Carissa learned to play chess at the age of six from her father and has been shattering world records ever since; at 9, she became the youngest ever to attain the title of Expert, and at age 11, became the youngest female to achieve the National Master title. Carissa also set the record for youngest female player to beat a Grandmaster when she won against GM Alexander Ivanov in the New England Open a few days before her 11th birthday.
Carissa recently had a strong showing at the 2017 U.S. Women’s Championship where she defeated four-time U.S. Women’s Champion, Anna Zatonskih, and drew against six-time U.S. Women’s Champion, Irina Krush, who she had previously defeated in the 2016 U.S. Women’s Championship.
Finishing with a score of 6.5/7, in 2016 Maggie became the first female in history to win the K-9 Championship. (Previous winners include Fabiano Caruana and Hikaru Nakamura.) She recently competed in the 2017 Women’s Chess Championship where she had notable draws against former U.S. Women’s Champions, Nazi Paikidze and Irina Krush, and a win against the current U.S. Women’s Champion, Sabina Foisor. Maggie finished the championship with a score of 6/11, along with Anna Sharevich, Anna Zatonskih, and Jennifer Yu.
When Akshita first entered the chess scene in March 2009 at the age of seven, she was rated 400. However, that rating quickly shot up: 1000 by the end of 2009, and 1467 by the end of 2010. Some notable achievements began to stack up for Gorti after a few years of playing in an impressive number of tournaments (averaging 30 per year). She took second in the 2013 All-Girl National Championship U-18 and the 2013 All-Girl National Blitz Championship U-18, tied for first in the 2014 U.S. Junior Girls Invitational, and took clear first in the Releya Chess WGM Norm Tournament in 2015. After earning titles of Woman International Master and FIDE Master in 2015, she was able to showcase her skills at the 2016 Women’s Chess Championship at age 13.
In March 2014, Annie Wang became the youngest female chess master in the United States at age 11--breaking the record that had been held by Irina Krush since 1996. (Annie held this record for one year, until Carissa Yip broke it in March 2015.) The following year, she competed in the 2015 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship at just 12 years old.
Notable achievements for Annie include an undefeated win in the U2100 section of the Annual Recession Buster Open in San Diego in 2013, and first place in the U-18 Girls section of the 2014 North American Youth Chess Championship, where she earned her WIM title. When she isn’t playing chess, Annie enjoys reading and spending time with friends.
Emily started playing chess competitively at a young age. She notably won the U.S. Junior Under 8 Championship (Open section--both girls and boys) in 2010 and at the same time, reached a 1500 Elo rating.
Emily is currently the reigning U.S. Junior Girls’ Champion. Entering the tournament last year as an underdog, she had an impressive win against the top seed, Maggie Feng, and finished clear first with a score of 6.5/9. This earned her a spot in the 2017 U.S. Women’s Championship, where she drew against a former U.S. Women’s Champion, Nazi Paikidze.
Ashritha learned to play chess at the age of 7. At 13, she became a national master under the training of Bulgarian Grandmaster Dejan Bojkov at the NorCal House of Chess. In her first appearance in 2014, she won the prize for the Best Game of the Tournament despite being the youngest among the field. In 2015, she took first place in the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship with a score of 6.5/9. The very next day, she flew to Colombia for the 2015 Pan-American Youth Chess Championship where she earned bronze through a tie-break.
Other accomplishments throughout her career include becoming All-Girls National Champion U-12 in 2012, and All-Girls National Champion U-15 in 2013. She has played in the World Youth Championships four times from 2012-2015, and has already competed twice in the U.S. Women’s Chess Championship tournament.
Agata began playing chess when she was eight. Highlights of her chess career include participation in the U.S. Woman's Chess Championship, Bronze at the World Youth in Greece, Gold at the North American Junior in Canada, and Gold at the PanAmerican Championships in Mexico.
Violin and the sciences are her passions outside of chess. At sixteen she earned AA degrees in Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry.
When not playing chess and going to school, she is conducting research in the Lipshutz Lab at UCSB where she has authored scientific papers in Organic Chemistry.
Agata has been awarded one of the nation's most prestigious college scholarships from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and is headed to MIT to study Chemical Engineering in the fall.
Apurva Virkud has been playing chess ever since her teacher taught her in first grade. She saw success at an early age; in 2011, Apurva earned the achievement of Michigan’s Individual Children’s Champion for 4th and 5th grade, and won the Susan Polgar Girls’ Invitational Chess Tournament. She tied for first place at the first National Girls’ Invitational in 2013 and in the 2014 U.S. Girls Junior Invitational.
Apurva has already been able to showcase her chess skills at the CCSCSL in both the 2015 and 2017 U.S. Women’s Chess Championships. Outside of chess, Apurva enjoys violin and piano. She plans to study engineering in college.
Rachel Ulrich comes from a chess-playing family; she and her three siblings all have played chess competitively starting at a young age. Rachel has competed on an international scale in the 2010 World Youth Championship, and nationally at the prestigious Susan Polgar Girls Invitational tournament later that same year. In 2015, she was invited to compete in the U.S. Junior Girls’ Invitational. She is currently the #6 female player under the age of 18 in the United States.
Thalia Cervantes is junior member of Webster University SPICE program, and is determined to achieve great success in chess. Originally from Cuba, she relocated to Saint Louis to compete at a higher level. Already, she has racked up a number of accomplishments: in the 2016 Chicago Open tournament, Thalia, ranked around #30 her section, dominated and took first in the under 2100 section with a score of 7/7. Thalia also won the 2015 SPF Girls’ U-19 Invitational at age 12, the 2016 All-Girls National U-16 Championship, the 2016 Mid-America Open (U1900 section), and earned bronze in the 2017 All-Girls National U-18 Championship.