Chess Team Makes History With ‘Final Four’ Victory

UT Dallas is Only University to Hold Top College Titles for 2 Years in a Row

April 6, 2008

The UT Dallas chess team made history Sunday when it defeated the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, to retain its title of Intercollegiate Chess Champion of the Final Four.

It was the second consecutive year that the UT Dallas team has won both the Final Four and the Intercollegiate Pan-American titles.   No college team before has held the U.S. and the Western Hemisphere titles for two years running.

UT Dallas President David Daniel flew to Baltimore to watch his team’s third-round victory in the tournament, which was held at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) campus.

The UT Dallas team had entered Round 3 with a narrow, ½-point lead.  Davorin Kuljasevic and Marko Zivanic dispatched their opponents to help give UT Dallas a 2.5-1.5 victory  over UMBC in the round, broadening the team’s lead and clinching the overall tournament win.

 “Unquestionably, the MVP this year was International Master Marko Zivanic from the Dallas team,” said UT Dallas chess program director Jim Stallings. “He produced a perfect 3-0 score. That was the best of anyone in the tournament.”

“Making the accomplishment even more remarkable, he did it by playing the black pieces in each round,” Stallings said.  “That put him at a slight disadvantage in every game.”

The other UT Dallas team members, all of who had at least one win in the tournament, were Alejandro Ramirez, Magesh Panchanathan, Drasko Boskovic and John Bartholomew.  UMBC hosted the three-round tournament on its campus in Baltimore.

The final standings were:

  1. UT Dallas, 9.5 - 2.5.
  2. UMBC, 8.0 - 4.0.
  3. Miami Dade County, 3.5 – 8.5.
  4. New York University, 3.0 – 9.0.

The President’s Cup, or Final Four, pits the top four college chess teams against one another.

UT Dallas had been behind when Round 1 concluded Friday, trailing arch-rival UMBC by 1/2 point. 

But on Saturday, the tables were turned.  UMBC lost the lead when UT Dallas finished the second round 3.5 to 0.5 against opponent NYU.  UMBC defeated Miami Dade, but racked up fewer points, giving UT Dallas a half-point lead in the tournament.

Stallings credited Coach Rade Milovanovic with the win.  “Each round he rotates the line-up,” Stalling said. “This allowed team members to rest and it keeps the competition guessing as to who they would next face across the board.”


Media contact: Meredith Dickenson, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2293, meredith.dickenson@utdallas.edu
and the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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Marko Zivanic
Marko Zivanic helped UT Dallas win the title by beating all three of his opponents to score a perfect 3-0. “That was the best of anyone in the tournament,” said Jim Stallings, director of the UT Dallas chess program.

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