Pep Rally Planned to Send Off Chess Team to Final Four
Team Member Conrad Holt Achieves Grandmaster Status in UT Dallas Invitational Tournament
Mar. 27, 2012
The UT Dallas chess team heads to Washington, D.C. this week for the Final Four of chess, also known as the President’s Cup.
Conrad Holt (left), shown playing GM Aleksandr Lenderman, qualified to become a Grandmaster during the tournament.
A pep rally featuring the team members and the UT Dallas cheerleaders is planned for Tuesday, March 27, at noon at the Student Union and Chess Plaza.
The chess team heads toward its season finale after a strong year, which included sweeping the Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship in December. Most recently, team member Conrad Holt reached the esteemed Grandmaster status at a tournament that the University hosted earlier this month.
From March 10 to 16, the team played in the UT Dallas Grandmaster Invitational, underwritten by Turner Construction Company. The tournament allowed UT Dallas players to face some of the top Grandmasters in the world.
“We are grateful to Turner Construction Company, Walker Engineering, 3i Construction and MIINC Mechanical Contractors for their support in making this tournament possible for the second year,” said Jim Stallings, director of the UT Dallas chess program.
Five visiting competitors from India, the Republic of Georgia, Mexico, Florida and New York came to Dallas for the Scheveningen-style event, which is rarely seen in U.S. competitions. The style requires that each player from one team plays each member of the opposing team. In this case, the five UT Dallas players met each visiting Grandmaster twice over 10 rounds.
After four rounds, the visiting team led by a point.
“The UT Dallas team came back strong with consecutive wins in rounds three and four to re-assert themselves. Players on both sides were going at it, tooth and nail,” Stallings said.
The sponsors join two UT Dallas Chess Team stars at the invitational tournament. From left: Matthew A. Papenfus, senior vice president of Turner Construction Co.; GM Julio Sadorra; GM-Elect Conrad Holt; and Glenn W. Anderson, executive director of the Educational Facilities Group at Turner.
Ultimately, the visiting team staved off the UT Dallas team for the win.
Some individual players had standout performances. Midway through the weeklong tournament, the two teams rested and took a trip to downtown Dallas for a friendly blitz tournament. On the 48th floor of Thanksgiving Tower, the teams played lighting-speed games while overlooking the new Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.
UT Dallas Grandmaster Julio Sadorra tied for first in the nine-round blitz tournament with teammate Holt.
Holt, who was an International Master going into the tournament, achieved Grandmaster status during the week. Grandmaster is the highest rank in the chess world, except for world champion. Players obtain the elite status by achieving the correct combination of added rating points and by defeating other grandmasters at sanctioned tournaments.
“I'm grateful to my family for supporting my chess, and to UT Dallas and the sponsors of the tournament for providing great opportunities to play. I am happy to achieve the GM title,” Holt said.
On March 31 and April 1, the team will go to the nation’s capital to play for the championship title.
Other schools vying for the title of best American chess team are New York University, University of Maryland – Baltimore County, and Texas Tech University.
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