2016 Saint Louis Invitational - GM Norm Field
Ruifeng Li has risen to 4th in the world under 16 rankings after he tied for first place in the Philadelphia Open held in March of 2016. He started exploring chess when he was 5 in Michigan, won a silver medal for the US Chess team in the World Youth Chess Championship under-10 section in 2011 and was three-time Arkansas State Champion. He earned his FM title in 2014 and IM title in 2015.
Colloquially known as the "40 year old GM", Finegold started playing chess as a child and has played in nine US Chess Championships to date. One of the biggest personalities in chess, Finegold has been undefeated in tournament play for over a year. A popular GM in residence at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, Finegold's enthusiastic and humorous lectures are made even better by his plethora of chess stories and knowledge.
Akshat Chandra is a 16 year old, International Master from New Jersey. He started playing chess in 2009 at the age of about 9 1/2 years. In January 2010, he received a starting rating of 1548 FIDE. In May 2015, just 6 1/2 years after beginning to play, Akshat crossed the GM rating of 2500 FIDE. His accelerated progress from such a late start is the largest and quickest rating increase in the world, all achieved on the traditional lower K-factor multiple.
Akshat is the defending U.S. Junior Closed Champion. He is also the 2015 National High School Champion, the top scholastic title, which complements his 2013 Junior High K-9 Super National title.
Denes is a chess Grandmaster from Hungary, currently living and coaching in St. Louis. At 14, he placed third in the Under 20 Hungarian Championship and has been a Grandmaster since 2009. He holds a BA in Psychology, studying at Webster University, and he looks to teach and instruct future chess players in applying psychology in their games. In today's computer-based chess world, much hinges on small psychological nuances. He believes that the very best youth players are also the most mentally tough and fit.
Awonder was born on April 9, 2003 in Madison, Wisconsin. He has been playing chess since he was five years old. Awonder has won two world titles for age at the World Youth Chess Championships (WYCC, U8 Open in 2011, Brazil and U10 Open in 2013, United Arab Emirates). He is the youngest IM in the US history and currently the youngest IM in the world.
Irene started playing chess at the age of 7 and became the first Women's Grandmaster in Indonesia at 16. In 2012 and 2014 she won the Asian Continental Championship where she earned here first GM norm. Currently she is studying International Relations in the graduate program at Webster University, and is a proud member of the National Collegiate Champion, SPICE chess team.
IM Eric Rosen is originally from Skokie, IL, and now lives in St. Louis, MO. Eric is a full-time student at Webster University and studies Interactive Digital Media. He is a member of the Webster SPICE team and an active chess coach for students across the country.