Grandmaster Status Lifts Champ into Chess Elite
Sophomore is Second Team Member to Achieve Title as a UT Dallas Student
Jun. 9, 2011
UT Dallas sophomore Julio Catalino Sadorra, a member of the UT Dallas Chess Team, is now officially a chess grandmaster.
Sadorra was formally recognized by the World Chess Federation, FIDE (Federation Internationale des Echecs), when its members met June 4-7 in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates.
Grandmaster is the highest ranking in the chess world, except for world champion. Players obtain the elite status by achieving the correct combination of added rating points and defeating other grandmasters at sanctioned tournaments, or norms.
“I can’t reduce my success to a formula, but it comes down to hard work and faith,” said Sadorra, a sophomore majoring in applied mathematics.
Sadorra has been on the quest for grandmaster status since seventh grade. He earned his first norm in 2008 during a tournament in Asia. Sadorra’s next norm came in 2010 during a summer tournament in the Philippines, while he was a UT Dallas student.
Like most working toward a goal, Sadorra had doubts about whether he could attain the vaunted status. He credits Associate Dean Matthew Polze of the School of Management with helping him maintain his core values and pushing him toward his goal.
“My professors are inspiring,” Sadorra said. “They are always willing to help, and to encourage me not to give up on my dreams.”
Sadorra’s third and final norm came in March at the UT Dallas Grandmaster Invitational Underwritten by Turner Construction Company, when he beat Grandmaster Alexander Shabalov in Round 10.
“I felt so elated – and relieved,” Sadorra said of the title-clenching moment. “Many International Masters are burdened by the unattained title. Some masters never get it.”
Coach Rade Milovanovic, a former U.S. Open Champion, says Sadorra has been an asset to the UT Dallas Chess Team.
“He’s a fighter who tries to win every game,” Milovanovic said. “He’s also good about sharing his ideas and strategies with other team members.”
Despite this once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment, Sadorra does not intend to rest. This summer, UT Dallas’ newest grandmaster plans to teach at the University’s chess camps and compete at the annual Chicago Open.
“I don’t like to think that I’m ‘there’ yet,” he said. “I love learning and improving my games.”
Sadorra is only the second UT Dallas student to achieve grandmaster status while a student and member of the University’s chess team. Magesh Chandran Panchanathan (BS’06, MSCS ’08) earned all three of his grandmaster norms while at UT Dallas and secured the title in 2006.
Currently, the UT Dallas Chess Team boasts two grandmasters, Sadorra and freshman international political economy major Cristian Chirila.
Above: Julio Catalino Sadorra is only the second UT Dallas student to achieve grandmaster status while a student and member of the University’s championship chess team. Below: Sadorra secured the title in March at the UT Dallas Grandmaster Invitational Underwritten by Turner Construction Company.