GM Ray Robson

  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Age:
    15
  • Residence:
    Clearwater, FL
  • Birthplace:
    Guam
  • Rating:
    2613
  • Title:
    Grandmaster
Chess Highlights:
2009 World Team Championship: Silver, 2009 U.S. Junior Champion, 2008 Miami Open, National Champion - Elementary Division, 2005 Super Nationals, tied for first in 2005 and 2006 Pan-American Youth Championships

Ray Robson looks to defend his title at this year's U.S. Junior Closed Championship. His win last year earned him an automatic bid into the 2010 U.S. Championship, and his big tournament experience makes him a strong favorite to repeat as champion at this year's event

IM Sam Shankland

  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Age:
    18
  • Residence:
    Berkeley, CA
  • Birthplace:
    United States
  • Rating:
    2563
  • Title:
    International Master
Chess Highlights:
2009 Champion of State Champions, 2009 Philadelphia International, 2008 World Under 18 co-champion, 2008 CalChess State Champion

Sam Shankland, 18, enters the 2010 U.S Junior Closed Championship second by rating, and his big tournament experience at the 2009 and 2010 U.S. Championship make him the top contender to unseat Ray Robson as the Junior Champ.

FM John Bryant

  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Age:
    18
  • Residence:
    Dallas, TX
  • Birthplace:
    United States
  • Rating:
    2487
  • Title:
    FIDE Master
Chess Highlights:
2010 Lina Grumette Memorial Day Classic, 2010 Capablanca Memorial (T-1st)

FM John Bryant, the step son of GM Enrico Sevillano, has been steadily gaining experience and rating points over the past few years.

John currently resides in Tehachapi, Calif., but will be returning to the University of Dallas at Texas where he plays on their first-rate chess team.  

His tournament highlights include clear first at Lina Grumette Memorial Day Classic '10 (LA) and a tie for first at the Capablanca Memorial '10 in northern California.

FM Steven Zierk

  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Age:
    16
  • Residence:
    Bay Area, CA
  • Birthplace:
    United States
  • Rating:
    2428
  • Title:
    FIDE Master
Chess Highlights:
2009 Western States Open, 2008 CalChess Scholastic Champ (K-12), 2001 World Open (U1400), 2007 CalChess Scholastic Champ (K-8), 2001 CalChess Scholastic Champ (K-3)

FM Steven Zierk, 16, lives in Bay Area, Calif., and attends Los Gatos High School. Steven earned the FIDE Master title in 2009, and coming into the tournament ranked fourth by rating, he is a strong contender to make a run at this year's Junior Closed Championship.

FM Darwin Yang

  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Age:
    13
  • Residence:
    Plano, TX
  • Birthplace:
    United States
  • Rating:
    2422
  • Title:
    FIDE Master
Chess Highlights:
2010 Spring SPICE Cup, 2009 World Youth Champ. (Bronze), 2008 national Junior High Championship (2nd), Pan-American Championship

13-year-old Darwin Yang began learning the game of chess in 2004 and, since 2006, he has increased his rating more than 500 points to over 2400. Darwin secured his first IM norm in the Spring SPICE Cup at Texas Tech University in March. At just 13, he is the youngest player competing in the 2010 U.S. Junior Closed Championship.

Just last year, Darwin secured a bronze medal at the 2009 World Youth Championship. Currently, he is the highest-rated player in the country for the 13-year-old age group, and has been steadily gaining rating points and racking up wins.

FM Warren Harper

  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Age:
    20
  • Residence:
    Tucson, AZ
  • Birthplace:
    United States
  • Rating:
    2412
  • Title:
    FIDE Master
Chess Highlights:
2007 Denker Invitational, 2007 Cadet Invitational

Warren Harper started playing chess quite late by current chess standards. He was 13 when he first learned the game by playing against his dad, but he didn't play his first rated game until 2004. He credits his high-school chess coach, Sam Palatnik, with much of his success and his sharp rise in rating.

FM Conrad Holt

  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Age:
    16
  • Residence:
    Wichita, KS
  • Birthplace:
    United States
  • Rating:
    2411
  • Title:
    FIDE Master
Chess Highlights:
IM Norm at 2010 World Open, 2008 U.S. Cadet Championship

Conrad Holt won the 2008 U.S. Cadet Championship and, recently, put on a stellar performance at the 2010 World Open in Philadelphia to secure an IM norm. Conrad currently resides in Wichita, Kan., and is looking to follow up his 2010 World Open performance with a win at the 2010 U.S. Junior Closed.

FM Warren Harper

  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Age:
    19
  • Residence:
    Tucson, AZ
  • Birthplace:
    United States
  • Rating:
    2388
  • Title:
    FIDE Master
Chess Highlights:
2007 Denker Invitational, 2007 Cadet Invitational

Warren Harper started playing chess quite late by current chess standards. He was 13 when he first learned the game by playing against his dad, but he didn't play his first rated game until 2004. He credits his high-school chess coach, Sam Palatnik, with much of his success and his sharp rise in rating.

NM Tyler Hughes

  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Age:
    19
  • Residence:
    Wheat Ridge, CO
  • Birthplace:
    United States
  • Rating:
    2386
  • Title:
    National Master
Chess Highlights:
2008 U.S. Junior Championship, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 Colorado High School Champion, 2004 U.S. Expert Champion

Tyler Hughes learned from his father how to play chess when he was just 5. He won the 2008 U.S. Junior Chess Championship and represented the U.S. at the World Junior Chess Championship in Turkey. Hughes, who is homeschooled, studies under coach GM Petr Kiriakov. He learned chess at 5 and became more interested after reading his first chess book and realizing study would improve his game.

NM Parker Zhao

  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Age:
    16
  • Residence:
    Manhattan, NY
  • Birthplace:
    Australia
  • Rating:
    2382
  • Title:
    National Master
Chess Highlights:
IM norm at the New England Masters

Parker Zhao, 15, currently lives in Manhattan and, outside of playing and studying chess, he enjoys learning foreign languages and running. He said he most admires the play of his coach, 2010 U.S. Championship competitor Alex Stripunsky. 

NM Eric Rosen

  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Age:
    16
  • Residence:
    Chicago, IL
  • Birthplace:
    United States
  • Rating:
    2209
  • Title:
    National Master
Chess Highlights:
2009 U.S. Junior Open Championship, 2009 U.S. Open (1st-U2300), 2010 Denker Rep (Illinois)

Eric Rosen earned his spot into the 2010 U.S. Junior Closed Championship by winning the 2009 U.S. Junior Open Championship. He seeks to continue his run of strong performances with a solid showing against a strong field of competitors. Eric's first victory against a grandmaster came in a miniature against GM John Fedorowicz in 2009 at the U.S. Open, a tournament in which he finished 1st U2300.