2023 Annual Samford Fellowships Announced

Frank P. Samford Jr. and Frank Samford III Chess Fellowships

The Frank P. Samford Jr. and Frank Samford III Chess Fellowships are pleased to announce the thirty-seventh consecutive annual awards. The Fellowships were created by the late Frank P. Samford Jr. of Birmingham, Alabama to advance the game he loved by identifying and assisting the most promising young chess masters in the United States.

Since its inception in 1987 the Samford, under the leadership of Frank Samford III, has been successful in promoting the chess careers of close to three dozen young Americans, many of whom have gone on to become grandmasters, members of the U.S. Olympiad Chess Team and United States Chess Champions. Four of the five members of the 2018 silver-medal winning U.S. Olympiad team were Samford Fellows.

The Fellowships are open to American chessplayers who are under the age of twentyfive at the start of the Fellowships, July 1, 2023, and have been permanent residents of the U.S. for at least one year prior to that date. Leadership of the Fellowship program is provided by Mr. Samford Jr’s grandson, Paul Samford of Atlanta, Georgia, with the able help of Al Lawrence of the U.S. Chess Trust.

The 2023 Samford Chess Fellows will receive expense money for training by leading chess coaches, chess books, computer equipment and other study materials as well as opportunities to travel and compete in tournaments and matches at the highest levels. The yearly value of the Fellowships (including training, study materials and tournament travel) is $70,000. The Fellowships are given for a one-year term. Individuals may apply more than one year and are eligible for maximum funding up to, but not exceeding, $82,000.
The 2023 Samford Fellows will be selected by the Samford Chess Fellowship Committee (“Committee”), consisting of Paul Samford, grandmaster Yury Shulman and international master John Donaldson. Each applicant, who can be male or female, must be able to demonstrate talent, achievement and commitment to chess. He or she must be willing to make the effort required to become a leading grandmaster and possible challenger for the world chess championship. For further details and an application form write to:

John Donaldson, Secretary   Samford Chess Fellowship
1623 ½ Martin Luther King Junior Way
Berkeley, CA 94709            

Or: ( 510) 644-1285 and imwjd@aol.com
Completed applications for the 2023 Fellowship must be received no later than May 15, 2023. The Committee expects to announce the winner in June, 2023. All decisions by the Committee will be final.

Samford Fellows

IM Carissa Yip (2020, 2021, 2022 Samford Fellow) is one of the top female chess players in America. Known for her creativity over the board, Yip has been breaking records ever since she learned how to play the chess from her father at age 6. At age 9, she became the youngest ever female to reach the Expert level. She broke the record for youngest female to earn the National Master title at the age of 11 years, 5 months, and 18 days.

IM Carissa Yip Chess Olympiad 2022 Photo Copyright Dora Martinez

GM Wesley So (2016 Samford Fellow) a two time US Champion (2017, 2021) and former chess prodigy who became the youngest player to pass the 2600 threshold in October 2008, breaking the record previously held by Magnus Carlsen. He represented the US in the 2016 Olympiad, winning team gold and individual gold on board three.

GM Wesley So Chess Olympiad 2022 Photo Copyright Dora Martinez

GM Irina Krush (2008 Samford Fellow) is the highest rated female in the United States, winning the U.S. Women’s Championship seven times! She has represented the USA in the 2002, 2004 and 2008 Chess Olympiads.

GM Irina Krush Chess Olympiad 2022 Photo Copyright Dora Martinez
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