2015 U.S. Women's Championship

Jennifer Yu

WFM Jennifer Yu
Title: 
Women's FIDE Master
Rating: 
2227
Residence: 
Ashburn, VA
Age: 
13
Status: 
Accepted
Bio: 

WFM Jennifer Yu is well on her way to chess stardom after her recent gold medal at the 2014 World Youth Chess Championship in South Africa -- the only U.S. gold in the event and the first world title for an American girl since 1987.

Yu was born in Ithaca, New York and started playing chess in first grade, attending an after-school chess class. After the school finished its chess sessions, Yu wanted to continue her interest and asked her parents to find a coach. This simple request launched Yu’s chess career. They took her to group chess lessons and tournaments for kids, but didn’t realize how talented she was until that coach informed them.

Today, the 13-year-old lives in Ashburn, Virginia and is a pretty typical eighth-grader, aside from her immense chess talent.  Her well-rounded interests include playing the flute and piano, listening to music, drawing, and playing sports. Though she practices chess at least one hour per day and Skypes with Grandmaster Larry Christiansen for lessons, she ultimately becomes a better player through competition in tournaments where she can think through difficult challenges as she encounters them.

Yu holds a FIDE rating of 2166 and has participated in three World Youth Chess Championships, including last year’s gold medal event. At 10, she came in 11th place at the 2012 World Youth Championship in Slovenia, and in 2013 she placed fourth in the United Arab Emirates.


Nazi Paikidze

IM Nazi Paikidze
Title: 
International Master
Rating: 
2342
Residence: 
Baltimore, MD
Age: 
21
Status: 
Accepted
Bio: 

Her first time competing in the event, as one of the U.S. Chess Federation’s most-recent transfer, IM Nazi Paikidze is bound to make her presence known in the 2015 U.S. Women’s Championship by arriving with a resume full of international success.

Even at an early age, it was clear Paikidze would soon become a powerhouse player. Raised in Tbilisi, Georgia, Paikidze quickly collected prolific wins at the highest levels of international youth chess play. By the time she was 16, Paikidze had won four European Youth Chess Championships and medaled in the World Youth Chess Championship an astounding six times, including two gold-medal finishes.

In 2006, Paikidze moved with her family to Moscow, Russia, which allowed her to participate in Russian tournaments. While she continued to represent Georgia in international events, she seized the initiative to combat some of Russia’s best, winning both the Moscow Women’s Championship and the Moscow’s Open Women Tournament, and finishing fourth in the Russian Women’s Chess Championship. With continuous strong play, Nazi achieved her Women’s Grandmaster title in 2010 and her International Master in 2012.

Nazi transferred to the USCF last November after recently moving to the U.S., where she now currently studies Information Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She is a major asset to the traditionally powerhouse UMBC chess program, one of the Final Four schools of collegiate chess to compete in the 2015 President’s Cup.

Rusudan Goletiani

women's grandmaster rusudan goletiani
Title: 
Women's Grandmaster
Rating: 
2312
Residence: 
Hartsdale, NY
Age: 
34
Status: 
Accepted
Bio: 

A veteran to the Women’s U.S. Championship, WGM Rusudan Goletiani was the 2005 U.S. Women’s Champion -- and the last to hold the throne since Irina Krush and Anna Zatonskih began trading the title. Goletiani has continued to be a force with each appearance in the event, finishing third as recently as 2012.

As a U.S player in the 2008 Olympiad, Goletiani helped steer the U.S. team towards a bronze medal finish -- though she doesn’t dwell heavily on the past. When asked about important highlights in her chess career, Goletiani said that she appreciates each victory she achieves:  "Every accomplishment means a lot," she said.

Hailing from the country of Georgia, Goletiani made an impact on the chess community as a young girl, winning the World Championship for Girls in each U14, U16 and U18 categories. She moved to the U.S. in 2000, and since 2004 has been competing for the USCF. Though she has achieved a great deal, Goletiani won’t rest until she achieves her ultimate chess goal: Becoming a Grandmaster.

Outside of chess, Goletiani enjoys ping pong, reading and cooking. She is married with two children, but says she doesn't have much difficulty fitting the rigors of chess into her daily life.

"I wish I had more time for everything, but somehow I manage it all," she says. Goletiani considers the great Russian Grandmaster Alexander Alekhine her biggest chess influence, though she adds that outside of chess she admires “every person that works hard to achieve his or her goal."


U.S. Championships - A Look Back

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is honored to have hosted the U.S. Championship, U.S. Women's Championship and U.S. Junior Championship since 2009. This "Triple Crown" of chess represents America's most elite events, and the nation's strongest competitors battle each year for the coveted title of U.S. Champion, U.S. Women's Champion and U.S. Junior Champion. The club has crowned many champions over the last seven years, including:

Sabina Foisor

women's grandmaster sabina foiser
Title: 
Women's Grandmaster
Rating: 
2371
Residence: 
Lubbock, TX
Age: 
25
Status: 
Accepted
Bio: 

With WGM Cristina Adela Foisor and IM Ovidiu-Doru Foisor for parents, the expectations were sure to be high for Sabina Foisor’s chess career -- and she just might have already exceeded them. Sabina was already participating in chess tournaments by the age of four and, by the time she was eighteen, she had already been crowned a Romanian and European Junior Chess Champion, scored fifth place in the 2007 European Women’s Chess Championship, qualified for the 2008 World Women’s Chess Championship, and had achieved her WGM title.

Foisor credits much of her early success to the intense mentorship she received from her parents as a child—each day devoting five-to-seven hours studying and playing chess. While her parents have been her biggest chess influence, she says her favorite players are Gary Kasparov and the late Bobby Fischer. Like many U.S Championship players, she has traveled the globe playing chess tournaments, and she has participated in each of the past six U.S. Women's Championships (2009-2014). With each passing tournament, Sabina continues to strive towards her goal: To become one of the top-20 female players in the world.

When not playing or training for chess, Foisor likes to travel, read books, watch movies and hang out with friends. "Of course I can manage to balance chess with other things," she says. She has many heroes outside of chess, including her family, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton and Sigmund Freud. After listing those three, she added, "I will stop here because the list would be too large."

Anna Sharevich

women's grandmaster anna sharevich
Title: 
Women's Grandmaster
Rating: 
2388
Residence: 
St. Louis, MO
Age: 
29
Status: 
Accepted
Bio: 

After her recent transfer to the U.S. Chess Federation, the 2015 U.S. Women's Championship will be Anna Sharevich's first time competing for the national title—though none of her competitors will see it as any reason to underestimate her.

A native of Brest, Belarus and a prolific champion of the Ladies’ Belarusian Chess Championship (2002, 2005, 2007, 2011), Sharevich has long-established herself as a fierce competitor on elite levels of chess competition. Receiving her WGM title in 2006 at 21 years old, Sharevich has continued to improve her play after immigrating to the U.S. and grown accustomed to living far from home.

Now living in Saint Louis, MO, Sharevich has played for both the Lindenwood and Webster University Chess teams, and recently put together an impressive showing in December’s 2014 Pan American Intercollegiate Championship. This past year also saw Anna selected for her first Chess Olympiad -- for team U.S.A. -- already boasting a great deal of experience in Olympiad play, having contributed to the Belarusian team in 2002, 2005, 2007 and 2011. Sharevich also was a member of the Saint Louis Arch Bishops, the 2014 champions of the U.S. Chess League. 

Tatev Abrahamyan

women's grandmaster tatev abrahamyan
Title: 
Women's Grandmaster
Rating: 
2459
Residence: 
Glendale, CA
Age: 
27
Status: 
Accepted
Bio: 

Tatev Abrahamyan started playing chess at eight after her father took her to the 1996 Chess Olympiad in Yerevan, Armenia. 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.'" After, Tatev was soon playing competitively among the top players her age in Europe.

Moving to the U.S. when she was thirteen 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." 

But what hasn’t changed is Tatev’s prowess at chess and her drive to improve. Currently the third highest rated female in the U.S., she has represented the United States in four Olympiads and two World Team Championships since 2008.

Tatev lives in Los Angeles, having graduated in 2011 from California State University Long Beach, where she double majored in psychology and political science. When she is not studying or playing chess, she likes to read, play tennis, travel, watch movies, and hang out with friends.

With a number of strong showings over the past several years, including a runner-up finish in last year's U.S. Women’s Championship, Abrahamyan has proven to be a capable third party against the stranglehold that GM Irina Krush and IM Anna Zatonskih have held on the event since 2006.

Irina Krush

grandmaster irina krush
Title: 
Grandmaster
Rating: 
2516
Residence: 
Brooklyn, NY
Age: 
31
Status: 
Accepted
Bio: 

If Irina Krush can once again achieve victory at this year’s U.S. Women’s Championship, her recent domination of the tournament will seem less like a win streak and more like a chess dynasty. Winner of six U.S. Women Championships, including the past three, Krush has entrenched herself as the figurehead to elite American women’s chess play. But this doesn’t mean she’s resting on her haunches: America's only active female GM says she doesn't spend much time contemplating her current chess success or failures -- "I'm more attached to my future accomplishments."

Born in Odessa, USSR (now Ukraine) in 1983, Irina learned to play chess at age five, emigrating with her parents to Brooklyn that same year. Krush attended Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn, where she participated in one of the top high-school chess teams in the country. It has been a rapid climb for Irina since then, including exceptional showings in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Chess Olympiads, as well as a gold-medal performance in the 2013 Women’s World Team Championship -- a result Krush called the best of her career. 2013 clearly was a great year for Irina, as she also achieved her long-sought Grandmaster title.

In addition to her chess studies, the 2008 Samford Chess Fellowship recipient enjoys tennis, reading, writing, yoga and music. Krush has a degree in international relations from NYU, though she is currently concentrating on chess. She said she enjoys the challenge of playing other Grandmasters most: "When you beat a strong GM, that's when you feel like you can play chess."

Raise That Flag: 2015 U.S. Championships to Showcase Rising World Strength

2015 U.S. Chess Championships

Grandmasters Gata Kamsky and Irina Krush will defend their titles as U.S. Champions this April at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

Overview

2015 U.S. Women's Championship LogoThe 2015 U.S. Women's Championship is an elite national championship event, featuring 12 of the strongest female chess players in America. Over the course of eleven rounds, these competitors will battle for $75,000 in prize money, qualification into the Women's World Championship cycle, and the coveted title of 2015 U.S. Women's Champion.

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