Paikidze was born in Irkutsk, Russia and has been playing chess since she was four years old. Raised in Tbilisi, Georgia, Paikidze quickly collected prolific wins at the highest levels of international youth chess play. By the time she was 16, Paikidze had won four European Youth Chess Championships and medaled in the World Youth Chess Championship an astounding six times, including two gold-medal finishes. In 2006, Paikidze moved with her family to Moscow, Russia. While she continued to represent Georgia in international events, she seized the initiative to combat some of Russia’s best, winning both the Moscow Women’s Championship and the Moscow’s Open Women Tournament, and finishing fourth in the Russian Women’s Chess Championship. With continuous strong play, Nazi achieved her Woman Grandmaster title in 2010 and her International Master in 2012. In 2016, she started teaching lessons on ChessUniversity.com's Prodigy Program chess course. Paikidze won the title of U.S. Women’s Champion in 2016, and recently participated in the 2017 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship in Saint Louis, Missouri where she placed second with a score of 7/11.
Aleksandr Shimanov became an International Master in 2007. Two years later, he received his grandmaster title when he was just 17 years old. In 2013, he tied for 1st-3rd at the Nakhchivan Open with Gadir Guseinov and Igor Kurnosov. GM Shimanov typically favors the Queen’s Pawn Game and Salv openings for white, and Caro-Kann and King’s Indian openings for black.
Illya Nyzhnyk is a Ukrainian chess Grandmaster. He won Group B section of the 2007 Moscow Open at the age of 10, where he attained a nearly flawless score of 8.5/9; his performance at that time was that of a Grandmaster with a rating of 2633. In 2007 he won the European Youth Chess Championship for under-12. That same year, Nyzhnyk placed second after a first place tie-breaker at the World Youth Chess Championship. In April 2008, Nyzhnyk won the Nabokov Memorial in Kiev, Ukraine, with 8.5/11, and scored his first GM norm. Later that same year, he won the European Youth Chess Championship for the under 16 category. To wrap up the year, he placed 12th in the Ukrainian championship. That same month, he won the Schaakfestival Groningen tournament in the Netherlands with a performance rating of 2741.
In January 2011 Nyzhnyk played in the Grandmaster Group C of the esteemed Tata Steel Chess Tournament in Wijk aan Zee, finishing in second place with 8.5/13. That same year, he tied for 1st in the MP Reykjavík Open. He ended up achieving the grandmaster title the same year.
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.
Ruifeng started delving into the chess world when he was 5 years old in Michigan. 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 under-10 section. His early success landed him a spot in the Young Stars program in 2012—an elite youth training program designed to maximize the potential of rising chess prodigies in the U.S., coached by Garry Kasparov. Li went on to earn his National Master title a few months later. He received his IM title in 2015 and just recently earned his title as Grandmaster early in 2017. Ruifeng scored 7-2 at the 10th Annual Philadelphia Open which was held in March of 2016, taking home the gold. Ruifeng’s best results include several draws during major chess tournaments against world class players such as Fabiano Caruana, Gata Kamsky, Luke McShane, and Alexey Dreev.
Alejandro 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 the age of 13, and a Grandmaster at the age of 15. At the age of 15, he became the first Centro-American to achieve the Grandmaster chess title awarded by the International Chess Federation (FIDE), and became, at that time, the second youngest chess grandmaster. Major tournament victories for Ramirez include first place in the Morelia Open 2008 and the first place in the U.S. Chess Open 2010 held in Irvine, California. Ramirez currently serves as an editor for the popular chess news website ChessBase. He has become a frequent face the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, through roles as both the Club’s Resident Grandmaster and as a player in the nation’s elite events. He currently serves as the chess coach for Saint Louis University and is recruiting its inaugural team. Ramirez competed in U.S. Chess Championship in 2013, 2014, and 2015.