Grandmaster Robert Hess is one of a handful of promising young stars on the U.S. chess scene. Hess was awarded the International Master title in 2007. He achieved his first norm for the Grandmaster title in Foxwoods 2008 and earned the final two in quick succession at the SPICE Spring Invitational and Foxwoods 2009.
Two years ago, Hess was awarded the Samford Chess Fellowship, and he is currently finishing up his sophomore at Yale University. Although handling a full course load at Yale, playing in top level tourneys across the country and studying for chess/classes can be time consuming, Hess has found time to also help spearhead the Sports Quotient, an exciting new sports website that offers intriguing stories and innovative coverage of the sports world.
Robert swept the 2009 High School Championship in Nashville, where he also led his high school, Stuyvesant, to a team victory. After being awarded a wild card berth to the 2009 U.S. Championship, Robert, originally seeded 17 out of 24 players, put on a remarkable performance to fall just short of the championship with a second-place finish. In 2011, he turned in an amazing performance to make it to the four-player knockout final, where he ran into a roadblock, ultimately securing a fourth-place finish.
Robert strives to play innovative and creative games, a trait that makes him a dangerous competitor. Like Bobby Fischer, Robert dislikes the prevalence of memorizing lines of theory too deeply. Rather, he strives to introduce theoretical novelties that bring his opponents out of book. He is a big proponent of Fischer Random chess (or Chess 960, a variation of chess that randomizes the back row with a few rules and guidelines. Under these rules, there are 960 different back-row configurations).
For the past 11 years, Hess has been under the tutelage of GM Miron Sher.
In his advice for developing chess students, Robert says to avoid using the computer too much, try to play up a section or two, and try doing other things besides chess as you develop.