Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova, originally from Uzbekistan, has been on the Mizzou Chess Team since its founding in 2019, but she has been playing chess since she was 3 years old. Chess is a huge tradition in her family. Her sisters are professional chess players, motivating her to strive for the same thing and hone her skills at MU.
Back in her home country, she won many achievements including being named the No. 1 women's chess player in Uzbekistan. She had her own team and coach, mostly consisting of family members, but she still chose to come to MU when the university offered her a chess scholarship.
Now that she majors in business, she must balance the responsibilities of chess with her new academic life. Being on the chess team requires attending rigorous practices and tournaments and practicing on your own. However, Begim, as she goes by, holds her own. As one of the few women in the Mizzou Chess Program, she continuously must prove that women are equal and worthy opponents in chess. Not many women go into professional chess, but Begim’s career shows how promising that path can be.