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UTD Is Going for 'Three-Peat' As Underdog
Rival UMBC, With Four Grandmasters, is Favored
DALLAS, Texas (March 4, 2003) - The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), dramatic, come-from-behind winners of the first two "Final Four" of Chess competitions, will go into this year's tournament in Miami next month as underdogs once again to arch-rival The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).
"For us to achieve a 'three-peat' may take a near-miracle," said Dr. Tim Redman, director of UTD's chess program. "UMBC has a higher-rated team with very experienced players. The team that gave us so much trouble over the past several years is now their 'B' team!"
The problem for UTD and the others is that when the top four collegiate chess teams in the United States line up against each other April 4-6 at the World Chess Hall of Fame and Sidney Samole Museum, all four of the UMBC players staring back across the square board at their opponents will be grandmasters. Except for world champion, grandmaster is the highest ranking in chess, and only about 40 players in the United States hold grandmaster status. UTD, by comparison, has only two grandmasters.
The two other teams represented this year will be perennial chess powerhouse the University of Chicago and that underdog of underdogs, Miami (Dade) Community College. The winner will receive the President's Cup emblematic of college chess supremacy.
The UTD and UMBC chess teams have what often is regarded as the most hotly contested, evenly fought rivalry in intercollegiate competition. In both 2000 and 2001, they tied for first place in the Pan American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship, defeating the likes of Harvard, Stanford, MIT, U.C. Berkeley and Chicago.
But less than three months ago, also in Miami, a team from UMBC won the 2002 Pan Am outright and another team from UMBC tied UTD for second place. Although it was the first time UMBC had bested UTD since 1999, it appeared that the momentum might have shifted.
Even so, Redman emphasized that anything can happen in chess and noted that UTD had been trailing in both previous "Final Four" tournaments but had rallied to win in the final game of the final match each time and taken home the President's Cup.
"On paper, the UMBC team is awesome," Redman said. "But the games still have to be played, and with players of this caliber, anything can happen. We're the two-time defending champions, and the members of our team currently are in training when they can find time away from their academic responsibilities. Our grandmasters, all of our team members, are full-time students, and they get degrees."
The UTD team in Miami will be composed of Grandmaster Yury Shulman, 27, of Belarus, a graduate student in the School of Management who received his B.A. in computer science at UTD; Grandmaster Marcin Kaminski, 26, of Poland, a senior majoring in computer science and software engineering; International Master Dmitry Schneider, 18, of New York, a freshman majoring in business administration; and International Master Magesh Chandran Panchanathan, 19, of India, a freshman majoring in telecommunications engineering. International Master Amon Simutowe, 21, of Zambia, a freshman majoring in economics and finance, and FIDE Master Andrei Zaremba, 20, of Michigan, a junior majoring in electrical engineering, will serve as alternates.
The UTD team is coached by International Master Rade Milovanovic.
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This page last updated June 07, 2012