Hikaru Nakamura is a five-time U.S. Champion, current World No. 6, and reigning World Fischer Random Chess Champion. In addition to his notable tournament victories, including the 2011 Tata Steel Masters and the 2022 FIDE Grand Prix, Nakamura is also known for his blitz and rapid skills, having won five straight Chess.com Speed Chess Championships. With a huge online following, Nakamura has become one of the most popular chess streamers in the world, with over 1.6 million followers on both his Twitch & YouTube channels.
Fabiano Caruana is the current World No. 7 and last year’s winner of the 2022 American Cup. Along with achieving the third highest FIDE rating of all-time (2844), Caruana’s greatest accomplishments include his incredible 8.5/10 score in the 2014 Sinquefield Cup, as well as his win in the 2018 Candidates Tournament, which earned him the right to challenge World Champion Magnus Carlsen in the 2018 World Championship Match. Nowadays, Caruana currently hosts the C-Squared Podcast along with GM Cristian Chirila.
Wesley So is a three-time U.S. Champion and two-time Grand Chess Tour champion. In 2008, he became the then youngest player ever to cross a FIDE rating of 2600, and in 2019 he became the World Fischer Random Chess Champion. So’s tournament accomplishments include winning both individual and team gold in the 2016 Chess Olympiad, as well as winning the 2016 Sinquefield Cup, 2016 London Chess Classic, and the 2017 Tata Steel Masters.
Levon Aronian is an Armenian-American Grandmaster who switched federations to the United States in 2021. Last year’s runner-up, Aronian’s notable tournament achievements include winning the 2005 & 2017 FIDE World Cup, the 2006 & 2007 Chess960 Championship, the 2008 World Rapid Championship, and the 2009 World Blitz Championship. Originally from Yerevan, Aronian famously led Armenia to three gold medal finishes in the 2006, 2008, and 2012 Chess Olympiads.
Leinier Dominguez is a five-time Cuban champion and current American No 4. Having switched federations to the United States in 2018, he’s had a string of notable results, including a third place finish in last year’s American Cup, as well as second place finishes in the 2019 and 2022 U.S. Championships. Dominguez was also the winner of the 2021 Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX, and in 2008 he became the World Blitz Champion.
Sam Shankland is a former U.S. Champion (2018) and World Junior Champion (2010). Originally from Berkeley, California, Shankland is also a multiple-time U.S. Olympic team member, winning an individual gold medal in 2014 and a historic team gold in 2016. In 2021, Shankland reached the quarterfinals of the FIDE World Cup, qualifying him for the 2022 FIDE Grand Prix. Shankland has written three books thus far, Small Steps to Giant Improvement, Small Steps 2 Success, and the recent Grandmaster Training Camp 1 - Calculation!, published in February 2023.
Ray Robson is a former U.S. prodigy and one of the most recent members of the “2700” club, having crossed the barrier for the first time in November 2022. Last year’s fourth place finisher, Robson’s other career highlights include finishing second in the 2015 U.S. Championship, as well as second in the 2014 Millionaire Chess Open. Born in Guam, Robson lived in Florida for most of his childhood before attending Webster University in 2012 under a chess scholarship.
Sam Sevian is a former U.S. prodigy and previous U12 World Champion. He became a Grandmaster at the age of 13 years and 10 months, breaking the record for the youngest American player to earn the GM title. Sevian also broke records on his way to becoming the youngest Expert, National Master, and International Master in U.S. Chess history. In 2017, Sevian won the American Continental Chess Championship, the youngest ever to do so at the age of 16.
Irina Krush is an eight-time U.S. Women’s Champion and last year’s winner of the inaugural 2022 Women’s American Cup. Originally from Ukraine, Krush immigrated to the United States at the age of five in 1989, and has represented the U.S. Women’s National Team since 1998, winning team silver in the 2004 Chess Olympiad and team bronze in 2006. In 2013, Krush became the first and only American woman to earn the Grandmaster title.
Alice Lee is a three-time World Youth Champion and one of the top female juniors in the world. Despite being the youngest player in the field, Lee was the runner-up finisher in the 2022 Women’s American Cup, losing to top seed GM Irina Krush in the finals. In 2022 Lee was awarded the Samford Fellowship and played in her first U.S. Women’s Championship, finishing tied for 5th place. Recently Lee scored 7.5/9 in the 1000GM Norm Invitational in Saint Louis, earning her second IM norm.
Anna Zatonskih is a 4-time U.S. Women’s Champion and former Ukrainian Women’s Champion. She represented Ukraine in two Olympiads before switching to the United States in 2004, winning team silver for the U.S. in the 2004 Chess Olympiad, team bronze in 2006, and an individual gold medal for the first board in the 2008 Chess Olympiad. Zatonskih is currently married to Grandmaster Daniel Fridman.
Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova (aka “Begim”) is a Women’s Grandmaster and former Asian Girls Champion U20. Originally from Uzbekistan, Tokhirjonova currently attends the University of Missouri, where she plays for the chess team. In 2021 Begim finished second in the U.S. Women’s Championship, while in 2022 she placed fourth in the Women’s American Cup. Last year Begim also made her debut appearance as a member of the U.S. Women’s National team, which ended up finishing fourth in the 2022 Chess Olympiad.
Katerina Nemcova is a Czech-American Women’s Grandmaster and former European Youth Chess Champion. She is also a two-time Czech Women’s Champion, three-time Olympiad teammate, and an individual gold medalist in the 2007 European Women's Team Championship. After switching to the U.S. federation in 2013, Nemcova graduated from Webster University in 2016, and is currently working on a PhD from the University of Arizona.
Nazi Paikidze is a two-time U.S. Women’s Champion, four-time European Youth Champion, and two-time World Youth Champion (Girls U14 & U16) originally from Tbilisi, Georgia. In 2006, Paikidze moved to Moscow where she earned a number of excellent results, including winning the Moscow Women’s Open, Moscow Women’s Championship, and Russian Women’s Higher League all in 2010. Paikidze then moved to the U.S. in 2012, attending the University of Maryland Baltimore County and representing their chess team in the Pan-Am Intercollegiate Championships.
Atousa Pourkashiyan is an Iranian-American Women’s Grandmaster and former Girls Under 12 World Youth Champion. She is also a four-time Asian Youth Champion and seven-time Iranian Champion. Her other achievements include winning the 2010 Asian Women’s Championship as well as representing Iran in nine Women’s Chess Olympiads from 2000-2016.
Tatev Abrahamyan is an Armenian-American Women’s Grandmaster and longtime member of the U.S. Women’s National Team. In 2006, she won the Girls Under 18 section of the Pan American Youth Chess Festival with a perfect 9/9 score. Tatev has come close to winning the U.S. Women’s Championship multiple times, including second place finishes in 2004, 2010, and 2011.