UT Dallas to Compete in Seventh
‘Final Four’ of College Chess

March 24-25 Tournament is Rematch of Last Year’s Contest

March 15, 2007

In a rare rematch, The University of Texas at Dallas will attempt to retain its standing as the best team in U.S. intercollegiate chess later this month when it again takes on The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), Duke University and Miami Dade College in the “Final Four” chess tournament in Dallas.  

The same lineup made it to the Final Four last year.  The teams earned the right to compete in this year’s competition by finishing among the top four U.S. teams in December at the 2006 Pan American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship, the most prestigious college chess competition held each year in the Western Hemisphere.  UT Dallas won that tournament overwhelmingly.

The winner of the round-robin Final Four, which will be held in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for the third time in the tournament’s history, will take home the President’s Cup chess trophy.  The event is free and open to the public and is scheduled to take place the weekend of March 24-25 in the Centreport Room of the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport Marriott South Hotel, located at 4151 Centreport Boulevard in Fort Worth.  Both Saturday’s and Sunday’s matches will begin at 10 a.m., and Saturday’s second round will start at 6 p.m.

“We knew second-ranked UMBC would not take their devastating defeat at the December Pan-Am lightly,” said Jim Stallings, director of UT Dallas’ chess program.  “We now see that a new grandmaster has been enrolled at Maryland in January, and suddenly they have two grandmasters on boards one and two with higher ratings than our two grandmasters.  And Miami Dade and Duke may not be favorites, but they can certainly be dangerous spoilers.”

UT Dallas and UMBC will enter this year’s tournament “even,” according to Stallings, who is an expert-rated player and played with the University of Texas at Austin chess teams in 1969-1970.

“UMBC will have the advantage on boards one and two, but UT Dallas will have an edge on boards three and four,” Stallings added.

The UT Dallas team will be represented at the Final Four by two grandmasters on boards one and two — arts and technology major and sophomore Alejandro Ramirez and computer science graduate student Magesh Chandran Panchanathan.  On boards three and four will be international masters Marko Zivanic, a junior computer science major and Drasko Boskovic, a junior business administration major. Alternates will be international masters Dmitri Shneider, a senior finance major, and Davorin Kuljasevic, a sophomore business administration major. 

Rade Milovanovic, who is an international master, coaches the UT Dallas team.  This year, he plans to hold special, closed-door training sessions the week prior to the tournament.  Milovanovic likens the contest of UT Dallas and UMBC to boxers who “cannot wait to punch each other.”  Stallings noted, “By adding two alternates to the usual four team members, the coach will make preparation by the other teams more difficult since they will have to practice and study for more possibilities.  Some teams have no alternates, but we have bench strength, which the coach plans on using.”

A special added feature to this year’s match will allow the public to view the games live on a large “smart board” screen in the lobby of the UT Dallas McDermott Library.  The games will be projected, allowing team members to draw comments and diagrams about the chess pieces and positions.  These interactive WI-FI sessions are free, and rounds one and three will feature analysis by UT Dallas masters John Bartholomew, Keaton Kiewra, Igor Shneider and Jacek Stopa.  Fans unable to attend the games in person can view the matches live at the Internet Chess Club Web site, www.chessclub.com, or at www.monroi.com.  A program book with a complete listing of the teams and player line-ups is available at http://chessweb.utdallas.edu/.

UT Dallas’ chess team is part of a much broader chess program that includes, among other things, on-line chess instruction for teachers and courses about the use of chess in the classroom as an educational tool.

About UT Dallas

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls more than 14,500 students.  The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores.  The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs.  For additional information about UT Dallas, please visit the university’s website at www.utdallas.edu.


Contact Jenni Huffenberger, UTD, (972) 883-4431, jennib@utdallas.edu

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