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.
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.
Ian “Nepo” is in the prime of his career. In 2019, he entered the top 10 for the first time and reached his peak rating to date of 2775, thus becoming the highest rated Russian player. He earned the Grandmaster title at the age of 17 in 2007 and won the prestigious Aeroflot Open the following year, thus qualifying to the 2008 Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting. In 2010 he won the European individual championship as well as the Russian Superfinal after defeating Sergey Karjakin in a play off. He earned two silver medals in World Rapid Championships and one in the World Blitz Championship. He also won the 2018 Dortmund Sparkassen Chess Meeting and was part of the Russian team which won the 2019 World Team Championship.
Alexander Grischuk became a Grandmaster in 2000. Grischuk was the Russian champion in 2009. He is also a three-time world blitz chess champion (in 2006, 2012 and 2015). He has competed in four Candidates Tournaments: 2007, 2011, 2013, and 2018. Grischuk has won two team gold-medals, three team silvers, one team bronze, and one individual bronze medal at Chess Olympiads. He also holds three team gold medals, one team silver and individual gold, two silver and one bronze from the World Team Chess Championship.
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.
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.
GM Pentala Harikrishna was highly successful as a junior, winning the Indian Championships in virtually every age group available. He also won the World U10 Championship in 1996, the World Junior Championships in 2004, and the Asian Individual Championships in 2011. Harikrishna’s biggest tournament victories to date were at the 2012 Tata Steel B Group and the 2013. Biel MTO. A former top 10 player, he has a peak FIDE rating of 2770 and has been the number 2 ranked Indian player for a number of years. He has represented India at seven Olympiads and is known for his original and creative style of play.
This young super star has achieved many impressive results since his start at seven years old. In 2010, he won the under - 10 North American Continental Championship, and then a silver medal in the under - 10 World Championship. Xiong was the 2016 US Junior Champion, and then continued on to become the 2016 World Junior Champion. Xiong’s most impressive trait is his ability to handle losses. No matter how painful the loss was he always sees his losses as an opportunity to improve. This mentality has separated him from other grandmasters by keeping calm and collected after games, often analyzing them to find where he could improve.
This mentality has pushed him over 2700 after a string of impressive results in 2019. In September of 2019, Xiong competed in the World Cup where he defeated grandmasters such as Anish Giri and Jan-Kryzystof Duda, pushing him to the quarterfinals.