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.
Webster, UMBC, Texas Tech and surprise qualifier University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana earned places in the collegiate chess Final Four in April.
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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.
UMBC give out more money than most schools.