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Chess Team Gearing Up for Key College Tournament Print E-mail
By Jim Stallings   
December 19, 2008

UT Dallas is expecting a showdown with an old rival when the Pan American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship comes to Dallas later this month.

The tournament, known as the “World Series of College Chess,” will be held Dec. 27-30 at the Dallas Fort Worth Marriott Hotel. Hosts are the Dallas Chess Club and UT Dallas.

UT Dallas has ruled the tournament the previous two years but is gearing for tough competition from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Although as many as 30 teams will compete, history has tended to favor UT Dallas and UMBC. One or the other school has won the Pan Am every year for the last 10 years.

The two teams have also dominated another major annual college chess competition, the Final Four of Chess, which is held in the spring. No team other than UT Dallas or UMBC has won the event in that competition’s eight-year history.

“We always look forward to renewing our longstanding rivalry with UMBC,” said Jim Stallings, director of the UT Dallas chess program. “We have enjoyed two years at the top of college chess and know that a three-peat will be extremely difficult this year against the UMBC team.”

The UMBC team, which features an average rating of 2596, is the tournament’s top seed. UMBC has the tournament’s three highest-rated players, all of whom are grandmasters and rated over 2600.

UTD Chess Coach Rade Milovanovic says that challengers “should not underestimate the defending champions.”

UT Dallas will enter a record four teams – one grandmaster, seven international masters, and other national masters. The fourth team will be an all-woman team.

The rest of the field will include strong master-level teams from both Harvard and Stanford. Traditionally formidable Miami Dade College and Florida Atlantic University will have teams entered. Other U.S. schools participating include Texas Tech, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University and Yale University. Universities from Canada and one from Peru will round out the Pan-American Intercollegiate mix.

The tournament’s games can be followed on the Internet Chess Club or monroi.com sites on the Internet.