Meet the US Chess 2020 International Youth Event Official Representatives

On April 8, US Chess made the unfortunate but necessary announcement that we were going to suspend all US Chess-supported delegations to international events. We know that for many of our young competitors, these competitions can be the highlight of their year and sometimes their career. We had 14 players who qualified as our official representatives, and we wanted the US Chess community to know about their accomplishment and to learn a little bit about these players who have worked so hard to reach their current rankings in the chess world. Please help us celebrate these young players who would have attended either the Pan American Youth (Brazil), the World Youth (Romania), or the World Cadet (Georgia). We invited them to answer some brief questions, and their answers are listed below in alphabetical order along with the events they qualified for and their current grade level. One thing is for sure reading through these responses: Magnus Carlsen has influenced many of our top young players!

Ryo Chen

World Cadet Open Under 10 and Pan-American Youth Open Under 10

4th Grade

          What is your biggest accomplishment in chess? Going from learning the basic chess rules to reaching 2200 in only 25 months . Who is your favorite player? Garry Kasparov. Name your top 3 favorite chess events to play in. World Cadet is my favorite. What were you most looking forward to about this international event? Meeting chess players and friends from all over the world. What is your best chess memory? In the last round of DCC FIDE OPEN in July 2019, I finished my opponent off with a queen sacrifice smothered mate, which bumped my rating to 2200. What do you like to do when you are not playing chess? Read history and fiction books.

WCM Alice Lee

World Cadet Girls Under 12 and Pan-American Youth Girls Under 12

5th Grade

          What is your biggest accomplishment in chess? Winning gold at the 2019 World Cadet U10-G Who is your favorite player? Anatoly Karpov. Name your top 3 favorite chess events to play in. Susan Polgar Girls Invitational; Chess Castle of Minnesota; Haring Girls National Championship What were you most looking forward to about this international event? Trying to win a medal. What is your best chess memory? Clinching US Chess National Master in the last tournament I went to before the pandemic. What do you like to do when you are not playing chess? Reading and spending time with friends (when I could).

WCM Rachael Li

World Cadet Girls Under 10 and Pan-American Youth Girls Under 10

4th Grade

        What is your biggest accomplishment in chess? Getting first place in tournaments. Who is your favorite player? No one. (She is obviously a rugged individualist. ~ed.) Name your top 3 favorite chess events to play in. CONIC19 is my favorite. What were you most looking forward to about this international event? The interesting games. What is your best chess memory? I once beat someone when in a lost position. What do you like to do when you are not playing chess? Drawing, reading, sports, and music.

GM Awonder Liang

World Youth Open Under 18 and Pan-American Youth Open Under 18

11th Grade

    What is your biggest accomplishment in chess? Achieving the GM title. Who is your favorite player? Magnus Carlsen. Name your top 3 favorite chess events to play in. U.S. Championship, SPICE Cup, Sitges Open. What were you most looking forward to about this international event? Meeting new players and getting the opportunity to face tough competition. As always, being able to play chess is a lot of fun. What is your best chess memory? Beating Wesley So as black in the 2019 U.S. Championships. Not only is he a formidable opponent, but a famously solid player, so that victory is particularly special to me. What do you like to do when you are not playing chess? Reading, walking in the park.

Patrick  Liu

Pan-American Youth Open Under 8

2nd Grade

          What is your biggest accomplishment in chess? U8 Top player. Who is your favorite player? Magnus Carlsen. Name your top 3 favorite chess events to play in. Super States, Susan Polgar, North America Open What were you most looking forward to about this international event? Challenging players stronger than me. What is your best chess memory? I once beat a player I never had before and their rating exceeded 1600. What do you like to do when you are not playing chess? Reading, music, Legos, swimming.

Sam Luger

World Cadet Open Under 8

2nd Grade

          What is your biggest accomplishment in chess? I won 2nd place at 2019 New York State Championship U1500. My rating was 1255 at the time. Who is your favorite player? I like Magnus Carlsen the most because of his opening styles. I learned a lot from him. Name your top 3 favorite chess events to play in. Annual York State Championship Tournament; Annual Marchand Open; Saturday Tournaments at Rochester Chess Center, New York. What were you most looking forward to about this international event? I was looking forward to the coaching and the opportunities to play with other great players from all over the world. What is your best chess memory? My favorite chess memory was at the Annual Marchand Open in 2018. I was in the U1000. It was the last round, and I had to win that game to tie for first place. I got paired with the best person in the section and I was nervous. However, I played well and got to pin his knight to his queen. I won the knight and the game as well. It was my first big chess event and I was proud that I won the first place in my section. What do you like to do when you are not playing chess? I like to play soccer with friends. I also like playing violin and reading books. My favorite books are the Geronimo Stilton series.

IM Abhimanyu Mishra

World Cadet Open Under 12

5th Grade

            What is your biggest accomplishment in chess? Youngest IM in world chess history at the age of 10 years, 9 months. Who is your favorite player? Fabiano Caruana. Name your top 3 favorite chess events to play in. All GM norm invitational events. What were you most looking forward to about this international event? Getting Gold for my country. What is your best chess memory? My win against the very strong GM Yaroslav Zherebuch, FIDE 2631 rated. What do you like to do when you are not playing chess? Solve puzzles.

Megan Paragua

World Cadet Girls Under 8 and Pan-American Youth Girls Under 8

2nd Grade

          What is your biggest accomplishment in chess? All Girls NY state Champion in 2019 and #1 in Girls 7yrs and under last January, February, and March 2020. Who is your favorite player? Magnus Carlsen. Name your top 3 favorite chess events to play in. All Girls NY State Championship, National Scholastic Championship in Florida, NY Greater Championship. What were you most looking forward to about this international event? To represent the USA in the girls under 8 category. What is your best chess memory? Winning against 2019 All girl national champion Alexandra Phung in All Girls NY state and get the title. What do you like to do when you are not playing chess? Music, reading and arts.

WFM Martha Samadashvili

World Youth Girls Under 16 and Pan-American Youth Girls Under 16

10th Grade

    What is your biggest accomplishment in chess? Becoming the Ruth Haring National Girls Champion of Champions. Who is your favorite player? Bobby Fischer. Name your top 3 favorite chess events to play in. World Youth Chess Olympiad U16, USATE, US Girls Junior Closed. What were you most looking forward to about this international event? Playing with other strong players from around the world. What is your best chess memory? The game when I became a National Chess Master What do you like to do when you are not playing chess? Read books.

IM Justin Wang

World Youth Open Under 16 and Pan-American Youth Open Under 16

9th Grade

          What is your biggest accomplishment in chess? Achieving the IM title. Who is your favorite player? Magnus Carlsen. Name your top 3 favorite chess events to play in. St. Louis Chess Club tournaments; Spice Cup; World Open. What were you most looking forward to about this international event? I didn't plan to attend. What do you like to do when you are not playing chess? Math, tennis.

WIM Rochelle Wu

World Youth Girls Under 14 and Pan-American Youth Girls Under 14

8th Grade

          What is your biggest accomplishment in chess? Becoming a gold medalist in the 2016 World Cadet Championship GU10. Who is your favorite player? Magnus Carlsen. Name your top 3 favorite chess events to play in. World Cadet/Youth, U.S. Juniors, and U.S. Amateur Team. What were you most looking forward to about this international event? Vacationing and making new friends. What is your best chess memory? My last round of 2016 World Cadet Championship. What do you like to do when you are not playing chess? Music (flute), hanging out with my friends, and watching movies.

IM Carissa Yip

World Youth Girls Under 18 and Pan-American Youth Girls Under 18

11th Grade

      What is your biggest accomplishment in chess? Youngest female American IM. Who is your favorite player? Alexander Grischuk. Name your top 3 favorite chess events to play in. U.S. Juniors, U.S. Women's, World Open (played in these multiple times). What were you most looking forward to about this international event? I was hoping to finally earn a gold medal at World Youth (I've tied for first before but got second on tiebreaks). What is your best chess memory? My best chess game memory would be when I beat Ju Wenjun at the Cairns Cup. What do you like to do when you are not playing chess? I have a variety of interests: I enjoy reading, baking, singing, and dancing.

Photo by Austin Fuller, courtesy of St. Louis Chess Club.

IM Christopher Yoo

World Youth Open Under 14 and Pan-American Youth Open Under 14

7th Grade

        What is your biggest accomplishment in chess? Youngest IM in U.S. history (at that time) or maybe becomimg California State Champ at age 11. Who is your favorite player? Mikhail Tal Name your top 3 favorite chess events to play in. St. Louis Spring/Summer/Fall/Winter Classic, Bay Area International, chess.com's World Puzzle Battle Championship. What were you most looking forward to about this international event? Seeing another country. What is your best chess memory? Winning the California State Championship (for adults) at age 11 by winning a crazy final game against a GM. What do you like to do when you are not playing chess? Table tennis, typing, composing endgame studies.

FM Liran Zhou

Pan-American Youth Open Under 12

6th Grade

      What is your biggest accomplishment in chess? World Cadets U12 Gold. Who is your favorite player? Magnus Carlsen. Name your top 3 favorite chess events to play in. Cherry Blossom Classic, World Cadets, Greater NY Scholastics What were you most looking forward to about this international event? To play chess which I haven't done for a long time. What is your best chess memory? My game against IM Roberto Martin Del Campo from the CCCSA Fall IM 2019. What do you like to do when you are not playing chess? Building Legos, programming, 3D printing.    

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