A woman of many talents, FM Alisa Melekhina is a ballerina, an alumnus of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, a budding entrepreneur -- and one of the strongest female chess players in the United States. Emigrating from Crimea, Ukraine, Melekina's family spent her early childhood growing accustomed to their new life in the United States. It was during this time that Alisa's father first taught her chess and, by the time she was seven, Melekhina was already participating in her first tournaments. In less than three years, she was succeeding in prestigious international tournaments, including top-10 finishes in World Youth and Junior Chess Championships.
Since then, Alisa has been a regular competitor in national and international events, placing third in the World Open U2400 Section and being crowned the first female Pennsylvania State Champion. The 2015 U.S Women’s Champion will mark the sixth time she has competed for the title.
Alisa achieved her FIDE Master rating in 2011, the same year she began attending the University of Pennsylvania Law School. While it only took her two years to graduate, Alisa admits that the law school workload paid its toll on her chess studies. While she continues to stay busy with her own entrepreneurial endeavors and a full-time position at a New York law firm, Alisa has recommitted herself to chess. Now, Alisa strives toward her ultimate goal of achieving Grandmaster status, and this year's U.S. Women's Championship should prove to be a great next step.