RICHARDSON, Texas (Dec. 16, 2004) – Former UTD Chess Team Captain Yuri Shulman and 42-year-old Igor Novikov of New York emerged Wednesday as the grandest of the 10 internationally ranked players in the UTD Grandmaster Invitational Chess Tournament at The University of Texas at Dallas by edging top-seeded Alexander Moiseenko of the Ukraine by one-half point and tying for first place in the grueling nine-day competition.
The fourth grandmaster in the tournament, 16-year-old Alejandro Ramirez of Costa Rica, the second-youngest grandmaster in the world, tied for fourth place with two members of the current UTD chess team, International Masters Magesh Panchanathan, 21, of India, and Amon Simutowe, 22, of Zambia.
The tournament was rated by the world governing body of chess, FIDE (Federation Internationale des Echecs), and the competition -- which featured four grandmasters, four international masters and a FIDE master -- was believed to be the most formidable chess match held in Texas in 32 years. In the last three years, there have been only four chess tournaments at this level held in the United States – two in 2003 (in New York and Los Angeles), one in 2002 (in San Francisco) and one in 2001 (in New York).
Shulman, 29, and Novikov each earned 6½ (of a possible nine) points in the tournament. Moiseenko, 24, garnered six points, and Ramirez, Panchanathan and Simutowe each scored five. Each of the 10 players faced each of the others once in the round-robin competition. Shulman and Novikov played to a draw in their head-to-head game last Saturday. Shulman and Novikov each registered five wins, three draws and one loss over the nine days. Shulman’s only loss was to Simutowe in Round 6, and Novikov’s lone defeat was to Moiseenko, who had the highest chess-rating going into the tournament, in Round 8.
Shulman, 29, who is originally from Belarus but now lives in New York, is arguably the best player ever to compete for the UTD Chess Team, which has won both the Pan American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship and the “Final Four” of Chess competition. He won the two previous FIDE-sanctioned international tournaments held at UTD, in 2001 and 2002, but those competitions were limited to coaches and players from the UTD team and did not include players of the caliber of Moiseenko and Novikov. Shulman, who was seeded third for the tournament that ended Wednesday, left UTD after receiving both a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from the university.
UTD is believed to be the only university in the Western Hemisphere ever to host a FIDE-rated international chess tournament. Many cities have never held such an event.
For Panchanathan, Simutowe and the other members of the UTD Chess Team who participated in the tournament, the UTD Grandmaster Invitational provided an excellent warm-up against superior competition for this year’s Pan Am college competition, which will be held Dec. 27-30 in Wichita, Kansas. Panchanathan is a junior majoring in telecommunications engineering, and Simutowe is a sophomore majoring in economics and finance.
Luis Salinas, assistant director of the UTD Chess Program and president of the Dallas Chess Club, administered the UTD Grandmaster Invitational under the direction of Dr. Tim Redman, director of the UTD Chess Program and a two-time past president of the U.S. Chess Federation. Redman, a professor of literary studies at the university, founded UTD’s much-acclaimed chess program about nine years ago.
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 14,000 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 UTD, please visit the university’s web site at www.utdallas.edu.