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.
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 bronze as well as individual bronze 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 classical games, Caruana lost the match in rapid tiebreaks.
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 was the winner of the Chess World Cup in 2005 and then 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 is also the winner of the inaugural Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz. Aronian is one of the most well liked chess players in the world and is considered a hero and a celebrity in his home country. A 2006 CNN article referred to him as the David Beckham of chess.
Mamedyarov is the No.1 player in Azerbaijan and was the third highest rated player in the world in September 2018. He is a two-time World Junior Champion (2003 and 2005) and a three-time European Team Champion (2009, 2013, 2017) with Azerbaijan. Mamedyarov was World Rapid Chess Champion in 2013, scoring 11.5/15. He represented his country at the 2012 Chess Olympiad and received a gold medal on the third board. GM Mamedyarov is also a two-time winner of the Tal Memorial (2010 and 2014) and Shamkir Chess (2016 and 2017) tournaments. In 2018, he won the Biel Chess Festival after defeating Magnus Carlsen and tied for second place in the Candidates Tournament. His peak rating of 2820 is the sixth highest in chess history. He is the winner of the 2021 Superbet Chess Classic.
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. The following year he returned and tied for second place, just a half-point behind Magnus. 2016 saw the American GM earn first place in the Grand Chess Tour by winning the Sinquefield Cup and the London Chess Classic. He represented the US in the 2016 Olympiad, winning team gold and individual gold on board three. In 2017, Wesley won the Tata Steel Masters tournament and became the eleventh player in history to surpass 2800 FIDE. He was crowned the 2017 US Champion after defeating Alexander Onischuk in the playoffs. In 2021, So was the winner of 2021 Paris Rapid & Blitz, and the entire 2021 Grand Chess Tour.
Leinier Dominguez is a 5 time Cuban Chess Champion who completed his transfer to the United States Chess Federation in December 2018. He is currently the 4 highest rated player in the US and placed joint-second behind Hikaru Nakamura in his first US Chess Championship in May 2019. Leinier is a former World Blitz Champion having won the title in Almaty, Kazakhstan in 2008. In June 2013 he won the FIDE Grand Prix in Thessaloniki, Greece while in 2016 he earned an individual silver medal playing on board 1 for Cuba in the 42 World Chess Olympiad in Baku. His 2019 accomplishments include winning second in the 2019 U.S. Chess Championship and becoming the co-winner of the Netanya Masters in Israel.
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 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 the 2018 edition after losing in the finals to Hikaru Nakamura. He is the winner of the 2021 Croatia Grand Chess Tour tournament, and 2021 Sinquefield Cup.
Nakamura is a five-time United States Chess Champion who also won the 2011 edition of the Tata Steel Group A. 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. In May 2014, when FIDE began publishing its official rapid and blitz chess ratings, Nakamura was ranked number one in the world on both lists. In 2015, the American GM won the Gibraltar Chess Masters tournament, captured his fourth U.S. Championship, place first at the Millionaire Chess Open, and propelled his classical FIDE rating to a career high of 2814. 2016 also proved to be a fruitful year for Naka as he repeated first place finishes at the Gibraltar Chess Festival and the Zurich Chess Challenge. In 2017, Hikaru won his third consecutive Gibraltar Chess Festival. He is the 2018 Grand Chess Tour winner. Nakamura won the 2021 Saint Louis Rapid & Blitz.
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.
In 2010, Shankland won the US Junior Championships which qualified him for the US Championship the following year. He took third place in that 2011 Championship, and then went on to achieve the biggest upset at the FIDE World Cup later that year by defeating Super-GM Peter Leko. Two years later, Shankland was part of the US National Team that won the Pan-American Championship that year, where he had a performance rating over 2800. He then received the 27th Samford Chess Fellowship, later that year. In 2014, Shankland became one of the top 100 players in the world. He also won a gold medal at the 41st Olympiad for best reserve board player. He was undefeated ending with a score of 9 out of 10 in that Olympiad. He also defeated GM Judit Polgar in her last ever rated game during that tournament. Due to that performance, he played board one in the World Team Championship 2015, taking down some of the top fifteen players in the world at the time. In 2018, Sam Shankland had a stellar performance at the U.S. Championships. He won the tournament with 8.5/11 and crossed the 2700 barrier for the first time.