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February 2, 2003

UMBC Wins Sixth National Chess Championship

UMBC's Chess Team has won its sixth Pan-American Intercollegiate Chess Championship in seven years. The three-day match, which took place from December 27-29 at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Miami, Fla., came to an unexpected finish with UMBC's B team winning the championship with UMBC's A team tying for second place with rival school University of Texas at Dallas. UMBC won on points in the tie-breaker. First place comes with a trophy and prize money totaling $1000.

UMBC faced its toughest competition in a team from the University of Texas, Dallas (UTD). UMBC tied UTD for the Pan Am Championship in 2000 and 2001.

More than thirty universities, including Stanford, Princeton, MIT and the University of Chicago, sent teams to the 2002 Pan Am competition in Miami. International teams included Catholic University of Peru, the University of Toronto and the University of Puerto Rico. The UMBC and UT Dallas teams represent two of the most powerful in the history of this event.

The two universities sent a total of seven Grandmasters -- the highest possibleranking for a chess player -- to the tournament. There are approximately 40,000chess players in the United States today, only forty of which are Grandmasters.

UMBC's A team included Grand Masters Alex Onischuk (Alex the Invincible), Alex Wojtkiewicz (Alex the Great) and Pawel Blehm (The Polish Magician). International Master and reigning Canadian chess champion Pascal Charbonneau, "The Frenchman," was the fourth player on Team A.

UMBC's B team included Grand Master Alex Sherzer (The Surgeon), International Master Eugene Perelshteyn (The Captain), Fide Master William Morrison (The Exterminator) and John Rouleau (Maryland Mauler). The alternate was Battsetseg Tsagaan (The Mongolian Terror).

UMBC's Chess Team is coached by Life Master Igor Epshteyn. The Chess Team Advisor is Alan Sherman, an associate professor of computer science at UMBC.

Photo by Doug Kapustin

Posted by dwinds1 at February 2, 2003 12:00 AM