At ten years old, Caruana became the youngest American to defeat a GM in a FIDE-rated event. By the age of twelve, he had earned his FIDE master title, won national scholastic championships, and two gold medals in the Pan-American Youth Championships. Caruana has since become one of the hottest players on the global chess scene. He crossed the super-elite rating of 2800 after winning the 42nd Sparkassen Chess Meeting in Dortmund, Germany. He was the eighth player in history to pass the 2800 barrier and secured the tournament win in the penultimate round without losing a game.
Since passing 2800 Caruana has impressed the world, beginning with winning the 2014 Sinquefield Cup, scoring eight and a half out of ten. He proceeded to win the U.S. Championships, place second at the Tata Steel Masters tournament, and lead the U.S. Olympiad team to a gold medal in Baku 2016. In 2018, Caruana won the 2018 Candidates tournament, making him the first American player to challenge the World Champion in a unified match. He continued that year by winning the Grenke Chess tournament, Norway Chess, and tying for first with Carlsen and Aronian in the Sinquefield Cup. His World Championship match against Carlsen saw a historic 12 drawn games, but he lost in the tiebreaks. This past year he tied for second place with GM Leinier Dominguez for the 2019 US Chess Championship and later that year he beat legendary World Champion Garry Kasparov during the 2019 Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX exhibition.
Wesley learned chess from his father at the age of six, and began competing in junior tournaments at the age of nine. When he earned his Grandmaster title at the age of fourteen, So completed the ‘trifecta’ of being the youngest-ever Filipino National Champion, IM, and GM. Wesley came to the U.S. in August of 2012, enrolled at Webster University, and leapt from being a top 100 player to becoming one of the top ten in the world. He led Webster to three back to back national championships. In 2014, So won the Millionaire Chess Open.
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.
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.
At fifteen years and 79 days Hikaru Nakamura became the youngest American Grandmaster in history. Although that record has since been broken, his reign as a chess prodigy did not stop there. At the age of sixteen he qualified for the FIDE World Championship 2004, and advanced to the fourth round taking down three other Grandmasters along the way. When he turned eighteen, Nakamura got selected for the Samford Chess Fellowship. In the five years after that, he won two US championships, and became a top ten player in the world. In 2011, Hikaru won the Tata Steel Masters tournament and received a key to the city of Memphis.
Nakamura took a third US Champion title in 2012, and in 2015 his peak FIDE rating of 2816 was the second highest in the world. In 2018, Nakamura won the rapid section of the Tata Steel India tournament, as well as the Paris and Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz legs of the Grand Chess Tour. Nakamura clinched the title of 2018 Grand Chess Tour Champion with the defeat of Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the London semifinal match. He is the reigning U.S. Champion after winning last year with a powerful performance of 8/11 points.