For Violets, a Final Four in chess

Marshall Bell

Issue date: 4/2/08 Section: Sports

The 2008 Final Four of Chess won’t receive as much attention as the NCAA Basketball Final Four this weekend. There will be no Kevin Loves, no Tyler Hansbroughs, no Pontiac Game-Changing Performances. Heck, the four men representing NYU at this weekend’s showdown between the best four chess teams in the country don’t even have a coach.

What there will be is a match-up of three colleges with considerable chess recruitment programs and NYU, whose team is merely composed of four college students with one common interest: mobilizing armies of rooks, kings, pawns and the like.

So when those four students – Evan Rosenberg, Mackenzie Molner, Jake Vogel and Sean Finn-take their seats opposite chess juggernauts from the University of Texas at Dallas, University of Maryland at Baltimore County and Miami-Dade College at this weekend’s 2008 Presidential Cup in Baltimore, Md., forgive them if attention is the least of their concerns.

The numbers suggest that NYU should not even be there. It enters the matches ranked more than 200 points lower than the tournament favorites UTD and UMBC. But Rosenberg, a first-year master’s student and the team’s captain, thinks the numbers may work to their advantage.

“I almost hope that these schools don’t take us seriously,” Rosenberg said. “I hope they think that we’re just happy to qualify and that we’re not going to bring our ‘A’ game.”

The team would not have qualified if it couldn’t play above its standing. In the Pan-American Intercollegiate Championships, NYU shocked the University of Texas at Brownsville, which also ranked over 200 points higher than the purple and white. The surprising victory brought NYU Chess its first trip to the National Final Four in over 15 years.

Here is the full article.

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