Dariusz is the youngest Polish player of all time to qualify for the Grandmaster title, doing so in 2009, at the age of 14 . He won the 2011 World Junior Chess Championship at the age of 17 and is currently the only Polish chess player to have accomplished this title. The following year he also won the Under-18 World Championship. He now attends Saint Louis University where he competes on the chess team.
Hrant is a 30-year-old Armenian chess player who earned his Grandmaster title in 2008. He took 2nd at the 2006 World Youth Championship under 18 and the 2015 European Rapid Championship. Hrant also won the European Blitz Championship in 2011, the London Chess Classic in 2013 and 2017, and many other open tournaments. He often competes on the Armenian national team, earning a silver medal at the European Team Championship and a bronze medal at the World Team Championship in 2015.
Alex is a Grandmaster who resides in Brooklyn, New York. He coached the gold medal-winning American team at the 42nd Olympiad in Baku in 2016. Alex reached round 3 of the 2017 World Cup, beating 2700+ Pavel Eljanov and World Junior Champion Aryan Tari along the way. His chess achievements include numerous victories at major tournaments, such as the 2015 World Open, 2011 and 2017 US Opens, and the 2012 National Open. Additionally, Alex received an individual gold medal at the 2015 World Team Championship. He has plenty of experience playing in Saint Louis, having competed in multiple US Chess Championships.
Ray was a chess prodigy in every sense of the term. He achieved the Grandmaster title at the young age of 14 years and 11 months and won seven national scholastic titles. He also finished in the top ten at each of the World Youth Chess Championships from 2004 to 2007 and tied for first place in the 2005 and 2006 Pan American Youth Chess Championships. On July 16, 2009, he won the U.S. Junior Chess Championship, becoming one of the youngest champions ever. Ray played in his first World Cup in November 2009 in Russia, competing again in 2011. He won the Webster University - SPICE Cup Open in St. Louis in 2012, and he finished second in the Millionaire Chess Open in Las Vegas in 2014, losing to Wesley So in the final round. Ray has competed in many of the major open tournaments in the United States, as well as numerous U.S. Championships. When he qualified for the 2007 U.S. Championship, it made him the youngest player in the history of the event to participate.
Alex 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. Alex 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, Alex helped the Turkish team finish in 6th place, an all-time team record, by defeating Georgian Grandmaster Mikheil Mchedlishvili in the final round after a tied score of 1.5 for each player. With this victory, Alex helped Turkey to qualify for the 2017 World Team Chess Championship.
Vasif started his chess career in 1999. He received the International Master title in 2007 and the International Grandmaster title in 2010. His chess achievements include receiving second in the European Youth Chess Championship under 14 years old (Budva, Serbia) in 2006, winning the World Youth Chess Championship under 14 years old (Batumi, Georgia) the same year, and winning the European Youth Chess Championship under 18 years old (Batumi, Georgia) in 2010. Vasif joined the SPICE chess program at Webster University in 2014 and won three national titles with the team.
Jorden Van Foreest
Jorden learned to play chess from his father at the age of six, but he only began to play seriously three years later, at which time he began to make rapid progress. Within six years, he had attained the International Master title, subsequently earning all his Grandmaster norms at the age of sixteen. During his meteoric career, Jorden has won many prestigious tournaments, including the European Under-14 Championship in 2013. At the 2017 European European Team Chess Championship, Jorden scored 5/7, thereby earning a performance rating of 2723. Most recently, he shared first at the 2019 Dutch Championship with his younger brother, Grandmaster Lucas Van Foreest.
Var began learning chess in Mongolia, where the winters were so harsh that his father forbade him and his sister from going outside. Instead, his father taught him chess. It was clear from the beginning that Var was extremely skilled in chess, and he soon decided to dedicate himself to becoming a Grandmaster. He did just that, achieving his GM title when he was twenty years old. After receiving the prestigious Samford Chess Fellowship, Var became a top player in the United States, winning the 2003 US Junior Chess Championship. Var also went on to win the World Open three times, sharing first in 2002 and winning outright in 2004 and 2007. In 2014, he was the runner-up US Champion, losing to Gata Kamsky in the rapid tiebreak.
Var admires and mirrors the style of former World Champion Tigran Petrosian. He is a strong positional player, who follows in the footsteps of Petrosian with his expertise in the French Defense, one of Petrosian’s most popular openings as Black.
Ilia was born in Belarus, where he was certified as a chess trainer by the Belarussian State Institute of Physical Culture. In 1994, having won the Belarussian Championship, he immigrated to Israel, subsequently representing that country in various Olympiads and other international competitions. His tournament successes include winning the First League of the USSR Championship in 1987 and 1989 as well as winning the Israeli Championship for three consecutive years (1992-1994). Known for his uncompromising, tactical play, Ilia attributes his sharp style to the influence of such players as Mikhail Tal and Leonid Stein. He reached his peak rating of 2702 FIDE in July 2001.
Olexandr is a Ukranian Grandmaster, having attained the title at the 2015 Vladimir Nabokov Memorial. In 2014, he won the under-18 category of the World Youth Chess Championship. A speed chess specialist, Olexandr reached the finals of Chess.com’s Bullet Chess Championship before losing to GM Hikaru Nakamura, the winner of the tournament. A professional chess coach and player, Olexandr currently resides in Mykolaiv, Ukraine. His older brother, Mykola, is also a strong chess player, holding the title of International Master.
Manuel earned his Grandmaster title in 2017 at the Lake Sevan International Chess Tournament. The thirteenth highest-rated player in Armenia, Manuel won the Under-18 World Youth Championship in 2016 and placed second at the 2017 World Junior Championship. Most recently, he served as GM Levon Aronian’s second at the 2019 St. Louis Rapid and Blitz and 2019 Sinquefield Cup, helping Aronian to place in first at the former.
Yasser is the twenty-seventh Cuban chess player to have been awarded the Grandmaster title, achieving this feat in 2015 at the Marcel Sisniega Memorial in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Considered to be one of Cuba’s biggest rising talents, Yasser played his first tournament at the age of five, winning the provincial championship a year later. He tied for eighth at the 2019 World Open and placed clear second at the 2019 Cuban Championship. Yasser’s older brother, Yuniesky, is also a Grandmaster.
Victor is originally from Gomel, Belarus. He relocated to Israel in 1991 and achieved the title of Grandmaster in 1996. Victor was a member of the Israeli Olympic team in 2006 and 2010, helping his team to win the bronze medal in the latter. Victor won two Israeli Junior Championships in 1991 and 1992. In 1997 he won the Israeli Rapid Championship, and in 2014 he won both the Israeli Classical and Blitz titles as well. His best performance rating to date was 2876 during the 2007 Calvia International Open, in which he won with 8 points out of 9. He resides in Be’er Sheva, Israel with his wife and three kids.
Born in Yerevan, Armenia, Avetik attained the International Master title at the age of 18, becoming a Grandmaster only a year later. His many tournament victories include: the 2010 Bansko Grand Chess Open, the 2010 Armenian Championship, and the 2012 Pavlodar Open. In 2017, Avetik coached Thailand’s national team and subsequently founded ChessMood, an online store for chess enthusiasts.
Aram started playing chess when he was 6 years old and earned his Grandmaster title at the age of 17. He has achieved much during his career, winning the Armenian Youth Championships five times, becoming U12 World Chess Champion in 2012, earning a bronze medal in European U14 Championship in 2015, and another bronze medal at the U16 Olympiad in 2016. Aram’s other accolades include 3rd prize for the first and second rounds of the European Junior Grand Prix in 2017 and being named best junior player U18 for his efforts at the 2018 European Individual Championship.
Alex is a Brazilian chess grandmaster, having attained the title in 2007. He won five gold medals at the Pan American Youth Chess Festival: in the U10 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.
Alex won the Open of Sants, Hostafrancs & La Bordeta in Barcelona in 2009 and 2014. He briefly appeared in the 2011 World Cup, but faced elimination after losing to GM Alexander Morozevich in the second round. Two months later, he won the 2nd Latin American Cup in Montevideo, edging out GM Diego Flores in a tiebreaker. He competed in the 2013 Chess World Cup, but was eliminated after his loss to GM Baskaran Adhiban.
Denis is a Bosnian grandmaster who currently lives in Sarajevo. Denis’s father taught him to play chess when he was 5 years old, and Denis played his first tournament four years later. In 2012, he became the European Rapid and Blitz champion in the U-16 category. From 2014 till 2018, he attended the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) where he received a full scholarship and earned a bachelor’s degree in finance. In the summer of 2017, he won 2 strong international tournaments in a row: the Bosna Open in June, followed by the Paracin Open in July. He has played in the last 4 Olympiads for his country, making his final GM norm at the Istanbul Olympiad in 2012 and playing on the first board in Batumi in 2018. He is currently a professional chess player and coach.
Evgeny was born in Odessa, Ukraine in 1999. His mother introduced him to chess when he was 6 years old. He won his first Ukrainian Championship in 2007. Afterwards, he placed second in the European Chess Championship 3 times in the following categories: under 8, 10, and 12. He earned the International Master title in 2016, becoming a Grandmaster two years later. He graduated from Texas Tech University with a bachelor’s degree in finance. Recently, he won the 2019 Saint Louis Norm Congress after defeating GM Denes Boros in a tiebreak.
Steven is an American Grandmaster from California best known for winning the World Under-18 championship in 2010. He learned the game at age six and climbed to 1500 before spending five years away from serious chess. After returning in 2007, Steven gained six hundred rating points in a year, with rating gains in twenty-four consecutive tournaments. Steven’s climb culminated in victory at the 2010 World Under-18 Championship, surpassing the rest of the field by a full point. The next year Steven would begin a new break from chess, this time for undergraduate studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He graduated in 2015 with a degree in Math and Computer Science. He has since returned to chess, earning the GM title at the 2018 Charlotte Summer GM Invitational. He now lives in California. In addition to playing and teaching chess, he enjoys weightlifting and reading.
Aman is a Grandmaster currently living in Montreal, Canada where he is a part-time coach and streamer at www.twitch.tv/chessbrah. He achieved his IM title in 2013 after a meteoric rise from 2250 to 2500 in less than a year. Aman was a member of the Canadian Olympiad team in 2014, the coach of the Canadian Women's Olympiad team in 2016, and the 2017 Canadian Open Champion. He earned his second GM norm at the 2017 Reykjavik Open and finally secured the Grandmaster title at the IV Sunway Sitges International Chess Festival the same year.