Yu enters this year’s championship with a USCF rating of 2402. She was born in Ithaca, New York and started playing chess in first grade, attending an after-school chess class. After the school finished its chess sessions, Yu wanted to continue her interest and asked her parents to find a coach. This simple request launched Yu’s chess career. They took her to group chess lessons and tournaments for kids, but didn’t realize how talented she was until that coach informed them.
Today, the 16-year-old lives in Ashburn, Virginia and is a pretty typical tenth-grader, aside from her immense chess talent. Her well-rounded interests include playing the flute and piano, listening to music, drawing, and playing sports. She becomes a better player through competition in tournaments where she can think through difficult challenges as she encounters them.
Yu holds a FIDE rating of 2196 and has participated in three World Youth Chess Championships. At age 10, she came in 11th place at the 2012 World Youth Championship in Slovenia, and in 2013 she placed fourth in the United Arab Emirates.