some universities eagerly root their quarterbacks
toward the end zone, UMBC fans proudly wave
their pompoms for players holding kings,
queens, and pawns. The victory cry? “Checkmate!”
the world of college chess, the UMBC chess
team stands head and shoulders above the
rest of the competition—even the Ivy
Leaguers—having claimed the national
championship title six times in the past
team’s success has drawn attention
to UMBC as a place with unbeatable brain
power—an image backed up not only
by the impressive winning streak, but also
by the soaring SAT scores of first-year
students and the University’s federal
research funding. UMBC’s reputation
in chess, combined with our impressive academic
record and scholarship opportunities, has
attracted some of the very best chess players
from around the country and around the world.
Once “signed,” players find
themselves not only in the national spotlight;
they enjoy celebrity status on campus with
rallies in their honor reminiscent of those
reserved for football stars at other colleges.
UMBC chess team has garnered attention from
a host of national media outlets—from
“Good Morning America” and the
“Today Show” to CNN and National
Public Radio. The Baltimore Sun called them
“Maryland’s No. 1 Team”
and praised their “discipline, mental,
and physical toughness (to get them through
six-hour matches), and superior strategy.”
In January 2002, UMBC junior Eugene Perelshteyn
became the first current player on the team
to receive the prestigious Samford Fellowship,
awarded by the American Chess Foundation
to the top young chess player in the country.
Two other UMBC players have won the coveted
the past 10 years, UMBC has become the team
to beat in college chess,” says Alan
Sherman, the team’s faculty advisor
and an associate professor of computer science.
What does the future hold for the team?
“My goal now is to institutionalize
support for chess so the program can continue
in perpetuity,” he says.