2023 Annual Samford Fellowship Announced

The Frank P. Samford Jr. and Frank Samford III Chess Fellowships are pleased to announce the thirty-seventh consecutive annual awards. The Fellowships were created by the late Frank P. Samford Jr. of Birmingham, Alabama to advance the game he loved by identifying and assisting the most promising young chess masters in the United States.

Since its inception in 1987 the Samford, under the leadership of Frank Samford III, has been successful in promoting the chess careers of close to three dozen young Americans, many of whom have gone on to become grandmasters, members of the U.S. Olympiad Chess Team and United States Chess Champions. Four of the five members of the 2018 silver-medal winning U.S. Olympiad team were Samford Fellows.

The Fellowships are open to American chessplayers who are under the age of twenty‑five at the start of the Fellowships, July 1, 2023, and have been permanent residents of the U.S. for at least one year prior to that date. Leadership of the Fellowship program is provided by Mr. Samford Jr's grandson, Paul Samford of Atlanta, Georgia, with the able help of Al Lawrence of the U.S. Chess Trust.

The 2023 Samford Chess Fellows will receive expense money for training by leading chess coaches, chess books, computer equipment and other study materials as well as opportunities to travel and compete in tournaments and matches at the highest levels. The yearly value of the Fellowships (including training, study materials and tournament travel) is $70,000. The Fellowships are given for a one-year term. Individuals may apply more than one year and are eligible for maximum funding up to, but not exceeding, $82,000.

The 2023 Samford Fellows will be selected by the Samford Chess Fellowship Committee, consisting of Paul Samford, GM Yury Shulman and IM John Donaldson. Each applicant, who can be of any gender, must be able to demonstrate talent, achievement and commitment to chess. They must be willing to make the effort required to become a leading grandmaster and possible challenger for the world chess championship. For further details and an application form write to:


John Donaldson
Secretary, Samford Chess Fellowship 
1623 ½ Martin Luther King Junior Way
Berkeley, CA 94709
Email: imwjd@aol.com

Completed applications for the 2023 Fellowship must be received no later than May 15, 2023. The Committee expects to announce the winner in June 2023. All decisions by the Committee will be final.


Samford Winners:
1987 Joel Benjamin
1988 Maxim Dlugy
1989 Patrick Wolff
1990 Alex Fishbein
1991 Ilya Gurevich
1992 Alex Sherzer
1993 Ben Finegold
1994 Gata Kamsky
1995 Josh Waitzkin
1996 Tal Shaked
1997 Boris Kreiman
1998 Dean Ippolito
1999 Greg Shahade
2000 Michael Mulyar
2001 Eugene Perelshteyn
2002 Varuzhan Akobian
2003 Dmitry Schneider
2004 Rusudan Goletiani
2005 Hikaru Nakamura
2006 David Pruess
2007 Josh Friedel
2008 Vinay Bhat
2008 Irina Krush
2009 Ray Robson
2010 Robert Hess
2011 Alex Lenderman
2012 Timur Gareev
2013 Sam Shankland
2014 Daniel Naroditsky
2015 Samuel Sevian
2015 Kayden Troff
2016 Wesley So
2017 Jeffrey Xiong
2018 Awonder Liang
2018 Samuel Sevian
2019 Awonder Liang
2019 Samuel Sevian
2019 Christopher Yoo
2020 Nicholas Checa
2020 Awonder Liang
2020 Carissa Yip
2020 Christopher Yoo
2021 Praveen Balakrishnan
2021 Akshat Chandra
2021 Nicholas Checa
2021 Abhimanyu Mishra
2021 Hans Niemann
2021 Carissa Yip
2021 Christopher Yoo
2022 Alice Lee
2022 Abhimanyu Mishra
2022 Hans Niemann
2022 Carissa Yip
2022 Christopher Yoo