Alex Onischuk

Lubbock, Texas
Chess Highlights: 
2006 U.S. Champion; 2009 World Team Championship: Silver (Individual Gold); 2012 Pan-American Team Championship: Gold; 2013 World Team Championship: Individual Silver

In 2012, Alexander Onischuk was named the head coach of Texas Tech University's nationally recognized chess program. This year, he led Tech to a birth in the Final Four of College Chess, the national collegiate championship. 

Onischuk has been invited to every FIDE World Cup Championship since 2005. He has won more than 20 major tournaments, including the 2000 Ukrainian Championship and the 2006 U.S. Championship. He became a grandmaster in 1994 at the age of 18 and relocated to the U.S. in 2001. When he won the 2006 U.S. Championship, he called it the happiest moment of his career to have his name on a trophy alongside players such as Fischer and Morphy.

Onischuk was key to America's bronze medal finishes in 2006 and 2008 Olympiads. He has an impressive international record: He placed second in the 2007 International Chess Festival in Biel and also won the super-strong Moscow Open in January 2009. He delivered a gold-medal performance on board two at the 2009 World Team Championship in Bursa, Turkey.

Alex thinks that what separates him from Grandmasters of a slightly lower stature is his superior understanding of the game, gained from working with elite players, including former World Champions Anatoly Karpov and Veselin Topalov.

For five years he played for the championship college team at the University of Maryland Baltimore Country (UMBC), leading the college to multiple national championships and graduating in the spring of '06 with a degree in linguistics. For the past 18 years, Onischuk has been on the top 100 players in the world. He has finished among the top three in the U.S. Championship seven times.