IM Irina Krush

  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Age:
    26
  • Residence:
    Brooklyn, NY
  • Birthplace:
    Ukraine
  • Rating:
    2521
  • Title:
    International Master
Chess Highlights:
Two-time U.S. Women’s Champion (youngest winner ever at age 14); Member of 2004 Silver Medal U.S. Olympiad Team and 2008 Bronze Medal Team

Irina Krush looks forward to chess matches, but doesn’t spend much time contemplating her chess success or failures. “I’m more attached to my future accomplishments.” She said she enjoys the challenge of playing grandmasters most. “When you beat a strong GM, that's when you feel like you can play chess.” Krush was the only female player to compete in the 2010 U.S. Championship, and turned in an impressive 12th place finish, narrowly missing another GM norm.

IM Anna Zatonskih

  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Age:
    32
  • Residence:
    Long Island, NY
  • Birthplace:
    Ukraine
  • Rating:
    2518
  • Title:
    International Master
Chess Highlights:
2009 U.S. Women's Champion, Three-Time U.S. Women’s Champion; Gold Individual Medal in 2008 Chess Olympiad

Anna Zatonskih is the reigning U.S. Women's Champion. last year, she won the U.S. Women's Championship with a dominating score of 8.5/9 and took home $15,000. She is described in a U.S. Chess Federation biography as an intense competitor who has trouble sleeping at night during tournaments because she ponders the next day’s games. 

Anna said her chess highlights include the 2004 silver medal and the 2008 bronze she helped the U.S. team win at the Chess Olympics.

WFM Tatev Abrahamyan

  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Age:
    22
  • Residence:
    Glendale, CA
  • Birthplace:
    Armenia
  • Rating:
    2403
  • Title:
    Woman FIDE Master
Chess Highlights:
2004 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship Runner-Up; 2008 and 2005 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship Third Place; 2006 Pan-Am U18 (Perfect Score)

Tatev Abrahamyan started playing chess at 8 after her father took her to the Chess Olympiad games in 1996. There she met Grandmaster Judit Polgar, arguably the greatest woman player of all time and the only woman in the tournament. “I was in complete awe,” Tatev said. “My first thought was, ‘I want to be just like her.’” She was soon playing competitively among the top players her age in Europe and has played in the U.S. Women’s Chess Championship six times.

WGM Camilla Baginskaite

  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Age:
    43
  • Residence:
    Sioux Falls, SD
  • Birthplace:
    Lithuania
  • Rating:
    2387
  • Title:
    Woman Grandmaster
Chess Highlights:
1987 Worlds Under 20 Champion; 2000 U.S. Women’s Chess Champion; Six Chess Olympiads

In a tournament dominated by players in their late teens and early 20s, Camilla Baginskaite stands out. She is 42, making her five years older than anyone else in the field. She says there’s a “very simple” explanation for the relatively few peers her age in the top ranks: “They don’t have time for that.” She calls her own time for practice “uneven,” adding, “Sometimes I don’t practice at all.” The rigors of chess also can take a toll on more seasoned players. “Chess is more sporty than people realize,” she says. “It requires a lot of energy.”

WGM Sabina Foisor

  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Age:
    20
  • Residence:
    Baltimore, MD
  • Birthplace:
    Romania
  • Rating:
    2356
  • Title:
    Woman Grandmaster
Chess Highlights:
Multiple Romania girls “under age” champion; 2004 Multiple Romanian and European champion in blitz and rapid; finished in top 20 at European Chess Championship in 2007, qualifying her for the World Chess Championship

Sabina Foisor has been a chess dynamo since starting around age 4. While her parents have been her biggest chess influence, she says her favorite players are Gary Kasparov and the late Bobby Fischer. Like many players, she has traveled the globe playing in tournaments, but 2009 will be her first time in the U.S. Women’s Chess Championship. Her main goal in chess is to become one of the top 20 women players in the world.

WIM Alisa Melekhina

  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Age:
    18
  • Residence:
    Philadelphia, PA
  • Birthplace:
    Ukraine
  • Rating:
    2323
  • Title:
    Woman International Master
Chess Highlights:
Represented the U.S. in Eight Consecutive World Youth Tournaments and Three Pan-American; Youngest Participant in 2007 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship

Alisa Melekhina was the youngest player in the U.S. Women’s Chess Championship two years ago, and is still the youngest today. That’s what you might expect from someone who started playing at age 5 and entered her first tournament at age 7. In less than three years, she was winning prestigious international tournaments. 

Alisa has already earned an International Master norm, which she considers her top chess accomplishment so far, but her ultimate goal is to become a grandmaster.

WGM Katerina Rohonyan

  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Age:
    26
  • Residence:
    Seattle, WA
  • Birthplace:
    Ukraine
  • Rating:
    2322
  • Title:
    Woman Grandmaster
Chess Highlights:
2008 Bronze Medal: U.S. Olympic Team

Katerina Rohonyan moved from Ukraine to Baltimore in 2004 for a chess scholarship at the University of Baltimore County. This turned out to be lucky for the 2008 American Olympic team, as Rohonyan was a key member of the bronze medal squad. Katerina has an aggressive style and uses razor-sharp openings like the Open Sicilian as White and the Sveshnikov and the Benko as Black. Rohonyan enjoys dynamic positions and therefore earns better results, even if she's not always up on the hottest theory. She advises CLO readers: "It's nothing to play a sharp opening--you just need to be brave."

WIM Iryna Zenyuk

  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Age:
    24
  • Residence:
    Pittsburgh, PA
  • Birthplace:
    Ukraine
  • Rating:
    2286
  • Title:
    Woman International Master
Chess Highlights:
First Woman to Win Jerry Simon Memorial (2006); 2007 MVP of NY Knights Chess Team and Best 4th Board; 2450 Rating in 2008 Berkeley International

Iryna Zenyuk has two huge goals in life: To be a chess champion and to help the environment. She has a good start on her chess goal, ranking as one of the top 10 women players in the U.S. And she is active with her second goal too, currently pursuing a master’s and eventually a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University. She plans to use the degree to develop ways to make renewable energy more prevalent. Iryna defines her interests this way: Chess is her love, it’s fun. But mechanical engineering will give her the means to give back to society.

WFM Abby Marshall

  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Age:
    19
  • Residence:
    Newport News, VA
  • Birthplace:
    Pittsburgh, PA
  • Rating:
    2211
  • Title:
    Woman FIDE Master
Chess Highlights:
2009 Denker Champion (first-ever female champion), Two-time winner of the Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls

Abby Marshall made an inspirational move for American girls in chess at the age of 18, by winning the 2009 Denker Tournament of High School Champions. This invitational tournament has been conducted since 1984 and Abby was the first female ever to win it. Although she has only just begun to reach her full potential, Abby is widely admired for her love of the King's Gambit and her frank writing style.

WIM Beatriz Marinello

  • Status:
    Accepted
  • Age:
    46
  • Residence:
    New York
  • Birthplace:
    Chile
  • Rating:
    2206
  • Title:
    Woman International Master
Chess Highlights:
1993 Interzonal (Indonesia), 1991 Interzonal (former Yugoslovia)

Beatriz Marinello started playing chess at 13 and, when she was just 16, became a National Women's Champion of Chile. She was named a WIM in 1980. 

After moving to the U.S. in 1990, Marinello represented the United States at the 1991 Interzonal in former Yugoslavia and the 1993 Interzonal in Indonesia. She also represented the United States in the 1994 Chess Olympiad held in Moscow. She was elected to the Executive Board of the U.S. Chess Federation in 2003, and served as USCF President from 2003 to 2005.