About the SLU Chess Team

The founding members of the Saint Louis University chess team come from five different countries and hold dozens of honors.  

Cemil Can Ali Marandi

Freshman, College of Arts and Sciences
Home Country: Turkey

Cemil Can Ali Marandi has won his European Youth Chess Championship section five times in a row. He has worked with top trainers and plays for the Turkish team, in which he is one of the most promising talents. Currently an international master, he is quickly closing into his grandmaster title.

Nozima Aripova

Junior, College of Arts and Sciences
Home Country: Uzbekistan

Nozima Aripova comes from a chess family and has been practicing the sport since a very young age. She comes from a country with deep chess traditions, is a very studious player and person.

Francesco Rambaldi

Freshman, John Cook School of Business
Home Country: Italy

Francesco Rambaldi is the youngest player on SLU’s chess team. He represented Italy in a number of World Youth Championships and has established himself as a strong grandmaster. He obtained his grandmaster title at the age of 16 and has been growing as a player since.

Dariusz Swiercz

Junior, John Cook School of Business
Home Country: Poland

Dariusz Swiercz is the strongest player on SLU’s chess team, which makes him first board. Swiercz is one of the youngest chess grandmasters in history, obtaining his title at the age of 14. He won the 2011 World Junior Chess Championship gold medal and the 2016 Millionaire Chess Open.

Yaroslav Zherebukh

Graduate, John Cook School of Business
Home Country: Ukraine

Yaroslav Zherebukh has won numerous international tournaments, including Cappelle-la-Grande in France in 2010 ahead of 82 grandmasters and 650 players. His run in the 2011 World Cup, eliminating super-grandmasters Pavel Eljanov and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, cemented his reputation as a talented player. He recently won the Marshall Chess Club Championship and finished second in the American Grand Prix circuit for 2016.

Alejandro Ramirez


Alejandro Ramirez became a chess grandmaster at the age of 15 and gained international recognition playing in multiple Olympiads and World Championships before returning to his studies at the University of Texas in Dallas. He holds an M.A. in arts and technology, focusing on video game design. He took second place in the U.S. Chess Championship of 2013, and holds multiple major open victories, including the World Open and U.S. Open.


Recruitment continues for Saint Louis University’s chess team for both undergraduate and graduate players.

For more information on chess scholarships and the chess program at SLU, contact team coach Alejandro Ramirez at gmramirez@saintlouischessclub.org.