Ruifeng Li Wins the National Open

National Open_-6

Organizer Janelle Losoff, Ruifeng Li, and Daniel Fridman. Photo: Tim Hanks.

While the prestigious National Open is usually dominated by experienced grandmasters, this year 14-year-old International Master Ruifeng Li took home the Edmondson Cup.

Li tied with Grandmaster Daniel Fridman for 1st place and won the championship trophy by tiebreaks. Along the way, Li defeated GM Ehsan Ghaemmaghami and drew against five-time U.S. Champion GM Gata Kamsky and GM Axel Bachmann (both of whom tied for 1st place at last year’s National Open).

Ruifeng Li vs. Five-time U.S. Champion Gata Kamsky

Ruifeng Li vs. Five-time U.S. Champion Gata Kamsky. Photo: Tim Hanks. 

Here is Li’s victory with the black pieces against GM Ghaemmaghami.

In addition to winning the entire tournament, Li won 1st place for Mixed Doubles team along with his six-year-old sister, Rachael, who tied for 7th in the under 1300 section.


Ruifeng Li and Rachel Li with their father, Photo Tim Hanks 

When asked who was stronger at age six between him and his sister, Li answered, “Definitely, she is stronger than I was: I didn’t even learn to play chess until I was older.”

Rachel Li_-2

Rachel Li, Photo Tim Hanks

Li also won the Freddie Prize for the best game played by a player under 15 years old, showing that he isn’t just capable of winning, he’s capable of very skillful attacking games. Here is his attacking victory against International Master Keaton Kiewra.

Recently, Li has been improving very rapidly. Within the last few months, he has won the Philadelphia Open, passed a US Chess rating of 2600 and a FIDE rating of 2500 for the first time, and achieved his first GM Norm.

Li considers his best game ever to be his victory against GM Michael Roiz where he sacrifices not one, but two rooks and bravely brings his king out to the center of the board.

Li will soon be competing in the US Junior Closed Championships, which begin on July 7th. He will be the 3rd seed and one of the youngest competitors.

GM Daniel Fridman

GM Daniel Fridman. Photo: Tim Hanks. 

Co-National Open Champion Daniel Fridman won both of his last two games against grandmasters to tie with Li with 5 points. Here is his last round key victory against GM Vasif Durarbayli.

Another memorable feat was achieved in the open section—U.S. Chess gained a new National Master. Ten-year-old Arthur Guo achieved his highest rating ever, 2216, after turning in a nearly 2400 performance. Along the way, he defeated Fide Master Matthew Beelby and drew against both Grandmaster James Tarjan and International Master John Bryant.

Photo: Tim Hanks

Upper Right: Arthur Guo. Photo: Tim Hanks.


Under Sections

Great performances extend beyond the open section. Here are the winners of the competitive under sections.

Under 2300

FM Alex Bian (5.5 points)

Under 2100

Dylan Quercia (5.5 points)

Under 1900

Jesus Alvarado (5.5 points)

Dennis Moore (5.5 points)

Fred Williams (5.5 points)

Under 1700

Dakim Vanterpool (5.5 points)

Isaac Balter (5.5 points)

Under 1500

Jonathan Liu (5.5 points)

Under 1300

Edwin Llamo (5.5 points)


Paulexander Elauria (6 points)

Here is Dylan Quercia’s exciting last round victory, which clinched clear first in the under 2100 section.

Game 10 Championship

In addition to the National Open, the Las Vegas Chess Festival has numerous unique events, including the U.S. Game 10 Championship.

The U.S. Game 10 Championship was won by Grandmaster Tigran Petrosian, who recently won the Grandmaster Blitz Battle Championship Qualifier, earning the right to play an online blitz match against Magnus Carlsen.

Although he lost the match to Carlsen, he dominated the field at the Game 10 Championship, going undefeated with 8 points out of 9—a full point ahead of all the other competitors.

Here is Petrosian’s last round victory in the main tournament against FM Pedram Atoufi.

Photo courtesy of Tim Hanks.

Photo: Tim Hanks.

For full standings and more information on the Las Vegas Chess Festival, visit the Official Website.


  1. Thank you, Vanessa! Another excellent report and tremendous selection of key games! Li v. Kievra 21. Nd5 got my attention! Janelle Losoff also needs to be commended for her tireless organizational work and world class chess promotion skills!

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