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.
Amazing! Two of the top three eight year old chessplayers in the 🇺🇸 are girls.
This is a great reminder that the bigger your competition, the better. I never would’ve won two US titles if not for Irina Krush.
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.
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.
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