Ethan Li on the K-12 “Constantly Inspiring to Compete Amongst My Peers”

Ethan Li appeared on the cover of the May Chess Life Magazine this year for his part in Summer Chess Academy for Talented Youth ‘s victory at the US Amateur Team East Championship in New Jersey, and more recently, on for being named a 2017 Scholar Chess Player, and his part in an MRI study related to chess.

Ethan Li, (second right), on the cover of the May 2017 Chess Life Magazine

Ethan is now packing his bags for his final K-12 Grade National Championships in Buena Vista, Florida. At 2376, Ethan Li is ranked second among the pre-registered players in the 12th grade section, right behind John Gabriel Ludwig (Florida). Ethan has played in the same venue before, and says, ” The picturesque Disney resort environment provides an unforgettable experience, and I recommend that newer players stay a few days after the tournament to enjoy the Disney theme park!”

Ethan also enjoys the special atmosphere of the K-12 National Championships, “because all your opponents are the same age as you. I am constantly inspired by my peers, and they motivate me to improve.”

Ethan visiting the Princeton campus with his father

As for chess preparation, Ethan Li’s senior year is packed with college applications, visits and school work, but he finds time each week for at least a few hours of chess. “I like to use chess as a meditative escape from deadlines, so half my practice consists of solving puzzles. Right now, I’m a big fan of the Quality Chess Puzzle Book by John Shaw. The remaining study time is evenly split between reviewing opening lines and staying up-to-date on recent Grandmaster games.”

Ethan volunteering at a Chinese school picnic teaching chess to kids.

Look for more highlighted players as the K-12 gets started on Thursday with blitz and bughouse. Find photos, games and more on this site as well as our twitter and instagram, where Vanessa Sun will be providing updates. Follow pairings and results on the official site. 


  1. […] The atmosphere is indeed intense, especially in the upper sections. The top seed of the highest section rated over 2400, an indicator of a tough field. With one last shot at winning this scholastic tournament before moving on to college, the 12th graders are giving the games their all. One such case is second seed FM Ethan Li, who was recently highlighted on US Chess . […]

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