Awonder was born in Madison, Wisconsin on April 9, 2003, and has lived there his whole life. He is currently the number one rated chess player in the world for his age. Awonder is also a two-time World Youth chess champion, as well as creator and keeper of many youth chess records. Liang was the youngest U.S. player ever to achieve the International Master title, and the second youngest to achieve the GM title (after Sam Sevian). Liang is the two-time defending champion at this event, and will hope to make it a three-peat this year.