Bobby Fischer began as a chess prodigy in his teens and went on to become the youngest "grandmaster," at 15. His participation in a politically controversial match in Yugoslavia led to the revocation of his U.S. passport and his arrest. He spent the final years of his life in Iceland.
Levon Aronian is an Armenian chess player who achieved the grandmaster title in 2000. Aronian, who currently plays for the US Chess Federation, earned the grandmaster title at age 17. Counted among the most decorated players of his generation, Levon Aronian is credited with leading the Armenian national team in several Chess Olympiads, winning gold in 2006, 2008, and 2012.
Apart from being an International Master in chess, Joshua Waitzkin has also won several medals in the martial art Taiji and is also a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. His life inspired the book Searching for Bobby Fischer and the movie of the same name. He has also penned two books.
Wilhelm Steinitz was an Austrian-born American chess player. He is recognized as the first World Chess Champion, having reigned from 1886 to 1894. A multi-talented personality, Wilhelm Steinitz was also an influential chess theoretician and writer. Steinitz is also remembered for having a huge impact on the game and was a well-known player during his time.
Wesley So is a Filipino-born American chess player who achieved the prestigious grandmaster title in 2008. He is best known for winning a silver medal at the 2010 Asian Games. In 2011, Wesley So won a gold medal and a silver medal at the Southeast Asian Games. He is also a three-time U.S. Chess Champion and three-time Philippine Chess Champion.
Maurice Ashley is a Jamaican-American author, chess player, and commentator. In 1999, Ashley became the first black person to achieve the prestigious Grandmaster title after defeating Adrian Negulescu. In 2016, Maurice Ashley was made an inductee of the US Chess Hall of Fame.
Jacqueline Piatigorsky was a French-American sculptor, chess player, philanthropist, author, and arts patron. As a chess player, Piatigorsky represented the USA in the first Women's Chess Olympiad, in 1957, where she won a bronze medal. An important patron of the arts, Jacqueline Piatigorsky helped raise money for the New England Conservatory of Music to create an award for deserving artists.