Chess comes close in final four


The UTD Chess team finished second in the 2004 Presidential Cup to rival, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC).

The four best college chess teams in the nation – UTD, UMBC, Miami-Dade and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – faced off April 2-3 at the Brunswick Plaza in Lindsborg, Kansas.

Teams competed in three rounds of four games. Each win garnered teams one point.

“I liked the game-point scoring of this method because it is more calibrated than the match points used in the Pan American Intercollegiate Chess Competition,” said Tim Redman, UTD chess director.

UMBC’s grandmaster, Alexander Onischuck of Poland, beat UTD’s board and team captain Marcin Kaminski, senior computer science major, in Sunday’s round.

“Losing is always tough for chess players, but Onischuck ultimately outplayed Kaminski,” Redman said.

Kaminski was nearly defeated by MIT’s first board, but he overcame the challenge, according to Redman.

For the past three years UMBC and UTD have traded wins at chess competitions. In 2000 and 2001, the schools were co-champions of the Pan American competition. In 2002 UMBC and UTD came first and second, respectively, but the podium swapped in 2003, with UTD taking first place.

UMBC and UTD have taken two titles each at past Presidential Cups.

“UMBC was rated 100 points higher than UTD and was favored by 62.5 percent to win,” Redman said.

Redman believes UMBC’s higher rating might be due to their scholarships being sponsored by Coca-Cola. They give their best players full tuition and fees plus a $15,000 stipend for four years. UTD gives only a maximum of $4,000 stipend.

“I am not saying that UTD should increase the scholarship stipend,” Redman said.

UMBC also recruits more established players whereas UTD looks for rising stars that are exceptional international chess players.

“UTD focuses on recruiting young, talented players, some who have at least attained one grandmaster norm (winning an international chess competition by playing with grandmasters from all over the world),” Redman said.

For example, Amon Simutowe of Zambia – a member of the UTD chess team and an international master – tied for second last year in the Pan-African Chess Competition.

“I do not feel so bad about loss. To win is a much better feeling, of course, but the first lesson in chess is to learn how to accept loss and analyze mistakes,” Milovanovic said.


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