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December 30, 2011

UMBC Chess Team Advances to the Final Four Following the “World Series of Chess”

Contact: Nicole Ruediger

The UMBC chess team came in second place today in the Pan-Am Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship, advancing to the 2012 President’s Cup, known as the “Final Four” of chess.

The UMBC chess team headed into the 2011 Pan-Am Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship with a record nine titles to its name. The competition known informally as the Pan-Am, was held December 27 to 30 in Fort Worth, Texas. Since the tournament began in 1946, dozens of universities throughout the Americas have participated. The Retrievers won their first Pan-Am title in 1996, and then embarked on a five-year title streak from 1998 to 2002.

This year, the University of Texas at Dallas came in first with six points, UMBC came in second with 5 points, and Texas Tech and New York University tied for third with 4.5 points each.

“It was an exciting finish, because we could have won right up until the last match,” says Alan Sherman, Chess Director. The University of Texas at Brownsville surprisingly did not make the cut for the Final Four even though they were the highest ranking team going into the tournament.

The UMBC team, all on chess scholarships, is composed of students not only with exceptional chess skills but also with strong academic records, Sherman says. UMBC requires students to maintain a 3.0 GPA to maintain chess scholarships.

The Retrievers last won the Pan-Am title in 2009, and took second last year. This year’s team will compete in the 2012 President’s Cup, the "Final Four of College Chess," to be held March 31–April 1 in Herndon, Va.

About the UMBC players

Leonid Kritz, an International Grandmaster from Germany
Giorgi Margvelashvili, an International Grandmaster from the Republic of Georgia
Sasha Kaplan, an International Master from Israel
Sabina Foisor, International Woman Grandmaster from Romania

Average rating: 2521

About the 2011 Pan American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championships
When: December 27-30, 2011
Where: Dallas Fort Worth Airport Marriott South, 4151 Centreport Boulevard, Fort Worth, Texas 76155

For more information on the UMBC team, contact Alan T. Sherman, director, UMBC Chess Program at 410-963-4779 or

Posted by nruedige at December 30, 2011 3:33 PM