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.
Alexander Ipatov was the 2012 World Junior Chess Champion and a two-time Turkish Chess Champion. In 2015, he won Turkey’s national championship with an impressive score of 12.5 out of 13. GM Ipatov represented Turkey at three Chess Olympiads in 2012, 2014, 2016; two European Team Championships in 2013 and 2015; and the World Team Championship in 2013. At the Baku World Chess Olympiad in September 2016, Alexander Ipatov aided the Turkish team to finish in 6th place, an all-time team record, by conquering Georgian Grandmaster Mikhail Mchedlishvili in the very last round after a tied score of 1.5 for each player. With this victory, Ipatov helped Turkey to qualify for the 2017 World Team Chess Championship. He typically favors the Nimzo opening when playing for white, and Sicilian opening when playing for black.
Lazaro Bruzon Batista is a Cuban grandmaster, a title that he earned in 1999. As a youth, he proved his ability to defeat tough competition after winning several national tournaments and championships: the World Junior Chess Championship in 2000 (qualifying him for the FIDE World Chess Championship 2002); the Lausanne Young Masters, a knockout event, in 2001; the 37th Capablanca Memorial (Elite group); tied for first in the 2002 North Sea Cup; the Corus B tournament in 2004; the 12th Guillermo Garcia Memorial in Villa Clara; the Cuban Chess Championship in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010; the American Continental Championship in 2005 and 2013; the 2010 Magistral Casino de Barcelona round-robin tournament; tied for first with Kamil Mitoń, Bojan Kurajica, Yuri Gonzalez Vidal, Evgeny Gleizerov and Bartłomiej Heberla in the 4th Torneo Internacional de Ajedrez Ciudad de La Laguna, placing second on countback in 2010; placed equal first in the 2013 World Open; the 8th Edmonton International Tournament in 2013; the Carlos Torre Repetto Memorial Cup in 2013, 2014 and 2015; the 5th Latin American Cup in 2014; and the Iberoamerican Chess Championship in 2006 and 2015. He has made appearances at the Chess World Cup in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015; however, he has faced elimination early on at each event.
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.
Sandro Mareco competed in the FIDE World Cup in 2011, 2013 and 2015 and has played for Argentina in the Chess Olympiad since 2012. Other accomplishments include the South American Under-20 Championship in 2007 and tying for first place in the Argentine Chess Championship in 2012. Mareco won the 10th American Continental Championship in Montevideo, Uruguay and the Argentine championship in 2015. Most recently, he won the Marcel Duchamp Cup in Montevideo with a perfect score of 9/9 points.
Varuzhan Akobian immigrated to the U.S. in 2001 and a year later earned the Samford Chess Fellowship, which allows a talented junior to focus on chess for two years. The prize paid off quickly, as he tied for first in the 2002 World Open and also won the Irme Koenig GM Invitational. The following year, Akobian scored 8/9 to win the 2003 U.S. Junior Closed Championship, winning his first seven games. He was officially awarded the grandmaster title in June 2004, after which he won the World Open again, clinching it with a sparkling win against Alexander Shabalov. Akobian placed in a three-way tie for 3rd at the 2017 U.S. Chess Championship. He has joined the Resident GM rotation at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis and has also become a team member of the Saint Louis Arch Bishops where he contributed to the team’s current title of World Champions of the 2017 PRO Chess League.
Yuniesky Quezada Pérez is a Cuban chess grandmaster, obtaining the title in 2005. He was the fourth Cuban chess player to surpass the 2600 mark Elo rating on the July 2010 FIDE list. He won the Cuban Chess Championship in both 2008 and 2011. He has a strong game with the Sicilian opening, utilizing this strategy nearly 30 percent of the time.
The Ukrainian-born American Grandmaster earned his title at the age of 15. Zherebukh states, “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.” In May 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 this year’s U.S. Championship. Zherebukh has made his mark on the Saint Louis Campus when he became a team member of the Saint Louis Arch Bishops, where he contributed to the team’s current title of World Champions of the 2017 PRO Chess League. He recently placed 6th in the 2017 U.S. Chess Championship.
GM Baryshpolets obtained his title as Grandmaster in 2013. He attended Texas Tech University and represented the university at the Pan-American Intercollegiate Championship in 2015 and won. He was also the Ukrainian champion under 18 in 2008, A. Margaryan Memorial 2013, Delhi Open 2015, prize-winner of Benasque 2016, and winner of Golden State Open 2017. Typically he has utilized the Catalan opening when playing white, but also implements the King’s Indian for both white and black pieces.
In 2000 at the 34th Chess Olympiad in Istanbul Turkey, GM Kacheishvili’s Georgian Olympiad Team (including Zurab Azmaiparashvili, Giorgi Giorgadze, Zurab Sturua, Tamaz Gelashvili, and Baadar Jobava) placed 6th out of a total of 126 teams representing 124 nations in the Open section of the event, a truly remarkable outcome for the team. GM Kacheishvili represented New York in The United States Chess League in its fifth season in 2009. The Championship Match was contested by New York and Miami, with New York ultimately winning in the blitz tiebreaker. Game of the Year honors went to Kacheishvili for his win over GM Josh Friedel of San Francisco. In 2012, he tied for 2nd-8th place in the 40th Annual World Open held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that year with Alexander Evdokimov, Marc Tyler Arnold, Yury Shulman, Ray Robson, Wesley So, and Aleksander Lenderman.