In the fourth round of the 2021 U.S. Women’s Chess Championship, a 12-player round-robin featuring the strongest female chess players in the country, Carissa Yip ’22 defeated Irina Krush, the 2020 U.S. Women’s Chess Champion. Eight days later, Yip secured the 2021 U.S. Women’s Chess Champion title with a whole round to spare, ending with a score of 8.5 out of 11.
Earning $25,000 in prize money, she claimed her first national title while also becoming the first woman ever to defeat four former champions in the U.S. Women’s Championship. Her victories weren’t unforeseen, however, as she has previously placed 8th and 2nd in the past two years of this event.
In the closing ceremony, Yip touched upon her past memories in the tournament and the gratitude she holds for competing against the best players during the U.S. Chess Championships.
“I grew up following this tournament, I watched commentary everyday since I was eight. I remember the first time I played, I was twelve, 2016 U.S. Womens I was just so in awe of playing with all of the best women players in the country. Even 5 years later, I still hold them with great respect and it’s just so exciting to play against my idols, who I looked up to growing up. This is truly the highlight of my chess career, I never imagined that I could be up here but at the moment I couldn’t be happier,” said Yip.
Yip was the youngest female player ever to become a National Master at age eleven, just four years after starting her chess career at age seven. She was also awarded the title of youngest American female chess player to become a chess International Master, the second highest title for professional chess players. She also won a $10,000 scholarship at the 2019 Junior Girls’ Chess Championship and is now the highest-rated American female player.