Originally from Latvia, Veronika moved with her family to Oklahoma in 2013. She was the first girl to win the Oklahoma State HS Championship. Zilajeva won the National Girls Tournament of Champions in 2018. She is also a skilled basketball player, playing for her team throughout high school. Veronika is currently living in LA, where she just completed her first year as a civil engineering major at the University of Southern California.
Rachael Li comes from a chess-playing family; she has played chess competitively starting from age 4 - even younger than her brother GM Ruifeng Li. She played her first World Open at 4-and-a-half. Rachael is the #1 female player in her age group in the United States, broke the record for the youngest female U.S. Chess Expert last year, and she is determined to achieve great success in chess.
Yan hails from Mountain View, CA. She earned her National Master certificate just this year and is currently the #1 ranked 12-year-old girl in the country. She won the Girls 10-13 division of the ChessKid Online National Invitational Championship this past February with an undefeated four out of five score.
Agata is a junior at MIT majoring in Chemistry and Biology. She enjoys spending time in the lab and has published several research papers. Agata has taken a break from chess, but decided to come out of retirement to play her last U.S. Girls Junior. Agata’s chess accomplishments include: participation in the 2016 U. S. Women's Championship in Saint Louis, a Bronze medal at the 2015 World Youth Championship in Greece, the Gold medal at the 2017 North American Junior in Canada and the Gold medal at the 2014 Panamerican Youth Festival in Mexico.
Martha Samadashvili lives in Albany, New York. She attends Emma Willard School and will soon begin her sophomore year in high school. Martha started to play chess when she was seven years old, when her grandmother taught her how to play. She became Pan American Champion for under-10 girls, and North American Champion U10 and U12 girls, where she earned the title of Woman FIDE Master. Martha is currently the New York State Girls Champion, a tournament she won two years in a row. Besides chess, Martha loves to read books, and her favorite subjects in school are history and English.
Thalia Cervantes Landeiro is a 16-year-old United States player born in Cuba. She is a Women’s International Master, a National Master, and one of the top female junior players in the country. Her most recent achievements include first place in the Pan American Girls under-20 2018 and tie for 4th place in the World Youth Chess Championship 2018. This is her third time playing this tournament.
Rochelle started playing chess at the age of six. She won the gold medal in the 2016 World Cadet Chess Championship under-10 girls section. In 2017, Rochelle took first place in the National Girls Tournament of Champions. At the age of 11, she earned her National Master title. Rochelle earned the WIM title and a WGM norm by winning the 2018 North American Junior Girls Championship. In 2019, Rochelle broke the record for the youngest ever player to represent the U.S. in an Olympiad or World Team and celebrated her 13th birthday at the World Team Championship in Kazakhstan. With her success as a young player, she has been invited to participate in the Young Stars program, a chess training program coached by Garry Kasparov and sponsored by the Saint Louis Chess Club.
Emily started playing chess competitively at a young age. She notably won the U.S. Junior Under 8 Championship (Open section) in 2010, the 2012 Pan-American Youth Championships (U10 Girls), and the 2016 North American U20 Girls Championship. She also won the Junior Girls Championship in 2016, and has competed in two U.S. Women’s Championships. Outside of chess, Emily enjoys swimming and playing the piano, and resides in Austin, Texas.