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January 6, 2004

UMBC Chess Team Takes Second Place in National Championship

UMBC's chess team earned second place at one of the most competitive Pan American Intercollegiate Chess Championships to date. UMBC's first team was edged by its rival team from the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), which has shared the title with UMBC in the past but never won the championship outright. UMBC team captain Eugene Perelshteyn earned top player honors for his performance on board three.

"Colleges across the country are starting to take chess more seriously and that is proven by the tough competition at this year's tournament," said Alan Sherman, director of the UMBC chess program and associate professor of computer science. "Even beyond UMBC and UTD, the perennial powerhouses, teams from Brooklyn College, Miami Dade Community College, Princeton and Duke were very strong. The competition is good for the sport and good for the players."

UMBC and UTD have developed a strong rivalry over the past few years, often tying or barely edging each other for national titles. The two teams will face off again in April at the Final Four of College Chess.

Final scoring had the UTD team with 5.5 points and UMBC's team with 5 points. The decisive match was a head-to-head game between the top teams from UMBC and UTD, which UTD won. In the four-on-four match up, the teams tied on three boards but UMBC lost on the fourth, giving UTD the win.

The top ten teams were: UTD's first team, UMBC's first team, UTD's second team, Miami Dade Community College, Brooklyn College's first team, UMBC's second team, University of Toronto's first team, Catholic University of Peru, MIT, and Princeton.

A total of 36 teams competed in this year's PanAm, representing such schools as Princeton, Stanford, the University of Chicago and Emory. This year's six-round competition was held from December 26-30 at the Embassy Suites in Miami, Florida. The tournament used Swiss-style scoring, which awards one point for a team win, a half-point for a draw and zero points for a loss. The highest possible score was six points.

UMBC's first team included Alex Onischuk, Pawel Blehm, Eugene Perelshteyn and Pascal Charbonneau. They faced off against the University of Toronto's first team (win), Princeton (win), Miami Dade Community College (win), UTD's second team (win), UTD's first team (loss), and the Catholic University of Peru (win) for a total of five points.

UMBC's second team included Bruci Lopez, Beenish Bhatia, Battsetseg Tsagaan, and Thomas Hartwig. The team played Georgia Tech (win), Emory (win), UTD's first team (loss), MIT (win), UTD's second team (loss), and the University of Chicago's first team (win) for a total of four points.

UMBC's third team included Andrew Samuelson, Eddie Tsibulevskiy, Sachin Singhal, Jeremy Hummer and James Kinsman (alternate). They played Montgomery College (win), Brooklyn College's first team (loss), Duke (draw), the University of Toronto's second team (win), the University of Puerto Rico (win) and UTD's second team (loss) for a total of three and a half points.

UMBC's chess coach is Igor Epshteyn.

Posted by dwinds1 at January 6, 2004 12:00 AM