Chess Team’s Next Move Could Make History
Final Four Win Would Give UT Dallas Victories in Top Contests 2 Years in a Row
March 28, 2008
The UT Dallas chess team attempts something next month that has never been done before: winning the top two tournaments in the college chess world two years in a row.
UT Dallas won the Intercollegiate Chess Pan-American and Final Four championships last season and the Pan-American again in December. A victory at the Final Four Chess Tournament on April 5-6 would make chess history.
UT Dallas and archrival The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) have won or shared many titles over the years, but no one university has been able to completely dominate the major titles for two years.
The two powerhouses will compete with New York University (NYU) and Miami Dade College (MDC) in the “Final Four.” The winner of the round-robin tournament, which will be held in UMBC Commons Game Room, second floor, takes home the President’s Cup chess trophy.
“A new grandmaster enrolled at Maryland in January, and they now have a formidable three grandmasters on their top boards,” said Jim Stallings, director of UT Dallas’ chess program and chair of the U.S. Chess Federation College Chess Committee. “Miami Dade and NYU may not be statistically favored to win, but every game is important to the final outcome of the tournament.”
UMBC will enter this year’s tournament with a ratings advantage on boards1-3, “but UT Dallas will have a distinct edge on board 4,” Stallings added. “This should help in the other matches. It is the total points that determine the winner.”
The UT Dallas Chess team will be represented at the Final Four by two grandmasters on boards 1 and 2 — arts and technology junior Alejandro Ramirez and computer science graduate student Magesh Chandran Panchanathan. On boards 3 and 4 will be international masters Davorin Kuljasevic and Drasko Boskovic, both junior business administration majors. Alternates will be international masters Marko Zivanic, a junior computer science major, and John Bartholomew, a junior business administration major.
Chess coach Rade Milovanovic, who is an international master, will once again close off practice sessions for the Final Four for only those team members going on this trip. According to Milovanovic, “This is unlike other contests. We know exactly who will be playing whom. Each team member can prepare intensely for these three matches. You can get ready for their tricks. It is hard for a leopard to change his spots.”
Stallings noted, “Four- to five-hour chess games are physically very demanding. We have had consulting sessions with team trainers at UT Dallas. We have experimented and have devised approaches for our team members to remain strong throughout their matches. Contrary to what people may have read in the newspapers, these do not involve drugs. Also, Coach Milovanovic will again have strong International Masters that he can substitute as alternate boards.”
The public will be able to view the games live on a large screen in The Pub at the Student Union. These interactive WI-FI sessions are free; and, they will feature move-by-move analysis by UT Dallas masters Sal Bercys, Tautvydas Vedrickas, Mihail Bantic, Nelson Lopez, Keaton Kiewra, and Francisco Guadalupe.
Starting times for rounds will be: 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday, and 8 a.m. Sunday. Fans unable to attend the games in person can view the matches at the Internet Chess Club Web site or at www.monroi.com. A program book with a complete listing of the teams and player line-ups is available at the UT Dallas chess Web site. UT Dallas’ chess team is part of a broader chess program that includes on-line chess instruction for teachers and courses about the use of chess in the classroom as an educational tool.