In 2015, Jeffery became the third youngest player to achieve the Grandmaster title at age 14. He came in second at the U.S. Junior Closed Chess Championship in July 2015 which qualified him for his first appearance in the U.S. Chess Championships. By 2016 he entered the top 10 players in the world under age 20. Recently, Jeffery has shattered the 2700 rating barrier, with a current rating of 2709. He continues to have impressive results such his run into the quarterfinals in the 2019 FIDE World Cup, where he upset impressive grandmasters like Anish Giri and Jan-Krzystzof Duda. In 2020, Xiong has already competed at the world class Tata Steel Masters tournament. He finished with a respectable score of 6/13 - managing draws against both World Champion Magnus Carlsen and world #2 player Fabiano Caruana.
A former chess prodigy, Ray Robson is currently the eighth highest rated player in the U.S. with a FIDE rating of 2673. Born in Guam, Robson and his family moved to Florida when he was still a toddler. It was in Florida where he learned to play chess at just three years old. He won the 2005 Super-Nationals, the 2005 and 2006 Pan-american Youth Championships, the 2009 U.S. Junior Championship, and the 2009 World Team Championship. In 2008, Ray won his first major tournament at the Miami open, and later that year broke Hikaru Nakamura's record for youngest American GM when he achieved his title at age 14 years, 11 months, and 6 days. Robson graduated from Webster University, where he won the 2012 SPICE Cup Open, and helped the Webster team win three consecutive National titles. Recently, he has begun live-streaming online, featuring puzzle rush attempts, collaborations with other Grandmasters, and game analysis.
At age 19, Sam Sevian is already one of the top 100 chess players in the world and top 10 in the United States. He was the 2012 World U12 Champion and a member of the Kasparov Chess Foundation’s Young Stars program. There, he received training from the legendary World Champion Garry Kasparov and Grandmaster Alexander Chernin. He became the youngest American Expert level player, and Grandmaster and still holds both titles today. He achieved his GM title at 13 years, 10 months, and 27 days old, which also puts him in the top ten youngest players to achieve the title in the world. In this tournament, he will face other top American players such as Ray Robson and Jeffrey Xiong as well as talented Grandmasters from around the globe.
Constantin Lupulescu is the top rated player in Romania and is in the top 100 players in the world. He is a five-time Romanian Chess Champion and has represented his country internationally at Chess Olympiads and European Team Championships since 2004. Some of his notable performances include sharing first at the 2013 European Team Championships, sharing first at the 2018 Baku Open, and winning the 2019 Reykjavik Open. This is his first invitational tournament here at the Saint Louis Chess Club.
Originally from Russia, Alexander Donchenko now resides in Germany as one of the country’s strongest players. Currently at his peak rating of 2650, he is just outside the top 100 rated players in the world and is ranked 3rd in Germany. With a good performance here in Saint Louis, Alexander might launch himself into the top 100 and beyond.
Cubano Lazaro Bruzon Batista earned his Grandmaster title in 1999. As a youth, he won several national tournaments and championships, including the World Junior Chess Championship in 2000, the Lausanne Young Masters in 2001, the North Sea Cup in 2002, the Corus B tournament in 2004, five Cuban Chess Championships, the American Continental Championship in 2005 and 2013, the Magistral Casino de Barcelona tournament in 2010, tied for first in the World Open in 2013, the 8th Edmonton International Tournament in 2013, the Carlos Torre Repetto Memorial Cup in 2013, 2014 and 2015, the 5th Latin American Cup in 2014, and the Iberoamerican Chess Championship in 2006 and 2015. He also competed at the FIDE World Cup in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2015. Lazaro achieved a peak rating over 2700 in 2012 and is currently the #1 ranked Cuban player.
Daniel Fridman is a German chess grandmaster originally from Latvia. He was Latvian champion in 1996, as well as German champion in 2008, 2012 and 2014. His first major success in his early chess career was when he took home a bronze medal in the Under-16 category of the World Youth Chess Championship. Daniel excels at speed chess and won first place at the Essen rapid contest of 2000 and Dutch Open rapid tourney of 2008. He also represented the Latvian men's team on board 4 at the Yerevan Olympiad of 1996 and at the Pula 1997 European Team Chess Championship. He returned to the Olympiad team as first board in 2004 (Calvià) and in 2006 (Turin). After he became a German citizen, he switched chess federations from Latvia to Germany and joined the German team at the Dresden Olympiad. Daniel competed in the 2018 and 2019 Summer Chess Classics here in Saint Louis, but this is his first appearance at the Spring Chess Classic.
Benjamin Gledura is a Hungarian Grandmaster who strung together some very impressive tournament results in 2019. In January of 2019, he placed third in the Tata Steel Challengers with a score of 8.5/13. He followed this result by performing well at the European Individual Chess Championship, again scoring 4 wins above an even score with 7.5/11. These results helped him to push his rating to its peak of 2654 later in June of 2019, qualifying him for the 2019 FIDE World Cup. This is his first invitational tournament here at the Saint Louis Chess Club.
Akobian 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 Akobian chess. Akobian knew from the beginning that he was different from the other chess players around him, and realized that he would do whatever it took to become a Grandmaster. He did just that, and achieved his GM title when he was twenty years old. After receiving the Samford Chess Fellowship, Akobian won three World Open tournaments, in 2002, 2004, and 2007. He was also the 2003 US Junior Champion. Akobian was then featured on MTV’s “True Life” documentary in the episode “I’m a Genius.” In 2014, Akobian was the runner-up US Champion, having lost to Gata Kamsky in the rapid tiebreak.
Akobian admires and mirrors the style of former World Champion Tigran Petrosian. Akobian is an excellent 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.
This charismatic and sporty Canadian became a Grandmaster in 2012 and has been a rising star in the chess community since. His internet presence on YouTube and Twitch, chessbrahs, involves himself and other titled players playing chess online for fun. Hansen’s online chess fame has given him many devoted fans and followers. In 2007, Hansen became a National Master, and placed second in the 2008 World U-16 Championships. Later that year he became a FIDE Master, and by 2010 he earned the International Master title. He tied for first in the 2011 Canadian Championship and won the 2012 Canadian Open. Other accomplishments in Hansen’s career include him qualifying for two World Cups and becoming a member of the Canadian National Team, representing Canada in the 2012 Olympiad and putting up another spectacular performance at the 2016 Olympiad. Hansen is also a member of the Canada Chessbrahs team (formerly the Montreal Chessbrahs) who reached the final four in the first season of the PRO Chess League.
Peter Prohaszka was born in 1992 and grew up in Vac, Hungary and speaks Hungarian, English, and German fluently. In 2007, he was a member of the silver medalist Hungarian team in Singapore at the U16 chess olympiad. He went on to win multiple gold medals with the Hungarian team in European Team Championships. He scored his first GM-norm at the age of 14 and became a Grandmaster just before his 18th birthday. As an adult, he has continued to perform successfully in international tournaments. He won the Xtracon Open in 2014 and the Fano Chess Festival twice. Recently, in 2017, he tied for first at the prestigious Benasque Open. He currently aspires to become an elite Chess Grandmaster while also graduating from Webster University.
Not coming from a family of chess players, Francesco started playing competitive chess at age 8 in France, with the Grenoble Chess Club named “Échiquier Grenoblois”. Francesco was both Champion of France and Champion of Italy in the U10 category in 2009, and went on to be Champion of Italy in the U12 and U14 categories, winning the title each year that he played the Italian Youth Championships. Francesco gained his FM title in the 2009 European Chess Championship, arriving 1st ex-aequo (3rd on tie-break) in the U10 category.
In November 2014, Francesco completed his IM norms and gained his first GM norm playing in Bad Wiessee, Germany. In august 2015, at age 16, Francesco completed his GM norms and achieved the title of International Grandmaster, winning the 2015 Wien International Chess Open in Austria. Francesco is currently furthering his chess career while attending Saint Louis University as a part of their chess program.
Grandmaster Mista started playing chess at the age of 4 and earned Grandmaster status at the age of 20. Mista has taken 3rd place in Polish Championship (2009), won the Hastings Chess Congress (2015/16) and Najdorf Memorial (2018, Warsaw). In years 2011-12, Mista was the Coach of Women National Team during Chess Olympiad (2012 Istanbul) and Team European Chess Championship (2011, Greece) where the team won silver. Mista is a member of Polish National Team since 2011 in chess problem solving and has won 8 gold medals in a row in Team World Chess Problem Championships. Mista is currently the manager of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Chess Program.
Nikita Meshkovs began his chess career early, learning the rules at just age 4. He went on to win multiple titles throughout his youth. These include becoming an astounding six time champion at the Latvian Junior Chess Championships in different age groups. More recently, he moved from winning Junior Championships to the overall national Latvian Chess Championship in 2018. He is very near his peak rating of 2574 and has a chance to approach the challenging 2600 barrier here in Saint Louis.
Born in 1996, Gordievsky earned his IM title in 2016, and the GM title in 2017. Dmitry is the No. 29 ranked Russian player as of February 2018 after he finished 3rd in the Moscow Aeroflot Open. Dmitry now studies at Mizzou University while continuing to advance his chess career as part of their newly founded chess team. He is the second highest rated player on the Mizzou team behind fellow Russian player Grigoriy Oparin.
Nikolas Theodorou is an 19 year old International Master from Greece. He is ranked 5th in Greece and has represented his country in many junior events. One of his most notable achievements is having won the Greek championship in his age group five times. He is currently residing in Saint Louis, majoring in Engineering Physics at SLU. He also competes for the World Champion Saint Louis Archbishops team in the PRO Chess League.
John Burke earned his Grandmaster title in April 2018. John is a resident of Brick, NJ, and has earned multiple New Jersey State championships, as well as multiple U.S. Chess All-American team designations. In 2015, he became the youngest junior to surpass a rating of 2600 FIDE. John has played at the Saint Louis Chess Club many times before and finished in first place in the 2017 Saint Louis Invitational. He also won the U.S. Master’s tournament in 2018. Currently, he is studying at Webster University and is a member of their SPICE program and chess team.
Jonas Bjerre is a Danish chess prodigy. At the 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss, Jonas achieved his final Grandmaster norm - making him the youngest ever Danish player to achieve the title. He is in the top 10 in Denmark, as well as the top 10 for his age group worldwide. At the young age of 14, he competed for the Danish national team in the 2018 Batumi Olympiad. This is his first tournament at the Saint Louis Chess Club, where this rising star has a chance to compete against well established players as well as other young prodigies.
At the age of 21, Chris is already a two-time national champion of his home country, Slovakia. Coming from a chess family, both of his parents have attained the International Master title. Chris himself achieved this title in 2016 and has since gone on to become a Grandmaster in 2018. He now looks to further improve his chess while studying at college as a part of the Mizzou Chess Team.
Christopher is a 13-year old Korean-American from California and the youngest International Master in US history. He is the youngest player in the world to beat a FIDE rated 2700+ super GM and the youngest California State Champion. Christopher is also an award-winning composer of endgame studies. He earned 3rd prize in the 2019 FIDE World Cup in Composing, where he competed against the best composers in the world. He also won a gold medal in the 2019 Youth Chess Composing Challenge, besting the strongest study composers in the world under the age of 23. He has already competed in Saint Louis at multiple seasonal classics, giving him more experience at the Saint Louis Chess Club than some of his older competitors.