Darcy Linde

Darcy, a junior at the University of Chicago majoring in Physics, has been playing chess passionately from the age of 5. Currently, he is the President of the Chess Club at the University of Chicago where he also shares his enjoyment of learning and his love for the game. Along with playing chess, Darcy enjoys competing in a variety of sports, playing music, and drawing.

Gabriel Baznik

Raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Gabriel is entering his third year at American University in Washington DC, where he is studying International Relations. He always loved chess, and joined his school’s chess club in kindergarten. He began to play competitively in high school, and ultimately became his high school’s team captain, leading his club to numerous victories. Despite the apparent differences between chess and international relations, Gabriel has been able to apply the skills in analyzing and strategical thinking that he developed from playing chess to international relations. On top of playing chess and other mind-games, Gabriel loves to memorize maps and demographic information about foreign nations, as well as read novels, travel, in addition to turning everything into a political debate (including chess).

Joe Fennessey

From Chicago, Illinois, Joe is entering his third year at the University of Chicago and is planning to double major in Mathematics and Economics. He picked up chess later in life, starting during his first year of high school, but quickly became passionate about the game and has reached a peak rating of 2045 and achieved the USCF title of Chess “Expert”. He believes that chess has helped him improve in the classroom and that being a good student has also helped him to improve his chess. Joe enjoys teaching chess, and in his free time also likes running and watching football, especially the Chicago Bears.

Pablo Balsinde

Pablo is a junior at the University of Chicago studying Economics and Philosophy. He is from Madrid (where he is state champion) and has been playing chess ever since he can remember. Besides chess, he participates in many other mind-engaging activities, such as reading, writing, or idly thinking.

Sharan Subramanian

Hailing from Solon, Ohio, Sharan is a junior at the University of Chicago who will be majoring in Public Policy and Economics. He began playing chess in middle school and was immediately hooked on the sport after his first tournament; Sharan is a “Class A” chess player and is currently ranked in the top 3% of all junior players in the USA. Chess has helped him in many ways, and he started Invest in Chess because is passionate about teaching chess to others and spreading its benefits. In his free time, Sharan likes to play the piano, run, and watch Cleveland sports.

Steven Cooklev

Steven is from Fort Wayne, Indiana, and is currently a junior at the University of Chicago majoring in Economics. In 2010, he became the youngest-ever Indiana State Chess Champion. In 2013, he earned the National Master (NM) title, and most recently, he won his first open tournament at the 2015 Chicago Class Championship.

Yuta Kakutani

Born and raised in New York City, Yuta is a junior at the University of Chicago who plans to major in both Physics and Mathematics. He began playing chess when he was only five years old, and he has become a three-time national champion since then. Chess, he believes, has improved his analytic thinking, creativity, and discipline. On top of teaching chess, Yuta enjoys rollerblading in the park, playing tower defense games, and watching shows on Comedy Central.