Ruifeng began playing chess at 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, Li went on to earn his National Master title. He received his IM title in 2015, and recently earned his title as Grandmaster earlier this year.
Some of Ruifeng’s greatest chess accomplishments include several draws during major chess tournaments against world class players such as Fabiano Caruana, Gata Kamsky, Luke McShane, and Alexey Dreev. Ruifeng also won the 2016 North American Junior Chess Championship. He recently was able to participate in the 2017 Spring Classic tournament in Saint Louis. Ruifeng finished 4th place out of 6 in his group, but had notable draws against GM Sam Sevian.
At age 17, Jeffery Xiong already has had an impressive list of results: the 2010 Under-10 North America Continental Champion, a silver medalist in the 2010 Under-10 World Youth Chess Championships, 2013 MVP of the United States Chess League for his perfect record in regular season for the Dallas Destiny, 2015 Chicago Open Champion, and 6th place finish in the strongest U.S. Championship in history (2016), He was recently awarded the 2016 U.S. Outstanding Player Achievement Award by USCF. In 2016 Xiong won the U.S. Closed Junior Championship, and is currently the highest rated player under eighteen years of age in the U.S. and the second highest rated player under eighteen in the world. Xiong recently placed 11th in the 2017 U.S. Chess Championship.
Anton Smirnov achieved his International Master title at the 3rd quarter Presidential Board Meeting in August 2014. IM Smirnov is currently ranked 1st in Australia, 2nd in Asia, and 5th in the world in the under 16 age group. He was profiled on chessbase.com as a prodigy. When he was only 13 years old, he represented Australia in the 2014 Olympiad in Tromso and scored 7.5/9. In the 2016 Olympiad in Baku, he scored 8.5/10 and picked up two double GM norms.
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 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. He enters this tournament having recently dominated Group B of the Spring Classic tournament, held in Saint Louis in May 2017, with a score of 7.5/9. Awonder earned his final GM Norm this past May at the 2017 Chicago Open. Last week, Awonder won the 2017 U.S. Junior Chess Championships.
Sam Sevian is an American chess prodigy. He holds the record for the youngest ever United States Grandmaster at the age of 13 years, 10 months, and 27 days. He also holds the record for the youngest ever United States International Master at 12 years and 10 months; and the youngest National Master in USCF history at 9 years, 11 months, and 23 days. In 2012, he became World Champion in the U12 category. He achieved a 2500 FIDE rating during the Saint Louis GM Norm Invitational tournament with an impressive outcome of 7.5/9.
Sevian made his first appearance at the U.S. Chess Championships in Saint Louis, Missouri in 2013 as the youngest ever participant. There, Sevian placed in a shared 14th position out of 24 total players with a score of 4/9, beating out several grandmasters. He returned for another U.S. Chess Championships in 2015 and shared fifth place ahead of several well-known names in the chess world including Wesley So, a world top ten ranked player. His overall performance in the championship earned him a spot in the 2015 Chess World Cup.
IM Martirosyan is currently ranked 1st in Armenia, 3rd in the continent of Europe, and 14th in the world in the under 18 category. He achieved his title as International Master title at the 4th quarter Presidential Board Meeting 2015. In 2016, he won the U16 World Youth Championship.
Aryan is a Grandmaster from India. He will be playing in the U17 section. When Aryan was 5, he was hit by a car that left him with stitches and rendered him home bound. With all of his free time, he started playing chess. He then went on to win his first tournament, the Delhi U-7 Championship. He earned his first GM norm in 2015 and his final norm in 2016. He was granted the title in 2017.
John started playing chess at age 6 and competing in tournaments at age 8. In 2015, at 14-years-old, John broke an impressive record: youngest ever to reach a 2600 rating. He is currently the #3 rated chess player under the age of 16 in the United States. He recently competed in St. Louis at the 2017 Saint Louis Winter Invitational. This will be his first appearance at the U.S. Junior Championship tournament.
Praggnanandhaa is a International Master from India and will be competing in the U14 section. He is considered to be one of the biggest prodigies of this generation. He won the U-8 World Youth Championship in 2013 and the U-10 World Youth Championship in 2015. Praggnanandhaa made history by becoming the youngest ever IM in history at the age of 10 years, 10 months and 9 days old. His goal is to become the youngest GM in history.