Player Participants

Christopher Abrams is an artist, designer and educator whose work focuses primarily on constructing, programming, or engineering chance and unpredictability into otherwise ordered structures and environments.  He teaches 3D Design, Digital Media and Architectural Drawing at Brandeis University and Framingham State University.

Yonatan Akivis ’16 is a Brandeis Chess Club member and a Brandeis Genesis Institute fellow. A chemical biology major, Yonatan has played piano for 15 years and is an aspiring doctor.

Shannon Bailey is chief curator at the World Chess Hall of Fame in St. Louis, which hosted the most recent performance of The Burning Boards. She most recently served as the director of institutional giving at the Contemporary Art Museum Saint Louis. Shannon holds a masters degree in art history and museum studies from the Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Museum of Art joint program.

Joe DeFerrari ‘18 is from Hanover, Massachusetts and is leaning toward a major in economics. He is a member of the Brandeis Chess Club, No Singer Clef Behind, and University Chorus, is assistant event coordinator for the French Business & Lifestyle Club, and works for Library and Technology Services.

Jade Eckels ‘18 is double majoring in English and History. She is a Brandeis Bridges Fellow, English Language Learning Initiative Tutor, a student of the Global Perspectives Leader-Scholar Community, Community Advisor for the 2015-2016 school year, and an active member of the Women of Color Alliance and the Brandeis African Student Organization.  She also enjoys volunteering at the Waltham Family School.  She looks forward to improving her chess-playing skills.

Oyemen Ehikhamhen is a sophomore double majoring in business and in health, science, society, and policy. When she was younger she played chess at the library for fun. She stopped playing it for a while, but she has always been a competitor. She thinks that this experience will be amazing and she is happy she is not missing out!

Stacy Finley ’16 is a member of the first Brandeis Atlanta Posse and says, “I like this artsy stuff; the ability to release such positivity through so many mediums is a blessing only gifted to us humans. We must consume as much of it as possible.”

Jane Flores, a proud queer Filipina-American alumna of Boston Latin School, is excited that another Boston Latin alumnus is playing chess tonight. After 20 years in Jacksonville, Florida, Jane is pleased to reside in Cambridge and work in IT at Biogen.

Anahi Russo Garrido is the Allen-Berenson postdoctoral fellow in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Brandeis. Her research focuses on queer intimacy in Mexico City. She is the co-editor of Building Feminist Movements and Organizations and has published articles on queer Mexico City in WSQ, NWSA Journal and the Journal of Postcolonial Cultures and Societies.

Marvic “Marvy” Gomez ’17, majors in sociology and possibly gender studies. He learned to enjoy chess as a young boy and also plays baseball, basketball, and bowling (yes, bowling). He’s very easy to talk to and get to know so don’t be afraid to ask Marvy anything!

Zion Griffin ’15 is an anthropology major with minors in English and international and global studies. A Posse Scholar, Zion is passionate about social discourse, and has recently been accepted to the master's program in Sustainable International Development at the Heller School of Social and Economic Policy at Brandeis.

Yudong Jiang ’18 is an active member in the Brandeis Chess Club and in Beijing Loving Animals Foundation, the first anti-animal-abuse foundation in China. Yudong is considering majoring in math and chemistry and pursuing a career in academia.

Pete Jones, MA ‘13 (philosophy) lives in Waltham with the love of his life, Hannah Jones. He is a programmer for MEDITECH, where he supports the Data Repository application. He likes to read, play drums, spend time with Hannah and their dog Gus Gus, and of course, play chess! As a new member of the USCF, Pete recently played in his first rated tournament and looks forward to more.

Glenn Kaino (creator) is a Los Angeles-based conceptual artist who transforms common materials and forms through artworks that highlight the relationships between visual art and other creative disciplines. Drawing from his undergraduate education in computer science; his engagement with digital media technology; his professional experience in the music industry; his involvement in comic books and animation; and most recently, his rigorous training in magic, Kaino is able to engineer both objects and ephemera from fragments of other things, forging new relationships between diverse materials and ideas to uncover hidden truths and meanings—illusions that suggest new terrains of possibility. He was the chief creative officer of Napster, created the first online record label for Universal Music Group, and is cofounder of The Mistake Room, an itinerant platform for exhibitions, publications, and situation-specific artist projects.

Damian Lin ’17 is pursuing degrees in mathematics and computer science. He is an avid rock climber who dabbles in many other outdoor sports and runs the Brandeis Mountain Club. Damian enjoys volunteer work and French pastries, and is looking to do research in environmental engineering.

Larry List is a writer and independent curator of numerous projects, including Cage & Kaino: Pieces & Performances, The Imagery of Chess Revisited, 32 Pieces - The Art of Chess, Found Language, and Skin Trade. His upcoming projects include Man Ray & Sherrie Levine: A Dialogue and Takako Saito: Playing Seriously.

Lisa Lynch is Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at Brandeis University and the Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy and former Dean of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis. Provost Lynch has published extensively on issues such as the impact of technological change and organizational innovation (especially training) on productivity and wages, the determinants of youth unemployment, and the school to work transition.She has a BA in economics and political science from Wellesley College and an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

David Matthews ‘16 is majoring in physics with minors in music and math. He was a music performance major in New York (while working part-time caring for dogs) before transferring to Brandeis to pursue his scientific interests. David is the event coordinator for the Brandeis Chess Club.

Kelvin Mei ’18 is pursuing a computer science major along with a mathematics minor. He is an active member of the Brandeis Chess Club and Health and Fitness club. As for a career path, he plans to join startups and do game design.

Alaa Murad is from from Cairo, Egypt. She is a joint M.A. student in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Conflict and Coexistence, focusing on issues of gender and sexuality in religion, as well as identity construction in conflict situations. Alaa intends to use this research as a foundation for her PhD in Middle East Studies with a focus on women and gender. She loves chess, figure-skating and charcoal sketching.  

Evangelia (Evelyn) Panagakou is from Greece and performs research in Irv Epstein's Nonlinear Dynamics Group. She is the chair of the Young Researchers Network on Complex Systems, an association that organizes workshops, conferences and schools for Ph.D. students and postdocs working on Complex Systems.

Grandmaster Eugene Perelshteyn coaches the Brandeis Chess Team. He was born in Ukraine and learned chess from his father, a FIDE master. One of the top 30 players in the United States, Eugene is a regular contributor to and He is co-author of “Chess Openings for White, Explained” and “Chess Openings for Black, Explained.”  

Richard Prou is a second-year student at Brandeis University and a Massachusetts native. A first-generation American of Chinese and Cambodian descent, he hopes to attend medical school. Richard learned chess at age 13 and has been an enthusiast since. Other hobbies include playing tennis and basketball.

Samuel Sano is a senior at Boston Latin School and has just been accepted to Brandeis as a member of the class of 2019. He learned to play chess at age five and has enjoyed playing ever since.

Sigal "Siggy" Sax ’18 is considering a major in computer science, psychology, or health, science, society, and policy and planning to minor in Near Eastern and Judaic studies. She is the co-founder of Coalition Against Anti-Semitism in Europe (CAASE) and involved in BIPAC and intramural soccer. Sigal hopes to pursue a medical career focusing on military personnel.

Emily Scharf ‘16 is majoring in Creative Writing with a minor in environmental studies.  She is the music director of the a cappella group Too Cheap For Instruments and a student manager at the LTS Technology Help Desk. She hopes to pursue a career in writing and editing.

Devin Setyawan ’18 is an Indonesian-born Chinese student majoring in economics and business. He is the treasurer of the Brandeis Chess Club and loves to play badminton. He hopes to pursue a career in business.

Maria "Masha" Shaposhnikova ’18 is majoring in International & Global Studies and Computer Science. Masha is a distance runner as well as an aerial dancer. In the future, Masha hopes to become a translator/interpreter.

Maxwell Steinberg ’16 is majoring in Economics, with a minor in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Philosophy. He is Vice President of the Brandeis Chess Club, in addition to being president of the Greek Awareness Council at Brandeis University. He is hoping to pursue a career in finance.

Jhanezia Stevens aka Naya the Great is a Transitional Year Program alum and a fourth-year student at Brandeis. A double major in African and Afro-American Studies and Sociology, Naya has a significant interest in popular culture and theater and tries to insert activism into those spaces.

Nick Stevenson was born in Melbourne, Australia, and currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts. He is a graduate student in the Brandeis mathematics department. In his spare time he enjoys playing chess and the piano.

Tollan Renner is a candidate for a Master of Arts in International Economics and Finance. His teams were finalists in the Leveraged Buyout Case Competition, GMIC Stock Pitch Challenge, and Dean’s Forum Debate. Previously, as a registered representative he assisted clients with their personal investment accounts and investment decisions.

Jonah Trout ’15 is majoring in European cultural studies and anthropology. He is an undergraduate departmental representative for ECS and performs with the Brandeis Jazz Ensemble and the Brandeis-Wellesley Orchestra. Jonah is very excited to be participating in this installation.

Saadiya Usmani is a grad student in Conflict and Coexistence and a novice chess player who learned from her grandfather. Saadiya hopes to be the change she wishes in the world and is looking forward to polishing her skills through a great Burning Boards challenge!

Misha Vilenchuk ‘16 is majoring in Russian studies, Judaic studies, and European Cultural Studies and minoring in history. Misha is president of the Brandeis Chess Club, an active member in Brandeis Bridges, a Brandeis-Genesis Fellow, a Jerome A. Schiff Academic Fellow and co-founder of the Coalition Against Anti-Semitism in Europe (CAASE). Misha hopes to pursue a career in academia.

Wes Watters is a planetary scientist who studies planetary surface processes and teaches at Wellesley College, where he is also faculty advisor to the student chess club. He has been playing chess as an amateur since his childhood. His other hobbies include computational art and music.