SANDS: Now an underdog, UMBC snares a place in collegiate chess Final Four
By David R. Sands
The Washington Times
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
It’s a measure of how good the college game has become that the University of Maryland-Baltimore County’s second-place finish in last month’s Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Championship, hosted by Texas Tech in Lubbock, ranked as at least a mild upset.
Once a dominant force on the collegiate chess scene, the Retrievers needed a last-round upset of archrival — and higher-seeded — University of Texas-Dallas to secure second place. Winning the event was the now-dominant “A” squad from Webster University in St. Louis, which went undefeated with a lineup anchored by three 2700-plus grandmasters, Le Quang Liem, Wesley So and Georg Meier. Webster, which has made no secret of its ambition to do and spend what it takes to develop a dominant chess program, entered three teams at Lubbock. Even its lowest-rated team had an average rating of 2385.
Note: Webster University does NOT have the biggest chess budget. In fact, the SPICE team won the first Final Four 3 years ago as the team with the smallest budget among the Final Four qualifiers. It is about the quality of the students and coaching technique.