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April 25, 1997


Baltimore, MD--After routing the field in the 1996 Pan-American Intercollegiate Chess Team Championships in December, members of the top-ranked UMBC Chess Team didn't go to Disney World or rest on their laurels for the school year. Instead, they eagerly pursued a match they'll almost certainly lose--and relish every minute of it.

World Professional Chess Association (PCA) Champion and International Grandmaster Garry Kasparov will simultaneously play eight games against four members of the UMBC Chess Team that won the "World Series of Chess" as well as four Maryland scholastic-age players on Saturday, May 17, at 12:30 p.m. in the University Center Ballroom.

Before the exhibition, which will consist of two hours per side for the first 40 moves, followed by sudden death in 30 minutes, Kasparov will give a public talk at noon and answer media questions for 20 minutes after the match ends at approximately 5:30 p.m.

In addition to extending a recent chess tradition of pitting the reigning world champion against the reigning intercollegiate champions, the exhibition will follow Kasparov's rematch with IBM's Deep Blue chess-playing supercomputer in New York City, May 3-11. At the first match in Philadelphia last year, Kasparov beat Deep Blue, four games to two.

"We'll certainly have our hands full, says Alan Sherman, an associate professor of computer science and faculty advisor to the UMBC Chess Club, "but everyone is excited about Grandmaster Kasparov's visit. This will be a great opportunity for our team to hone its skills, and I hope it will also stimulate interest in chess among Maryland youth." Rounding out the field for UMBC will be International Master Valery Atlas and FIDE Master Dmitry Atlas, twin brothers from Belarus who are both electrical engineering graduate students; Senior Master William "The Exterminator" Morrison, the 1995 Maryland Chess Champion and a senior history major from New York who was the basis, in part, for the park chess player in the movie "Searching for Bobby Fischer"; and Senior Master Gregory Shahade, a freshman from Masterman High School in Philadelphia, who is the 1996 National High School Chess Co-champion.

"I've never played the world champion, but I hope I beat him," says a grinning William Morrison. "Hey, you never know." Kasparov certainly isn't taking UMBC lightly, having requested the list of moves for six games of each of his opponents.

Kasparov's scholastic division opponents will include 14-year-old Silver Spring resident Raymond Kaufman, winner of the 1997 Maryland Scholastic Championship (and a chess scholarship to UMBC). Three other Maryland students will be determined in a qualifying tournament from 8:30-11:30 a.m. before the exhibition. The qualifying tournament is open to any Maryland student from a public or private school, grade 1 to 12. Free buses to UMBC will leave Baltimore City College High School and Patterson High School at 7 a.m. and depart from UMBC at 6 p.m.

The top three scholastic winners will play Kasparov. Others will have the opportunity to qualify for simultaneous games against UMBC's Grandmaster Alexander Shabalov (ranked 10th in the U.S.), Oxana Tarassova (ranked 22nd among U.S. women) or Bella Belegradek (1994-95 UMBC Champion).

Admission for spectators to all events is $10 for adults; students in grades 12 and under are free. Senior Master Craig Jones will provide live commentary on the games, which will also be carried over the internet via the Internet Chess Club. A detailed schedule for all of the day's events and scholastic division qualifying requirements is available at the UMBC Chess Club website or by calling 410.455.2666.

The exhibition with Kasparov is sponsored by the Abell Foundation, TRMAC and the UMBC President's Office.

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Posted by dwinds1 at April 25, 1997 12:00 AM