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December 30, 2008

UMBC Chess Team Takes Share of Pan American Intercollegiate Chess Championship

At 2008 Pan-Am, UMBC Ties with University of Texas-Dallas, Wins Record 8th Title

Mike Lurie

Office: 410-455-6380
Cellphone: 443-695-0262

December 30, 2008

BALTIMORE – The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) chess team earned a share of the title at the Pan American Intercollegiate Chess Championships, finishing the annual “World Series of college chess” December 30 in a tie with its perennial rival, the University of Texas-Dallas (UTD).

UMBC has won all or part of a record eight Pan-Am titles. UTD had won the past two Pan-Am championships outright.

Both schools automatically qualified for the 2009 Final Four of College Chess, an event usually held during the first weekend of April. Location and dates for the 2009 Final Four are to be determined.

The Retrievers had to overcome initial hardship at the Pan-Am when grandmasters Leonid Kritz and Sabina Foisor became ill with the flu on the tournament’s opening day, December 27. Alternates Aaron Kahn and Zoltan Revesz helped UMBC earn a Round 2 tie with Miami-Dade College, another collegiate chess power.

“Having narrowly missed Pan-Am victories in 2006 and 2007, UMBC was eager to avenge those recent losses to UTD,” said Alan Sherman, director of the UMBC chess program and a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. “As usual, the Retrievers prepared throughout the year with individual study, weekly training sessions and competition in strong individual tournaments.”

The UMBC squad featured four grandmasters: Kritz, Foisor, Sergey “the Stealth” Erenburg and Timur “the Uzbek Dragon” Gareyev.

The UMBC community celebrated its chess legacy last April when it hosted the Final Four of College Chess. Festivities included a “Chess Week” with a pep rally and a match involving 8-foot chess pieces.

The Pan-Am is the most celebrated intercollegiate chess tournament in the Western Hemisphere.

Since its 1946 inception, dozens of universities throughout the Americas have participated. The tournament is open to any college or university team from North, South, or Central America.
The Retrievers won their first Pan-Am title in 1996. They embarked on a five-year championship streak from 1998 to 2002.

More information about the 2008 Pan-Am can be found at:


Posted by mlurie at December 30, 2008 4:17 PM