Live Broadcast Commentators
GM Yasser Seirawan
4-time U.S. Champion
Few names in U.S. Chess are more recognizable than Grandmaster Yasser Seirawan. A four-time U.S. Champion and former World Championship contender, Seirawan was the dominant force in American chess in the 1980s. At 13, just a year after learning the game, Seirawan became the Washington State Junior Chess Champion, and by 1979 he won the World Junior Championship.
Seirawan went on to dominate the American chess scene, winning the U.S. Championship title in 1981, 1986 and 1989. He claimed the U.S. Championship title once again in 2000 and continued to play in major world-class events, including serving 10 times as a member of the U.S. team at the World Chess Olympiad, until he announced his retirement in 2003.
Seirawan was lured out of retirement in 2011 to once again play in the U.S. Championship, which was held in Saint Louis. He cited the exciting developments of the Saint Louis chess scene as a contributing factor for his renewed interest in competitive chess.
Seirawan is a highly respected teacher, commentator and author and has written several books including Chess Duels, the 2010 Chesscafe.com's book of the year. He is regularly featured as the Resident Grandmaster for the Saint Louis Chess Club.
GM Alejandro Ramirez
2010 U.S. Open Champion
Alejandro Ramirez was inspired by the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer when he was four years old. He became FIDE Master at the age of 9, an International Master at the age of 13 and a Grandmaster at the age of 15.
In May 2003, he secured his first GM norm at 14 by scoring a stellar 7/9 at the Capablanca in Memoriam Tournament held in La Habana, Cuba. The following year, he tied for first place (together with GM Lenier Dominguez from Cuba) in the Zonal Tournament held in Guayaquil, Ecuador, in August 2003, to secure his second GM norm. He obtained his third norm a few months later at the Los Inmortales Tournament at Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
He is studying at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) pursuing a master degree in Arts & Technology and is also a member of the Dallas Chess Club, serving as the ranking officer on the club's Facebook page. After graduation he plans to combine his two passions in life: chess and video games.
GM Maurice Ashley
Millionaire Chess Organizer
Through chess, Maurice Ashley has not only made history as the first African-American International Grandmaster in 1999, but has translated his talents to others as a three-time national championship coach, two-time author, ESPN commentator, iPhone app designer, puzzle inventor and motivational speaker. Ashley now works as a Research Affiliate at MIT’s Media Lab to bring the benefits of chess and other classic games to a wider educational audience through the innovative use of technology.
He has traveled the world as an ardent spokesperson of the character-building effects of chess. Ashley’s book, “Chess for Success” (Broadway Books, 2005), crystallizes his vision of the many benefits of chess, particularly for at-risk youth, and he continuously spreads his message of living one’s dream to universities, businesses, chess clubs and non-profit organizations around the globe. His app, “Learn Chess! With Maurice Ashley,” has been sold in over 30 countries, and he has received multiple community service awards from city governments, universities and community groups for his work.
In the fall of 2011, Ashley toured six Caribbean nations to bring chess, books and technology to kids in the region. In 2015, Maurice announced a partnership with the Saint Louis Chess Club and Ascension, Your Move Chess. This program supports after school chess in the Florissant-Ferguson School District alongside other schools in the Saint Louis area. Longer term, the goal is to expand the program on a national level.