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Webster Wins Pan-Ams Print E-mail
By Al Lawrence   
December 31, 2013
Pan-Am Champions: Webster University

UMBC, Illinois, and Texas Tech Round Out Final Four

On Monday, the sixth and final round of the PanAms saw a major upset by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s A-team on Table Three that kept power-house University of Texas at Dallas-A out of the top finishers for the first time in a dozen years. And a dramatic turnaround-game on Table Two between Webster B’s GM Manuel Leon Hoyos and Texas Tech’s GM Elshan Moradiabadi, in the very last contest of the event to finish, pushed Tech into the top qualifiers literally at the last minute.

On Table One, Webster University’s A-team locked up first place 6-0 with a win over the University of Brownsville-A, who had already lost to UMBC-A.
The super strong Webster "A" team included GMs Quang Liem Le, Georg Meier, Wesley So and Ray Robson.


UMBC finished in in a tie for 2nd-3rd, pushing UT-D into a tie for 6th-10th, along with top-rated teams University of Texas at Brownsville-A, Columbia University-A, UT-Dallas-B, and Lindenwood University-A.
Meanwhile, the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana upset Texas Tech-B to snatch a qualifying spot from some top-ranked squads, tying with UMBC. Illinois had earlier in the event upset Columbia U. and Lindenwood A-teams. All three upsets were of teams rated some 200 points above the Illini. It was the second year in a row that Illinois has qualified, and so they can hardly again be termed a “dark horse.”
Leo Xin Luo, Eric Rosen, Michael Auger and Akshay Indusekar

The Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Championship—the qualifier for the Final Four national championship to be held in April—is open to every post-secondary school in the western hemisphere, and so must use Swiss pairings. The luck of the draw became the elephant at the pairing chart, especially in the final rounds. And with no limit to the number of teams a college can enter, top-ranked Webster University’s deep bench held sway. Webster’s three teams boasted average ratings of 2730, 2590, and 2385. They finished first (with a perfect 6-0 score), fourth, and sixth, on tie-breaks, respectively.
The A-teams from Webster U., Texas Tech University, and the University of Texas-Dallas occupied the top tables throughout the event. There were ambitious teams pushing hard to unseat them. But no one could budge Webster-A.

Texas Tech’s A-team entered the event ranked second only to Webster,  but was the only team paired with all three of Webster’s juggernauts, losing to Webster-A, winning over Webster-C , and drawing Webster-B in a dramatic finish to tie with that team for 4th-5th. Since a college can take only one spot, Texas Tech qualified for the Final Four, scheduled for April at the New Athletic Club in mid-town Manhattan. At that single-round-robin, team-on-team event, each university is restricted to one squad.

Best board results

Texas Tech freshman GM Yaroslav Zherebukh edged out Webster-A’s GM Quang Liem Le for top honors on board one. Webster-B’s Anatoly Bykhovsky won the board two prize. Webster-A’s GMs Wesley So and Ray Robson took board three and four prizes. Top alternate was Lindenwood’s Nolan Hendrickson.
Best individual performances and upset prizes

Best individual performance went to GM So, who scored a performance rating of 2892 for the event. WIM Danelia Mariam earned the best performance by a woman with a performance rating of 2458. UMBC-B won both upset prizes: The trophy for biggest individual upset went to Robert Huie IV of UMBC-B for winning against a player rated 816 points higher; biggest team upset went to the whole UMBC-B team. Miami Dade won best community college. Oberlin College took home the prize for best small college (under 5,000 enrollment). Texas Tech also won the Big-12 trophy.
Games, round-by-round results, team rosters and more details can be seen online.

Fide Zonal President TD Franc Guadalupe and Texas Tech program director Al Lawrence
The tournament, hosted by the Texas Tech University Chess Program and the Knight Raiders Chess Club, was held at the four-star Overton Hotel and Conference Center in Lubbock. Every round went smoothly under the direction of NTD Franc Guadalupe and Assistant TD Bill Broich.

Thanks to generous sponsorship, the players enjoyed special amenities, including a bountiful dinner and music by the "Final Four String Quartet" at the well-attended reception on Thursday before the first round. The proceedings included greetings from City of Lubbock and Texas Tech University officials.

Complimentary coffee and tea were provided during the rounds, plus a pastry-breakfast before the final round. Each player received a commemorative roll-up chessboard, T-shirt and lapel pin, as well as other treats in their souvenir gift bags. DGT North American chess timers and best-selling chess books were given away as door prizes. "The Texas Tech organizers have raised the PanAms to a new standard,” Acting U.S. Chess Federation Chess Committee Chairman James Stallings said.
Next year’s PanAms will be hosted by UT-Brownsville at South Padre Island.

Find full results and details on the tournament website and look for the second part on FSU's first trip to the Pan-Ams.