Rachael Li and Alice Lee, Both 8, Reach Expert Rating

In an indication of the growing popularity and power of girls in chess, two eight-year-olds cracked the 2000 threshold in chess rating within one day of each other, reaching the “Expert” designation. https://twitter.com/USChessWomen/status/1046227197323870209 Rachael Li of Plano, Texas, and Alice Lee of North Oaks, Minnesota, are in rarified air as less than 2% of all chess players have reached the 2000 rating, and only .004% of players under the age of 19 carry the Expert’s rating. No other girl this young has achieved this distinction in the 79-year history of US Chess. Rachael is a few months younger than Alice, who turns nine in November. The synchronicity may not be pure coincidence. https://twitter.com/JenShahade/status/1046517141414047744 Rachael turns nine in January, which makes her eligible for the Under 8 Section at the upcoming World Cadet Championship in Spain (November 3-16). The U.S. team will be sponsored by Two Sigma. Rachael said she plans to warm up with the Dallas Open and a few other local tournaments in longer time controls. Rachael sent US Chess the victory that tipped her over expert, as well as a couple of other games she was happy with.

[Event "DCC FRIDAY "]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2018.09.21"]
[White "Moore, Alex"]
[Black "Li, Rachael"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D00"]
[WhiteElo "2133"]
[BlackElo "1983"]
[PlyCount "47"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[Source "MonRoi"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Bf4 e6 3. e3 d5 4. Nd2 Bd6 5. Bg3 c5 6. c3 Nc6 7. Bd3 Bxg3 8. hxg3
h6 9. Ngf3 O-O 10. dxc5 e5 11. e4 Be6 12. exd5 Bxd5 13. Bc4 e4 14. Nd4 Ne5 15.
Bxd5 Nd3+ 16. Kf1 Qxd5 17. b4 a5 18. N2b3 axb4 19. cxb4 Qc4 20. Qc2 Qxb4 21.
Nf5 Ng4 22. f3 Ngf2 23. Rh4 Qb5 24. Kg1 1/2-1/2[/pgn]

[Event "U.S Open"]
[Site "?"]
[Date "2018.08.03"]
[White "Marissa Li"]
[Black "Rachael Li"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A61"]
[WhiteElo "2065"]
[BlackElo "1956"]
[PlyCount "82"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]
[Source "MonRoi"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 c5 3. d5 e6 4. Nc3 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nf3 g6 7. Bf4 Bg7 8. h3
O-O 9. e3 a6 10. a4 Re8 11. Nd2 Nbd7 12. Be2 Ne5 13. O-O Qc7 14. Bh2 b6 15. Re1
Bb7 16. f4 Ned7 17. e4 Re7 18. Rc1 Rae8 19. b3 h5 20. Bg3 Bh6 21. Bh2 Bg7 22.
g4 hxg4 23. hxg4 Nf8 24. g5 N6d7 25. Nc4 b5 26. Nd2 Qa5 27. Ncb1 Bd4+ 28. Kg2
Nb6 29. axb5 axb5 30. Bg1 Bxd5 31. Bxd4 cxd4 32. Bf3 Ne6 33. Kg3 Nc5 34. Rxc5
dxc5 35. Rh1 Bxe4 36. Qg1 Bxf3 37. Nxf3 Re2 38. Ne5 Qa2 39. Ng4 R8e3+ 40. Nxe3
Rxe3+ 41. Kh4 Qe2 0-1


[Event "Southwest open"]
[Site "DFW"]
[Date "2018.09.01"]
[White "Li, Rachael"]
[Black "Martinez, Pierre"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "C41"]
[WhiteElo "1956"]
[BlackElo "1968"]
[PlyCount "85"]
[EventDate "2005.??.??"]
[Source "MonRoi"]

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 e5 4. Nf3 Nbd7 5. Be2 c6 6. O-O Be7 7. h3 Qc7 8. Be3
h6 9. Qd2 Nf8 10. Rad1 Ne6 11. Rfe1 g5 12. d5 Nf4 13. Bxf4 gxf4 14. dxc6 bxc6
15. Bc4 Rg8 16. Kh2 Rb8 17. Bb3 Qd7 18. Qe2 Ng4+ 19. Kh1 Rxb3 20. axb3 h5 21.
Qf1 Qe6 22. Nh2 Qg6 23. Nf3 Bd8 24. Na4 Be7 25. c4 Nf6 26. Nc3 Nh7 27. c5 dxc5
28. Nxe5 Qe6 29. Nf3 Qg6 30. Ne2 Qh6 31. Ra1 a6 32. Nc3 Qg6 33. Rad1 Nf8 34. e5
Be6 35. Ne4 Bd5 36. Nf6+ Bxf6 37. exf6+ Ne6 38. Ra1 Qxf6 39. Rxa6 Kd7 40. Ra7+
Kd6 41. Ne5 Bxg2+ 42. Qxg2 Qxe5 43. Rxe5 1-0[/pgn]
GM Ruifeng Li accepting the 2016 National Open trophy, with Rachael and their father, Photo Tim Hanks
Rachael's older brother Ruifeng Li, a 17-year-old Grandmaster, earned the Expert title at the age of 9.
Rachael Li ,here at age six, at the National Open in Las Vegas, Photo Tim Hanks
International Arbiter Franc Guadalupe, former US Chess Executive Director told CLO, "I have seen Rachael at tournaments I direct here in Texas since she was four as well as another local star, Emily Nguyen, and it is great to see them develop into great players."
Rachael Li and Emily Nguyen, both of Texas, shake hands
Alice will also be playing in the World Cadets. Alice’s advice to other girls? “Study hard and be determined.” She obviously followed this advice herself as only a scant two years ago she carried a beginner’s rating of 423. Here's the game that put Alice over the 2000 mark.

[Event "Exerciser Quad #12, September 2018"]
[Site "Chess Castle"]
[Date "2018.09.29"]
[White "Lee, Alice"]
[Black "Voje, Daniel"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E40"]
[WhiteElo "1978"]
[BlackElo "2024"]
[PlyCount "85"]
[EventDate "2018.??.??"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 Ne4 5. Qc2 f5 6. Bd3 Nxc3 7. bxc3 Ba5 8.
Nf3 O-O 9. O-O Nc6 10. e4 Ne7 11. Bg5 f4 12. Qa4 b6 13. Qa3 c5 14. dxc5 h6 15.
cxb6 hxg5 16. Qxa5 g4 17. Ne5 Nc6 18. Nxc6 dxc6 19. Rad1 Qe7 20. e5 f3 21. g3
Qg5 22. h4 gxh3 23. Kh2 Rf7 24. Be4 Bb7 25. bxa7 c5 26. Bxb7 Rxb7 27. Qxc5
Rbxa7 28. Qc6 Qf5 29. Qd6 Rxa2 30. c5 Re2 31. c6 Kh7 32. c7 Qc2 33. Qd4 Rc8 34.
Qh4+ Kg6 35. Qg4+ Kh6 36. Qxh3+ Kg5 37. Qh4+ Kf5 38. Qf4+ Kg6 39. Qg4+ Kh6 40.
Qxe6+ Kh7 41. Qh3+ Kg6 42. Qg4+ Kh6 43. Rd6+ 1-0[/pgn]
For press inquiries, contact Director of Strategic Communications Dan Lucas (dlucas@uschess.org). Find out more about the US Chess Women's Initiative here, and follow our US Chess Women feeds on twitter and instagram. 

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