2017 Fall Chess Classic

Antonis Pavlidis

Title: 
Grandmaster
Rating: 
2536
Residence: 
Greece
Age: 
24
Status: 
Accepted
Bio: 

Antonios Pavlidis was born in Kavala, Greece. He started playing chess at the age of 8 in the local Chess Club of Kavala, where he is still a member. His greatest achievement is winning Greek Men’s Championship three times in 2011,2012 and 2017 and the Greek Youth Championship four times. He has also won two very strong open tournaments in Belgrad (Belgrad Trophy) 2015 and Kavala (Kavala Chess Open) the same year. He has also shared 2nd place in the European Youth Chess Championships twice, in 2007 and 2008, and in the same section in 2009 he finished 12th . In the Team Section, Greece has won the Greek Team Championship four times and Antonios is a member of the Greek National Team. He has also graduated from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, where he studied for 5 years in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Alejandro Ramirez

Title: 
Grandmaster
Rating: 
2563
Residence: 
Saint Louis, MO, U.S.
Age: 
29
Status: 
Accepted
Bio: 

Alejandro Ramirez has become a frequent face the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis as he transplanted from Texas and now lives and works in Saint Louis. Ramirez was inspired by the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer when he was four years old. He became FIDE Master at the age of 9, an International Master at 13, and earned his Grandmaster title by the age of 15. That achievement set Ramirez as the first Centro-American to earn the elite title and, at the time, the second youngest grandmaster. A competitor in three U.S. Championships, Ramirez displayed some of his finest chess in May 2013, when he pushed reigning champion Gata Kamsky to a playoff for the national title. He drew the first two playoff games with Kamsky before losing an Armageddon game where he had 19 minutes and 45 seconds against Kamsky's 45 minutes. Ramirez studied video game design at the University of Texas at Dallas, earning a master’s degree in Arts & Technology, and he now currently serves as an editor for the popular chess news website ChessBase. Ramirez expertise has made him the natural selection for the new Saint Louis University chess team head coach position. The team made it to the final four of the Pan-American games in its first year. Along with coaching chess, Ramirez is a regular broadcast commentator in both English and Spanish for the Chess Club and Scholastic Center.

Tatev Abrahamyan

Title: 
Women's Grandmaster
Rating: 
2333
Residence: 
Glendale, CA, U.S.
Age: 
29
Status: 
Accepted
Bio: 

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 woman player of all time and the only woman in the tournament. Tatev is a formidable competitor. At the 2010 U.S. Women's Championship, she played her heart out to a fantastic 7/9 score, which would usually be enough to net first place, but actually put her in a tie for second place, half a point behind Irina Krush. Tatev's strong play and fighting qualities in 2010 earned her the 9 Queens/goddess chess fighting spirit award, which was selected by former Women's World Champion, Alexandra Kosteniuk. At the 2011 U.S. Women's Championship, Tatev turned in a remarkable performance, falling just short to Anna Zatonskih in the playoff finals to finish in second place. That same year, Abrahamyan graduated from California State University Long Beach with a double-major in psychology and political science. Tatev is still a strong competitor at the U.S. Women’s Championships and is often a crowd favorite. She is also a regular journalist for Grand Chess Tour tournaments and teaches chess in California.

Akshat Chandra

Title: 
Grandmaster
Rating: 
2480
Residence: 
Saint Louis, MO, U.S.
Age: 
18
Status: 
Accepted
Bio: 

Akshat started playing chess at the age of approximately 9 1/2 years old. He has recorded one of the fastest rises in the history of world chess when his chess rating climbed steeply from 1548 to a GM rating of 2500 in under 5 ½ years. Notable achievements for Akshat include winning the 2015 U.S. Junior Chess Championship in his first appearance and taking first in both the 2015 National High School Chess Championship as well as the National High School Blitz Championship. Since 2014, at age 14, Akshat has been the #1 ranked Junior Rapid Chess player in the country.

Ruifeng Li

Title: 
Grandmaster
Rating: 
2540
Residence: 
Plano, TX, U.S.
Age: 
15
Status: 
Accepted
Bio: 

Ruifeng began playing chess when he was 5 years old. He won the Arkansas State Championship in 2011 at the age of 8, and later that same year placed second in the World Youth Chess Championships U-10 section. In 2012, after this early success, he was invited to participate in the Young Stars program, a chess training program coached by Garry Kasparov. Soon after, Ruifeng went on to earn the NM title. He received his IM title in 2015, and recently gained his Grandmaster title earlier this year. 2016 was one of the best years in his chess career. In it, he won the 2016 North American Junior Championship, National Open, and Philadelphia Open, also tied for first at  26th Annual North American Open. In early 2017, Ruifeng participated in both the Winter and Spring Classics respectively. This will be his third time taking part in a Saint Louis Quarterly tournament.

Yaroslav Zherebukh

Title: 
Grandmaster
Rating: 
2627
Residence: 
Saint Louis, MO, U.S.
Age: 
23
Status: 
Accepted
Bio: 

The Ukrainian born American Grandmaster earned his title at the age of 15. “My biggest success so far was the advancement to the 4th round (1/8 of the final) at the World Cup 2011 in Russia. I won or shared 1st place in numerous US and European tournaments, the most memorable being Cappelle la Grande in France, 2010 (650+ players, over 80 GMs) and US Masters 2015 in Greensboro,NC.”  The young GM has been mostly focused on pursuing academic degrees in the past 4 years, but now has the time to devote to “rediscovering a passion for working on and playing chess again.” In May of 2015  Zherebukh switched his affiliation from the Ukrainian Chess Federation to the U.S. Federation, which made him eligible to be the unpredictable wildcard in the 2017 U.S. Championship.

Ju Wenjun

Title: 
Women's Grandmaster
Rating: 
2578
Residence: 
China
Age: 
26
Status: 
Accepted
Bio: 

Ju Wenjun has many chess highlights including winning 2017 Gibraltar Open Best Female. She also received the 2016 Baku Olympiad Women Gold. Ju Wenjun accomplishments also include being the winner of 15-16 FIDE Women Grand Prix, 2009 and 2011 World Women Team champion, and 2010 and 2014 Chinese Individual Women Champion.

Daniel Nadoritsky

Title: 
Grandmaster
Rating: 
2644
Residence: 
San Francisco, CA, U.S.
Age: 
21
Status: 
Accepted
Bio: 

Daniel Naroditsky is a 21-year-old Grandmaster born and living in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. He is currently a rising junior at Stanford University. His first major achievement was the Gold Medal at the World Youth under-12 Chess Championship in 2007. He attained the IM title in 2011 and the GM title in 2013. Among his tournament highlights are 4th-5th place at the 2014 U.S. Championship, and 2nd place at the Porticcio Open in Corsica in 2016.

Awonder Liang

Title: 
International Master
Rating: 
2540
Residence: 
Madison, WI, U.S.
Age: 
14
Status: 
Accepted
Bio: 

Awonder Liang is one of the most impressive chess prodigies in recent history. He holds a number of records including youngest ever to defeat an International Master, youngest to defeat a Grandmaster, youngest American to achieve a master rating, and youngest American to achieve the International Master rating. Other achievements include winning the U8 Open world title (2011), U10 Open world title (2013), tying for first at the 2011 U-8 World Youth Chess Championship, achieving a GM Norm at the 2016 Continental Championships, and placing second in the 2016 U.S. Junior Closed Championship. Awonder dominated in Group B of the Spring Classic tournament, held in Saint Louis in May 2017, with a score of 7.5/9, where he earned another GM Norm at that event. Shortly after, Awonder won the U.S. Junior Chess Championships in July at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center.

Dariusz Swiercz

Title: 
Grandmaster
Rating: 
2638
Residence: 
Saint Louis, MO, U.S.
Age: 
23
Status: 
Accepted
Bio: 

Dariusz Świercz began learning the game of chess at the age of three. By the time he was 11 years old, he had already become a FIDE Master. He rapidly succeeded in obtaining his International Master title in 2008 by the age of 13, and then went on to became one of the youngest grandmasters in history and the youngest Polish grandmaster of all time when he was only 14 years old in 2009. Świercz won the 2011 World Junior Chess Championship at the age of 17 and is currently the only Polish male chess player to accomplish this title. The following year he also won the Under-18 World Championship. He favors the Sicilian opening for both white and black pieces, as well as the Ruy Lopez for white.

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