|UTD Takes Final Four|
|By Jennifer Shahade|
|March 26, 2007|
by Jennifer Shahade
March chessboard madness went down over the weekend at the Final Four of College Chess (Dallas, March 24-25). University of Texas at Dallas, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Miami Dade College and Duke University all qualified for the round robin by placing in the top four at the Pan-American Championship (December, 2006). The competition began with an opening dinner, allowing the players some time to socialize before the gloves came off.
Rating favorites UTD began strongly, with a clean endgame victory by GM Magesh Panchanathan over Duke's Lev Milman:
Magesh showed fine technique in this endgame, sacrificing the h-pawn in order to quickly ram down the f-pawn and get the Black king out of the "safe zone."
Magesh played h5!
A few moves later, f6! forced Lev to resign. If Kf7, Rh8! and Black cannot take on a7 in view of Rh7+. If Kf6, Rf8+ wins on the spot.
UTD followed up their first round victory over Duke with wins against UMBC and Miami Dade. "Our players and coach (Rade Milovanovic) turned in an incredible performance," said Jim Stallings, director of the UT Dallas chess program. "When last December's Pan Am is included, UT Dallas players have not lost a single time in 60 games – in the two biggest college chess tournaments of the season. That’s mind-boggling!"
Miami Dade finished just behind UMBC with 4.5 points, with Duke another half point behind with 4.
The MVP of the event was Drasko Boskovic of UTD, who scored a perfect 3/3. In the following fascinating endgame, Drasko shows the strength of the knight in closed endings.