in most countries. However in India, Sadhwani has stiff competition in his contemporaries Praggnanandhaa, Gukesh, Erigasi, and Sarin. He recently helped rock the chess world at the 2022 Chess Olympiad by winning the Bronze Medal with many of these contemporaries as his teammates. Sadhwani will hope to continue to climb through the ranks in his first appearance at the Saint Louis Chess Club here at the Fall Chess Classic.
Originally from Greece, Nikolas started playing chess at the age of seven. Soon after his parents showed him how to move the pieces, he became enchanted by the complexity and elegance of the game and has been competing ever since. Nikolas recently gained his grandmaster title and is one of the top ranked Greek players. This year he won a silver medal in the Chess Olympiad and is a part of the SLU Chess team. Nikolas also enjoys playing speed chess online and reached #4 on the Chess.com World Blitz Rankings, scoring multiple victories against players such as Magnus Carlsen in one-minute chess and Hikaru Nakamura in three-minute chess.
Surya Ganguly achieved the IM title at age 16, and the GM title at age 19. Since then, Surya has become a six-time Indian chess champion. He has received numerous accolades for his achievements in chess, including the Arjuna Award for outstanding achievement in sports, the Shera Bengali award as a spokesperson for Bengal, and the Bangabhusan award which is the second-highest civilian award in West Bengal.
Christopher is a 15-year old Korean-American Grandmaster. He is the youngest ever to beat a FIDE-rated 2700+ "Super GM" and the youngest ever California State Champion. He recently qualified for the 2023 FIDE World Cup by finishing second at the 2022 American Continental Championship. In 2021, he placed 2nd to GM Praggnanandhaa in the finals of the Julius Baer Challengers Chess Tour, which featured many of the strongest juniors in the world. Christopher is also an award-winning composer of endgame studies and earned a bronze medal in the 2019 FIDE World Cup in Composing.
At age 23, Kantor has established himself as one of the youngest top players in Hungary. He recently represented his country as board 4 at the 2022 Chess Olympiad. Over the past year, he has come within 10 points of breaking the 2600 barrier, and will undoubtedly hope to progress towards this milestone here in Saint Louis.
Denis is a Bosnian grandmaster who currently lives in Sarajevo. Denis’s father taught him to play chess when he was 5 years old, and Denis played his first tournament four years later. In 2012, he became the European Rapid and Blitz champion in the U-16 category. From 2014 till 2018, he attended the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) where he received a full scholarship and earned a bachelor’s degree in finance. In the summer of 2017, he won 2 strong international tournaments in a row: the Bosna Open in June, followed by the Paracin Open in July. He has played in the last 4 Olympiads for his country, making his final GM norm at the Istanbul Olympiad in 2012 and playing on the first board in Batumi in 2018. He is currently a professional chess player and coach.
It would be the understatement of the century to say that Arman Mikaelyan has had a good summer. Over the past few months he has surged to gain over 50 rating points. The headline of this surge was his outstanding performance at the 2022 World Open, where he tied for first place. Along with this phenomenal result, Mikaelyan also won the 2022 Pacific Coast Open, 2022 Las Vegas Open, and a Grandmaster norm tournament. This marks his first appearance in Saint Louis.
Cristian is a four time Romanian Junior Championship winner. In April of 2015, Cristian won the World Youth Championship for 16 and under. In 2010 he received a full-ride scholarship to the University of Texas in Dallas and would go on to win the Millionaire Chess Open in the under 2550 rating group. Over the past few years, Cristian has worked to build an elite collegiate team as the head chess coach at the University of Mizzou. He is a regular at the Saint Louis Chess Club, and frequently commentates over top-level events.
Alex Lenderman is an American chess Grandmaster. He has been playing chess since 10 years old and playing professionally since 19. Lenderman's top achievements have been winning the U.S. Open 3 times(2011, 2017, 2021), 2015 World Open, and 2021 U.S. Open. In addition to playing chess, Lenderman was also the coach for the 2016 U.S. Olympiad team.
Akshat is a Chess Grandmaster from Saint Louis. Akshat started playing chess at the age of around 9 1/2 years. He was the 2015 US Junior Champion, a distinction achieved in his first appearance, and also the former National High School Champion and National Junior High K-9 Champion. Akshat is also the #1 ranked junior rapid chess player in the country since 2014 and is the former National High School Blitz Champion. More can be learned about him on his blog AkshatChandra.com, which chronicles his journey to a Grandmaster.