Rivals Capture Chess Title After 3rd-Round Nail-Biter

Tournament Goes Down to Wire With a Grueling Final Game Lasting 6 1/2 Hours

April 6, 2009

In a reversal of fortunes, the UT Dallas chess team lost Sunday on a tie-breaker to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) at the 2009 Final Four of Chess.

“If you want to keep the President’s Cup, you have to go that little extra distance,” said Jim Stallings, director of the UT Dallas chess program. “We did not do that this year.”

UT Dallas chess team member John Bartholomew plays

John Bartholomew of the UT Dallas chess team makes a move in one of the early rounds Saturday.

UT Dallas President David E. Daniel and UT Brownsville President Juliet V. Garcia

UT Dallas President David E. Daniel and UT Brownsville President Juilet V. Garcia confer on the tournament's opening day of play Saturday.

When the teams last faced each other, at the Pan-American Intercollegiate Championships in December, UT Dallas and UMBC racked up the same number of match wins. UT Dallas won the tournament, however, under the tie-break system.

In the weekend's rematch, UT Dallas entered the third round with a one-point advantage. After a win at one board early on, it looked as if the team might win the President’s Cup for a third consecutive year.

UMBC won at two other boards, however, and the tournament was to be decided in the last game. In a marathon 140-move contest that lasted almost 6 1/2 hours, the last game between Davorin Kuljasevic of UT Dallas and Sergey Erenburg of UMBC ended in a hard-fought draw.

That left both teams with an equal 7.5 game points in the tournament. But because UT Dallas was a half-point behind UMBC's match record, under the tie-break the tournament victory went to UMBC.

Four teams earned the right to compete in this year’s Final Four competition by finishing among the top four U.S. teams at the 2008 Pan American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship, the most prestigious yearly college chess competition in the Western Hemisphere.

No. 3 seed UT Brownsville made an impressive inaugural showing. The team finished with a score of 6.5-5.5, only one point behind UMBC and UT Dallas.

Stanford’s final score was very deceptive according to UT Dallas chess coach Rade Milovanovic, “Although they did not win many, all of their games were good struggles that lasted a long time. They did not give up any easy points.”

“There was greater parity this year than ever before in the tournament,” Stallings said. “Congratulations to UMBC on winning the tie-break and to UT Brownsville on their first appearance in this tournament. We will start planning now for our return next year.”

UT Dallas’ chess team is part of a broad chess program that includes on-line chess instruction for teachers and courses about using chess in the classroom as an educational tool.

Media Contact:  Karah Hosek, UT Dallas, 972-883-4329, [email protected]
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, 972-883-2155, [email protected]

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Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez of UT Dallas (left) concentrates on the early moves in a game Saturday.

Final Four of Chess
Tournament Results

  1. University of Maryland
    Baltimore County 7.5 - 4.5
  2. UT Dallas 7.5 - 4.5
    * UMBC wins the tie-breaker on its match record (2.5 vs. UT Dallas' 2.0)

  3. UT Brownsville 6.5 - 5.5
  4. Stanford 2.5 - 9.5

For complete individual results, see charts at collegechess.org.


A group shot of all teams competing in the Final Four of Chess Tournament

UT Dallas hosted chess players from UT Brownsville, Stanford University and the University of Maryland Baltimore County.

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September 18, 2019