RICHARDSON, Texas (Dec. 13, 2004) – The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) will defend its number 1 ranking in college chess later this month in the Pan American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship, the most prestigious tournament of its kind held each year in the Western Hemisphere.
UTD won the tournament outright last year and tied for first place in both 2000 and 2001. This year’s competition will be held Dec. 27-30 at the Hilton Hotel and Conference Center in Wichita, Kansas .
More than 30 teams from the United States, Canada, Central America and South America are expected to compete in the 50 th Pan Am Tournament. The Pan Am team competition began in 1947 as a biennial event and became an annual event in 1965. Among the schools represented last year were Stanford University, MIT, the University of Toronto, the University of Chicago, Princeton and Catholic University of Peru.
As it has done for several years, UTD will send two teams to the four-day tournament. Last year, the UTD “A” team did not lose a single match and amassed 5 ½ points in winning the competition, and the UTD “B” team registered five points and tied for second place with the “A” team from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), a long-time powerhouse in the world of college chess and UTD’s chief rival.
UTD’s “A” team will be represented in Wichita by International Masters Magesh Chanran Panchanathan, 21, of India, a junior majoring in telecommunications engineering, and Amon Simutowe, 22, of Zambia, a sophomore majoring in economics and finance; Peter Vavrak, 22, of Slovakia, also known as the Slovak Republic, a senior majoring in business administration; Michal Kujovic, 22, of Slovakia, a senior majoring in statistics; and Andrei Zaremba, 22, of Michigan, a graduate student in electrical engineering.
Playing for the UTD “B” team will be Ali Morshedi, 21, of Houston, a senior majoring in electrical engineering; Curtis Brooks, 18, of Houston, a freshman majoring in literary studies; William Aramil, 19, of Terrell, Texas, a freshman majoring in chemistry; Byan Milisits, 18, of Pittsburgh, Pa., a freshman majoring in computer science; and Evan Rosenberg, 19, of New York, a senior majoring in sociology.
The four U. S. universities whose teams finish highest in the Pan Am will qualify for the “Final Four” of Chess competition, which is held in the spring. UTD won that tournament in 2001 and 2002.
The highest rated player on UTD’s 2003 Pan Am championship team, Grandmaster Marcin Kaminski, graduated last summer and is no longer on the squad.
“That, along with the fact that two of our other better players have taken the current semester off, will make it extremely difficult for us to beat UMBC, which has essentially the same team as last year,” said Dr. Tim Redman, professor of literary studies and director of UTD’s chess program. “But who knows -- anything can happen in chess. The players are training well, and our coach, International Master Rade Milovanovic, is an excellent mentor and motivator.”
In recent years, UTD and UMBC have emerged as unquestionably the two best college chess teams in the United States and have developed a rivalry that is as competitive as any in intercollegiate competition.
UTD’s chess team is part of a much broader chess program at UTD that includes, among other things, on-line chess instruction for teachers and studies on the use of chess in the classroom as an educational tool.
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.