“Shabba” originally hails from Riga, Latvia and quite fittingly has the same explosive style as Latvian World Champion Mikhail Tal. Alex even had the privilege of studying with the wizard of Riga before moving to the United States in the early 1990s. He took the U.S. chess scene by storm ever since, and he has won nearly every major tournament we have. A four-time U.S. Champion, Alex took home the title in 1993, 1997, 2003, and 2007. He’s also won the U.S. Open Championship a whopping seven times, and in 2002 tied for first in the prestigious Aeroflot Open in Moscow. Shabba was inducted into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame in 2015. He currently resides in PIttsburgh, and despite doing a fair share of teaching these days, he still travels to tournaments around the world on a regular basis. If you like games with wild complications, Alex is definitely the one to follow. As he himself has said, “If the position after my move becomes more complicated, then the game is going in the right direction!”
Despite not being introduced to chess until his teens, Larry learned the game at a blistering pace, being one of the few players to skip the International Master title completely on his way to Grandmaster. Christiansen is a three-time U.S. Champion, winning the event in 1980, 1983, and most recently in 2002. Larry has also had much success on the international chess scene, most notably winning the Linares super-tournament twice. Famous for his attacking style, Christiansen has written two books on the subject: “Storming the Barricades” in 2000 and its sequel, “Rocking the Ramparts,” in 2004. He was inducted in the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame in 2008. Larry currently resides in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and when he’s not teaching you’ll frequently find him binging one-minute games on the internet. You can be sure he’ll bring his renowned tactical skills to the event.
The Brooklyn native beat Bobby Fischer’s record for youngest chess master at age 13, and while this record is long gone, Joel has been a constant presence on the U.S. Chess scene ever since. He won the U.S. Open Championship in 1985, secured his GM title in 1986, then won his first U.S. Championship in 1987. He’d win two more, in 1997 and 2000. Apart from his other numerous tournament successes, Joel is known for being the GM consultant for IBM’s Deep Blue, the computer that defeated Garry Kasparov in 1997. Benjamin documents that experience as well as many others in his 2008 book “American Grandmaster: Four Decades of Chess Adventures.” Befitting his precocious nature, Joel was the youngest inductee into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame in 2008. He currently resides in New Jersey with his wife and two children. Joel is known for his offbeat openings and positional style, and he’ll no doubt be found nursing some small edges into full points.
While he has been inactive in recent years, the Ukrainian-born Grandmaster terrorized the open tournament circuit when he lived in Brooklyn in the late 90s and early 2000s. He’s won the World Open, Chicago Open, Foxwoods Open, and countless others. Igor has an excellent knowledge of chess theory, and has trained numerous students both here and in the Ukraine, notably GMs Irina Krush and Alex Lenderman. Novikov uses this knowledge to great effect in his games, and is capable of navigating sharp Najdorf battles as well as positional d4 games, and is extremely good at grinding out endgames. In his spare time, he is a part-time travel agent, and is known for finding his chess playing friends the best deals on flights and hotel. After not playing tournament chess for eight years, Igor joined the U.S. Team at the World Senior Team Championship in April of 2019, and helped them take home the gold. If he gets himself in practice for this tournament, watch out.
Born in Berdychiv, Ukraine, USSR, Gregory Kaidanov learned chess from his father at the age of six. In the 1980s he won many international tournaments while playing for the Soviet Union, and he earned the title of Grandmaster in 1988. Three years later, he and his family immigrated to the United States, settling in Lexington, Kentucky. In 1992, he had an impressive string of victories, tying for first in the Chicago Open and National Open before winning the top prizes in the World Open and the United States Open Championship.
Kaidanov also scored many great successes while playing for American teams. He played in the Olympiad six times between 1996 and 2006, winning a team bronze in 1996, a team silver in 1998, an individual silver in 2004, and a team bronze in 2006. Kaidanov also competed in the World Team Championships three times between 1993 and 2005, winning a team gold and an individual silver in 1993, and a team silver and individual gold in 1997. His major tournament victories include the 1992 World Open, 1992 U.S. Open, 2002 Aeroflot Open, and 2008 Gausdal Classic. He was the highest rated U.S. player on several rating lists between 2002 and 2005. Kaidanov, who is one of the most active Grandmaster teachers in the U.S., also coached the 2008 U.S. Women’s Olympiad Team to third place, one of their best accomplishments.
GM Alex Goldin was born in Novosibirsk, USSR in 1964. His dad taught he and his twin brother how to play chess when they were 4 years old. In 1981, Goldin won the Junior USSR Championship and the USSR Championship under 26 in 1988. Only in 1987 was Goldin allowed to play in tournaments outside of the iron curtain. In 1987-1988 he played 3 international events where he earned all required IM and GM norms; Goldin was awarded the GM title in 1989. In 1991, he won the New York Open on his first visit to the U.S. Goldin's best tournament result in the U.S. (so far) was at the World Open in 1998, where he scored 8.5 out of 9. Outside of the U.S., Alex's biggest accomplishment was winning the American Continental in Argentina in 2003. He has played for the U.S. team twice, once at the U.S.-China Summit where he played 1st board and once at the Olympiad in Calvia (3rd board). Goldin emigrated to the USA in 1999 and currently lives in Chicago, mostly teaching chess online.
The Leningrad-born GM was an absolutely dominant force in U.S. Chess for most of the 1990s. He won two U.S. Championships, tying for 1st in 1993 and taking the title clear in 1996. He has also won numerous World Opens, U.S. Opens, an American Continental, and just about everything else. Alex has also represented the United States in numerous international competitions. He has authored two books: “Road to Chess Improvement” in 2000 and “Chess Explained: The Classical Sicilian” in 2006. “Yermo” is also known for his commentary work, and has a regular series entitled “Every Russian Schoolboy Knows” on the Internet Chess Club. Alex was the GM-in-Residence at the Mechanic’s Institute in San Francisco, but has since moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He lives there with his wife, WGM Camilla Baginskaite, and their two children. Yermo has a suffocating, positional style, and is renown for his technique and endgame skill.
Jaan first broke through by tying for 2nd in the 1987 Zagreb Interzonal, earning his GM title in the process. He also won the 1989 Reggio Emilia super tournament, ahead of all-time greats Anatoly Karpov and Vassily Ivanchuk. He’s also won several other international events, and his successes at one point allowed him to breach the world’s top 5 on the FIDE rating list. Famous in his native Estonia, he was actually Estonian Sportsman of the year in 1987 and 1989. Jaan won the New York Open in 1994, and has since been quite active at U.S. events; he has been playing under the U.S. flag since 2006. He wrote an autobiography, “The Story of a Chessplayer,” which was published in 2004. Ehlvest also has a degree in Psychology from Tartu State University, and he puts these skills to good use on the chessboard. Jaan is extremely adept at finding positions where his opponents are uncomfortable, and is merciless at punishing their missteps once they occur.
GM Maxim Dlugy was born in Moscow and learned chess from his grandfathers and dad by the age of 7. He loved chess immediately. When his family immigrated to the U.S. in 1976, Dlugy was a "club player" with a rating around 1400. Maxim studied chess with Jack Collins and Vitaly Zaltman, becoming master at 14, IM at 16 and GM and World Junior Champion at 19.
Dlugy is known for his skills at faster time controls and tied for first in the Mazatlan World Rapid Championship, while being the top rated blitz player in the world numerous times from 1988-1992. He retired from professional chess in 1991 and focused on the world of finance, but 5 years ago decided to come back to teaching chess. In 2017 Dlugy started Chess Max Academy in NY which now teaches over 100 students of all levels. His students have won more than 12 National Championships, a number of World and Continental Championships and are some of the best players in their age groups in different countries.
Alex Fishbein was born in 1968 in St. Petersburg, Russia and arrived in the United States in 1979. The early years in Russia gave Alex a sound chess foundation under the guidance of Vladimir Zak, who also had coached Boris Spassky and Viktor Korchnoi. Alex became a master at the age of 14 in 1982, an IM in 1988, and a GM in 1992. He achieved his final Grandmaster norm by winning an international tournament in Stavanger, Norway.
In 2018, Fishbein bookended his chess career by winning the first Senior Tournament of Champions, having also won the first Denker Tournament of Champions in 1985). For most of his chess career, Alex Fishbein has not been a professional chessplayer, having worked in the finance industry for 25 years. Fishbein has found time away from work to write three chess books, and he currently writes a regular endgame column for American Chess Magazine.