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September 8, 1997


Baltimore, MD--In addition to school bragging rights, members of the reigning national champion collegiate chess team will play each other for spots on this year's defending team during the 1997-98 UMBC Chess Championship, Saturday, September 13, and Sunday, September 14, in the University Center Ballroom. Two hour rounds begin at 10 a.m., 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. on each day. Registration begins Friday at 4 p.m. and Saturday at 9 a.m. Spectators are welcome and there is no admission charge.

Open to any UMBC student, this event will crown the school champion, which is currently Senior Master William "The Exterminator" Morrison. The top finishers will also make the team that defends UMBC's national title at the 1997 Pan-American Chess Championship in Bowling Green, Kentucky, December 26-29, 1997.

While the Pan Am Tournament will be tough, the UMBC Chess Championship could have the strongest field of play in collegiate chess all year. "UMBC's A and B teams played each other in the final of last year's national championship, and our team will be hard to beat again this year," says Alan Sherman, faculty advisor to the UMBC Chess Club, which is sponsoring the championship.

If they do win the Pan Am again, UMBC would seek a rematch with reigning World Champion Garry Kasparov, who played UMBC on May 17, less than a week after his loss to IBM's Deep Blue supercomputer. In this traditional match between world and collegiate champions, UMBC's Dmitry Atlas drew one game of eight Kasparov played against four team members and four scholastic-age players.

In addition to the UMBC Championship, future tune-ups before the Pan American Championships will include:

1997-98 UMBC Action Chess Playoffs (Friday, September 19, 3-6:30 p.m., Lecture Hall V, Engineering/Computer Science Building). This is a fast-paced, single elimination tournament that pits the top four finishers of the UMBC Chess Championship against each other. The event is free and open to the public and will feature computer projection of games from an autosensory board. Spectators should bring a digital FM receiver to hear move-by-move sports commentary by Senior Master Tom Brownscomb and Master Roger Mahach.

UMBC vs the University of Pennsylvania (Saturday, October 18, at noon in UMBC's Ablin O. Kuhn Library). The match against Penn (ranked #2 in the nation), is part of MindFest, UMBC's annual day-long, open-house festival celebrating the power of ideas. In addition to story-telling, demonstrations, and internet tours, the UMBC Chess Club will also host ChessFest '97 in the Kuhn Library. Activities include free chess instruction for beginners age 7-12 (10 a.m.), informal open play (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and the UMBC vs. Penn match at noon. MindFest is very popular with parents and children. More than 2,000 people attended last year. To reserve a space in the free instruction class, call 410.455.2902.

For more information about UMBC chess events, instruction, scholarships and activities, check the UMBC Chess Club Homepage or call 410.455.2666.

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Posted by dwinds1 at September 8, 1997 12:00 AM