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Alumni Spotlight: Grandmaster Yury Shulman

Yury ShulmanChess Grandmaster Yury Shulman (BS '01, MBA '03) came to the United States in 1999 on a chess scholarship from UT Dallas. Here, he earned his bachelor's in computer science, followed by an MBA in finance.

Yury has made UT Dallas proud time and again. He was the Texas State Champion in 2000, was ranked in the top 100 chess players in the world in 2001, and was the winner of the Governor's Cup in 2001, 2002, and 2004. These are just a few of his many accomplishments. And, to add to that growing list, Yury is currently the reigning champion of the Frank K. Berry 2008 U.S. Chess Championship.

Yury, who now resides in the Chicago area, credits his time at UT Dallas with where he is today, not just in regard to chess but also in his career. He spoke fondly of his professors; in particular, those who taught him as an MBA student. With a bachelor's in computer science, his MBA professors were able to teach him the business side of things. The lessons he learned in lectures were important and beneficial, but it was the lessons he learned from the experiences of his professors that made a difference to him. It was those lessons that enabled him to turn his passion into helping others.

Today, in addition to being a professional chess player, Yury runs a non-profit organization called Chess Without Borders. Chess Without Borders incorporates service learning with chess. The organization supports chess programs in underprivileged areas by providing chess lessons, helping organize chess clubs, and donating chess sets. They work locally and all over the world. Additionally, Yury runs an international chess school which "provides students with global opportunities to spread their love of chess." He is also the co-author of Chess! Lesson from a Grandmaster, which will "systematically help students learn the foundation of the game."

Since the age of 6, when he had his first formal chess lesson, Yury has been following his passion. He advises students and alumni of UT Dallas to do the same. He encourages everyone to "find something they really enjoy and pursue it" and "to be confident that one day they will reach success."

For more information on the Yury Shulman's International Chess School and Chess Without Borders, please visit

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