GM Stukopin performed the Norm of the master in 2006 and obtained the title of FIDE Master later that same year. In 2009, his title increased to that of International Master. He then went on to participate in his first GM norm in 2012 at the Aeroflot Open tournament, and later attained his title as grandmaster in 2014. Stukopin studies at the University of Texas at Brownsville. Over the years he has had significant involvement in chess clubs in Russia and the United States. He is an active member of the US Chess League for the club Rio Grande Ospreys. Stukopin also represented his Russian club team Quiet FLows the Don in the Russian championship.
He typically favors playing the Sicilian opening for both white and black pieces, utilizing this method about a third of the time.
When he was only 18 years old, GM Vladimir Belous, an untitled player at the time, took home first place at the Moscow Open in February 2011. During the same year, Belous obtained his International Master title, and went on to earn his Grandmaster title in 2013. When he plays as white, he will typically choose the English opening, and Sicilian for Black; however, he has also played the King’s Indian opening for both white and black on several occasions.
Born in Leningrad, Aleksandr Lenderman arrived with his family in Brooklyn when he was four. Lenderman was part of the "dream team" at his high school, winning four straight national titles along with now International Master Salvijus Bercys. He played an important role in the book The Kings of New York. Lenderman achieved first place in the 2008 USCF Grand Prix, scoring higher than all the grandmasters he competed against by playing and championing in smaller events, including WCL tournaments. He finished first in the 2009 Atlantic Open, won the 2009 USCF Grand Prix, and was a co-champion of the 2009 U.S. Open. Lenderman earned three Grandmaster norms in quick succession in the summer of 2009 and formally obtained the title of grandmaster in 2010.
Lenderman played for USA team in the 2015 World Team Chess Championship in Tsaghkadzor and scored 5/7, ultimately bringing home the gold. He won the 2015 World Open after conquering Rauf Mamedov in an armageddon playoff.
Tamaz Gelashvili is a chess grandmaster from Georgia, earning the title in 1999 at the age of 21. His highest FIDE rating has been 2623, achieved in October 2007. He is currently ranked fourth in Georgia, and he has represented his country at several Olympiads over the years . In 2001 he tied for 1st with Yannick Pelletier, Mark Hebden and Vladimir Tukmakov in the 9th Neuchâtel Open and in 2006 won the Acropolis International tournament in Athens. In 2008 he tied for 2nd with Giorgi Bagaturov in the Gyumri International tournament and tied for 1st with Nigel Short, Vadim Milov, Aleksej Aleksandrov, Baadur Jobava, Alexander Lastin, Gadir Guseinov and Farid Abbasov in the President's Cup in Baku. In 2011 he won the 5th Annual Philadelphia Open.
He is noted for playing some unusual opening variations, such as 2.b3 in response to the Sicilian, French and Caro–Kann Defense. He also utilizes the Queen’s Pawn Game opening for both white and black pieces the majority of the time.
Alexandr Hilário Takeda Sakai dos Santos Fier is a Brazilian chess grandmaster, having attained the title in 2007. Fier won five gold medals at the Pan American Youth Chess Festival: in the under-10 division in 1996 and 1997, U12 in 2000, U14 in 2002 and U18 in 2005. He also won the South American Junior Championship in 2006, 2008 and 2009. Fier won the Brazilian Chess Championship in 2005, and won the 65 Anos da Federação tournament in São Paulo in 2006.
Fier won the Open of Sants, Hostafrancs & La Bordeta in Barcelona in 2009 and 2014. GM Fier briefly appeared in the Chess World Cup 2011, but faced elimination in the second round after defeat by his opponent Alexander Morozevich. Two months later, Fier won the 2nd Latin American Cup in Montevideo edging out Diego Flores in a tiebreaker. He competed in the 2013 Chess World Cup, but was eliminated after his loss to Baskaran Adhiban.
He typically favors the Sicilian opening for both white and black pieces, utilizing this method about 40-45 percent of the time.
Ioan-Cristian Chirila was born in Bucharest, Romania in 1991. He was introduced to chess at the age of five by his father, and by the age of 13, took 9th place at the 2004 Romanian Men’s Chess Championship. Cristian dominated the Romanian Junior competitions, won the prestigious World Youth Championship U16 in 2007, as well as tied for first place in the 2008 edition. In 2010 he started his higher education pursuing a Political Science diploma at the University of Texas at Dallas. After graduating in 2014, he has won multiple open tournaments in the US, his last success came late last year when he won the U2550 section of the Millionaire Open. He is currently the Head Coach and resident GM at Bay Area Chess, and has made his way into the Grandmaster in Residence rotation at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL) since its opening in 2008. He has also appeared at CCSCSL to add to the live broadcast coverage of the 2017 U.S. Chess Championships as well as other tournaments in the past.
Akshat is a 17-year-old Grandmaster who recorded one of the fastest rises in the history of chess when he went from a starting rating of 1548 to a Grandmaster rating of 2500 in under 5 ½ years. He started playing chess at the age of 9 ½ years. Akshat was the 2015 US Junior Chess Champion, as well as the National High School Chess Champion and the National High School Blitz Champion. Since the age of 14, Akshat has remained the highest ranked Junior Rapid Chess player in the country. In August 2016, Akshat moved with his family to Saint Louis to pursue Chess professionally. More can be learned about him from his blog QuestToGM.com, which chronicles his journey from an amateur to a Grandmaster.
Awonder Liang is an American chess prodigy. He is an International Master, obtaining the title in 2015 when we was just 12 years old.
In 2011, he became the youngest chess expert in United States Chess Federation (USCF) history with a rating of 2000 at the age of 8 years and 7 days, a record previously held by Samuel Sevian. That same year he became the youngest to defeat an International Master (IM) in a standard tournament game, defeating IM Daniel Fernandez in the sixth round at the U.S. Open in Orlando, Florida. He would also go on to win the gold medal in the under-8 open section of the World Youth Chess Championship, earning a FIDE Master title. On July 29, 2012 in a standard time limit tournament game Liang became the youngest player ever to defeat a Grandmaster, GM Larry Kaufman; a record previously held by Fabiano Caruana.
IM Awonder Liang placed second in the 2016 U.S. Junior Closed Chess Championship at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, Missouri. There, he achieved the second place score of 6/9, just a half point behind Jeffery Xiong.
Cemil Can was born in Ankara in 1998. He attained his FIDE Master title at the age of 10 in 2008.He has a unique achievement of winning the European Youth Championships five times. Additionally, he has represented Turkey in the 2012 Istanbul Chess Olympiad. He earned his current title as International Master in 2013. Cemil Can is a team member of the Saint Louis Arch Bishops, where he helped lead the team to victory with a title of World Champions of the 2017 PRO Chess League. His current FIDE rating is 2479.
Abdumalik began attending a chess school, along with her older brother, at six years and won her first trophy at a national tournament. In 2008, she won the girls' U8 section at both the Asian Youth Chess Championship and the World Youth Chess Championship. She would go on to win women's championship of Kazakhstan in 2016. Abdumalik has played on the Kazakhstani national team in the Women's Chess Olympiads (2014 and 2016) and in the Women's World Team Chess Championships of (2013 and 2015). In the Women's Asian Team Chess Championship in 2016, she won the team bronze medal and an individual silver playing board 2.