UTD takes second place in Final Four of College Chess

Monday, April 04, 2011 7:07:19 AM

By Matthew Huisman, The Dallas Morning News

April 04–WASHINGTON — The University of Texas at Dallas was narrowly defeated in the Final Four of College Chess this weekend in Virginia, taking home second place in the country’s most prestigious tournament at the collegiate level.

The team of six — Alejandro Ramirez, Christian Chirila, Salvijus “Sal” Bercys, Julio Sadorra, Puchen Wang and team captain Marko Zivanic — finished a half-point behind Texas Tech. The team finished fourth last year.

“Second place is still very good,” said coach Rade Milovanovic. “They tried hard, but it was a little too much for us.”

In their 11th trip to the Final Four, the Comets finished ahead of the University of Texas at Brownsville and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The tournament, held in Herndon, Va., a Washington suburb, pitted some of the country’s premiere chess players against one another in a round-robin competition consisting of two rounds on Saturday and a final round Sunday.

Over the past decade, Texas has become a destination spot for chess players in the U.S., attracting many international students with the full-ride scholarships like those offered in other sports.

“Texas is the chess capital of America,” said Mark Herman, executive vice president for the corporate host and sponsor of the tournament, Booz Allen Hamilton. “It’s certainly an unknown fact.”

In 2007, Texas Tech recruited Susan Polgar, the first woman to earn the title grandmaster, to coach their chess program.

Herman also noted that many people don’t realize the skill and energy consumed by a game of chess. Matches can last up to four hours with only a few hours between rounds. Each player starts with 90 minutes on the clock and accumulates an additional 30 seconds per move.

“Chess is the ultimate strategy game,” Herman said. “Your brain works very hard, and there is a lot of physical stress that goes along with competing at this level.”

Full article here.

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