Carlsen is a Norwegian chess grandmaster, and the current World Chess Champion. Carlsen was a child chess prodigy who became a chess grandmaster in 2004, at the age of 13 years and 148 days, making him the third-youngest grandmaster in history. In November 2013, Carlsen became World Champion by defeating Viswanathan Anand. He defended his title in November 2016 when he defeated Sergey Karjakin. After defeating Caruana in their 2018 World Championship Match, Carlsen ended the year by winning the World Blitz Championship, his 10th World Championship title in total. In June he won Clutch Chess International, a new online tournament hosted by the Saint Louis Chess Club. Recently, Carlsen emerged as the winner of the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour Finals benefiting Kiva.
Hikaru Nakamura is the 2019 U.S. Chess Champion. This is his fifth title, having previously won the Championship in 2005, 2009, 2012 and 2015. He has represented the United States at six Chess Olympiads, winning two team bronze medals and the first team gold in 40 years at the 2016 Olympiad. He also won the 2018 Grand Chess Tour by defeating GM Maxime Vachier-LaGrave in the finals in London. GM Nakamura was selected as the 2019 Grand Master of the Year by US Chess and is ranked #2 in the world on the Universal Rating System. This year’s online chess boom has allowed Nakamura to become one of the top Twitch Streamers in the world and he recently placed second in the Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour Finals benefiting Kiva.
Often referred to as MVL, he came to prominence in 2009 after winning the title of World Junior Chess Champion. He is currently the No. 1 ranked player in France as well as a three-time French champion (2007, 2011, shared in 2012). He is also a four-time winner of the Biel Grandmaster Tournament (2009, 2013, 2014, 2015) and a former World Junior Champion (2009). His biggest tournament victory to date has been the 2017 Sinquefield Cup, where he finished first ahead of Magnus Carlsen. He won the Sharjah Grand Prix in the same year and the 2018 Shenzhen Masters. MVL has been part of the Grand Chess Tour since 2015 and finished second in both the 2018 and 2019 editions. Vachier-Lagrave was a late addition to the 2020 Candidates tournament, replacing GM Teimour Radjabov who withdrew due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 26, 2020, the Candidates tournament was postponed. At the halfway point, Vachier-Lagrave is currently leading the tournament with a +2 score.
The No. 2 ranked player in the world, Caruana became a grandmaster at the age of 14 years, 11 months, 20 days. He was the youngest grandmaster in the history of the United States until his record was beaten in 2009 by Ray Robson. After winning the 2014 Sinquefield Cup with a score of 8.5/10 and a performance of over 3000, he achieved a FIDE rating of 2844, becoming the third highest-rated player in history. Caruana has represented the United States in two Olympiads, winning team gold in 2016 and team silver in 2018. He had a phenomenal showing in 2018 winning the Grenke Chess Classic, Norway Chess, and tying for first in the Sinquefield Cup with Carlsen and Aronian. Caruana won the 2018 Candidates tournament thus becoming the first American to challenge the World Champion in a unified match in 46 years. After drawing all of the classical games, Caruana lost the match in rapid tiebreaks. In 2019 he tied for second place with GM Leinier Dominguez for the US Chess Championship and later that year he beat legendary World Champion Garry Kasparov during the 2019 Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX exhibition. This year he placed second in Clutch Chess USA & Clutch Chess International, two new online tournaments hosted by the Saint Louis Chess Club.
So is a former chess prodigy who became the youngest player to pass the 2600 threshold in October 2008, breaking the record previously held by Magnus Carlsen. In February 2015 he entered the world top-10 after tying for second place at the 2015 Tata Steel Chess Tournament.
Beginning with his win in the 2016 Grand Chess Tour, that he sealed by winning the 2016 Sinquefield Cup, So entered two of his most successful years yet. He won two gold medals at the 2016 Baku Olympiad, one for himself on board three, and one with the entire team. He passed the FIDE rating of 2800 by winning the 2017 Tata Steel Masters tournament, and then became the 2017 U.S. Champion beating Alexander Onischuk in a playoff match. Just last year, Wesley became the first official Fischer Random World Champion after defeating Magnus Carlsen with an astounding 13.5-2.5 score. In May 2020, So won the inaugural Clutch Chess USA tournament, a new online event hosted by the Saint Louis Chess Club.
Aronian has been the leading Armenian chess player since the early 2000’s. He has also led the Armenian national team to three gold medals in Chess Olympiads (Turin 2006, Dresden 2008, Istanbul 2012) as well as to gold at the World Team Chess Championship in 2011. His peak rating of 2830 is the fourth highest in history and put him in the number two spot in the world behind Magnus Carlsen. He won the FIDE Grand Prix 2008–2010. He was also World Rapid Chess Champion in 2009 and World Blitz Chess Champion in 2010. Aronian won the Chess World Cup in 2005 and again in 2017, the only player to have won it twice. He is the 2015 Sinquefield Cup winner and tied for first with Carlsen and Caruana in 2018. He has also previously won both the 2017 and the 2019 Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz tournament.
Dominguez is a five-time Cuban national champion, who switched federations to the United States in December, 2018. This super grandmaster’s career features stunning results like that of the victory in Barcelona. He won the Magistral Ciutat de Barcelona tournament, with a performance rating over 2900. Two years later, he won the Capablanca Memorial Tournament, and then became the 2008 World Blitz Champion ahead of top grandmasters like Peter Svidler and Alexander Grischuk.
He went on to win the FIDE Grand Prix in Thessaloniki, Greece while earning thirty rating points in the process. Most recently, Dominguez was part of the team that helped prepare Fabiano Caruana for the 2018 Candidates tournament and then the World Championship match that followed. Dominguez narrowly missed winning the first U.S. Championship in which he appeared last year, finishing just a half point behind Hikaru Nakamura.
Svidler is an astounding 8 time Russian Chess Champion, winning as recently as 2017. He also has represented the Russian Olympiad team 10 times helping his team win the gold medal in his first five appearances. By winning the 2011 Chess World Cup, he qualified for the Candidates stage of the 2013 World Championship cycle. In that event, Peter soundly defeated the eventual World Champion, Magnus Carlsen. Svidler is also a world-renowned chess commentator. He has given live commentary on important events such as the 2018 World Chess Championship, occasionally being joined by other elite players such as Anish Giri and Alexander Grischuk.
Firouzja is an Iranian-born grandmaster living in France, a world-class player and the youngest player in the world rated over 2700. He is a two-time Iranian champion and the reigning European Fischer Random champion. As of February 1, 2020 Firouzja is the only teenager ranked in the top 25 (ranked #23 with a rating of 2726).
In late 2019 and early 2020, Firouzja electrified the chess world with his second place finish in the World Rapid Championship (one point behind World Champion Magnus Carlsen) and his amazing 5/7 start at the 2020 Tata Steel tournament. In April, Firouzja faced Magnus Carlsen in the final of the Chess24 Banter Blitz Cup and won. Firouzja then competed in the Magnus Carlsen Invitational and placed sixth overall, an excellent showing for this Iranian chess prodigy.
Garry Kasparov is a chess legend known worldwide for his beautiful attacking style and ruthless technique. Kasparov became the youngest ever undisputed World Chess Champion in 1985 at age 22 by defeating then-champion Anatoly Karpov. As world champion, he was known for his aggressive attacking style. In 1996 and 1997, Kasparov played the IBM supercomputer, Deep Blue, in a series of highly publicized matches. From 1986 until his retirement in 2005, Kasparov was ranked World No. 1 and is considered by many to be the greatest chess player in history.