Irina Krush

Brooklyn, NY
Chess Highlights: 
Irina Krush has won the U.S. Women’s Chess Championship seven times, although she placed 3rd at last year’s Championship tournament. Her first win was in 1998 where she established herself as the youngest U.S. Women’s Champion ever at the age of 14. She has also played on the U.S. national team in the Women's Chess Olympiad since 1998. Krush contributed to the U.S. team winning the silver medal in 2004 at the 36th Chess Olympiad, and later a bronze medal in 2008 at the 38th Chess Olympiad.

Irina Krush has earned the spot as the highest-rated competitor in this year’s tournament. She has entrenched herself as the figurehead to elite American women’s chess play by earning the title of Grandmaster in October 2013.

America's only active female GM says she doesn't spend much time contemplating her current chess success or failures -- "I'm more attached to my future accomplishments." Born in Odessa, USSR (now Ukraine) in 1983, Irina learned to play chess at age five, emigrating with her parents to Brooklyn that same year. Krush attended Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn, where she participated in one of the top high-school chess teams in the country. It has been a rapid climb for Irina since then, including exceptional showings in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Chess Olympiads, as well as a gold-medal performance in the 2013 Women’s World Team Championship -- a result Krush called the best of her career. In addition to her chess studies, the 2008 Samford Chess Fellowship recipient enjoys tennis, reading, writing, yoga and music. Krush has a degree in international relations from NYU, though she is currently concentrating on chess. She said she enjoys the challenge of playing other Grandmasters most: "When you beat a strong GM, that's when you feel like you can play chess. She is also an author and has dedicated her time to writing several articles for Chess Life and Her article based on her experience earning her grandmaster norm in 2013 was named “Best of U.S. Chess.”