RICHARDSON, Texas (Dec. 20, 2006) – While as many as 30 teams from the U.S., Canada and South America are expected to participate in this month’s 2006 Pan American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship, known as the “World Series of College Chess,” the contest is shaping up as another showdown between two longtime rivals. The University of Texas at Dallas and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), who have dominated college chess in recent years, will again be among the favorites to win this year’s Pan Am.
Long considered the most prestigious tournament of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, this year’s event will be held Dec. 27-30 at the Renaissance Washington, D.C. Hotel and hosted by UMBC.
In the past decade, UT Dallas and UMBC have emerged as unquestionably the two best college chess teams in the nation. One or the other has won the Pan Am eight years in a row. In another major annual college chess competition, the Final Four of Chess, no team other than UT Dallas and UMBC has won the event in its six-year history.
However, with UMBC victories last December in the Pan Am and last April in the Final Four, UT Dallas is anxious to wrest the mantle of best college chess team in the land from the Maryland squad.
“We look forward to renewing our longstanding rivalry with UMBC,” said Jim Stallings, director of the UT Dallas chess program. “It’s been a year since we’ve been able to claim supremacy in the world of college chess and we think it’s time for that distinction to return to Texas.”
Not that Stallings and his charges are overlooking the rest of the field, which will include a strong team from Miami Dade College and representatives from another Texas university starting to make its mark in chess – The University of Texas at Brownsville.
Other participants will include Dartmouth College, Duke University, Emory University, Northwestern University and Yale University. At least two universities from Canada and one from Peru will be in the competitive mix.
UT Dallas will field two seasoned teams, composed of two returning grandmasters – the highest title other than world champion attainable in chess – and six returning international masters. Only two players, both freshmen, are new additions to the squad.
“Coach Rade Milovanovic’s strategy is to field two, essentially equal teams, either one of which will be capable of delivering a knock-out punch to any team in the tournament,” Stallings said.
UT Dallas’ “A” team will be composed of Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez (chess rating of 2566), Grandmaster Magesh Chandran Panchanathan (2526), International Master Drasko Boskovic (2526), FIDE Master John Bartholomew (2454) and FIDE Master Igor Schneider (2428). The “B” team will include International Master Marko Zivanic (2569), International Master Davorin Kuljasevic (2477), International Master Dmitri Schneider (2517), International Master Amon Simutowe (2465) and International Master Jacek Stopa (2436). The A team boasts an average chess rating of 2500, slightly more than the B team’s 2492.8.
The tournament can be followed over the Internet, Stallings said, thanks to the use of high-tech wireless devices the size of a cell phone, through which players will record their moves. Interested persons may view the games on the Internet Chess Club web site, www.chessclub.com.
About UT Dallas
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 14,500 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 UT Dallas, please visit the university’s web site at www.utdallas.edu.