Awonder is well-known in the chess community for the record-shattering pace at which he continues to improve. A week after his eighth birthday, Awonder became the youngest chess expert in U.S. history - breaking the record previously held by Sam Sevian. He also broke the record for youngest national master in U.S. history 17 days before his 10th birthday.
Awonder holds the distinction for the youngest-ever player to beat an international master and the youngest American to beat a grandmaster in a standard time control. At the age of 9 years and 111 days, Awonder defeated GM Larry Kaufman in the Washington International - breaking the record previously held by Fabiano Caruana.
Awonder is entering the tournament a two-time world champion having earned gold medals in the Under-8 World Youth Chess Championship in Brazil (2011), and later the Under-10 World Youth Chess Championship in the United Arab Eremites (2013).