Tatev Abrahamyan started playing chess at 8 after her father took her to the Chess Olympiad games in 1996. There she met Grandmaster Judit Polgar, arguably the greatest female player of all time and the only woman in the tournament.
"I was in complete awe," Tatev said. "My first thought was, 'I want to be just like her.'" She was soon playing competitively among the top players her age in Europe.
Moving to the U.S. was a challenge for Tatev. "It was the biggest change in my life, and it happened in a very short period of time. Everything in my life changed in a matter of few months. I had to give up everything I knew and start a new life. Even though I have lived here for some time now, it was a very big adjustment, and I think a continuous one."
When she is not studying or playing chess, she likes to read, play tennis, travel, watch movies and hang out with friends.
Tatev is a formidable competitor. She has pushed her USCF rating to all-time high at 2475, and in September of last year earned her final International Master norm. She is awaiting final approval for the norm from FIDE. Tatev earned a fourth IM norm for good measure at the recent Reykjavik Open in Iceland.
She graduated in 2011 from California State University Long Beach, double majoring in psychology and political science.
With a second place finish in 2011 and a number strong showings over the past several years, Tatev has proven she has the ability to wrest the title from GM Irina Krsuh and IM Anna Zatonskih, who have had a stranglehold on the event since 2008.