Chess Team snags awards at Southwest tournament

All photos by Rory Moore | Mercury Staff

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The UTD Chess Team improved their standing by placing second in the 2024 Southwest Chess Collegiate Championship on March 9, also qualifying for the 2024 Texas Collegiate Super Finals in fall. The UTD women’s chess team was the top scoring women’s team in the tournament.

UTD Chess held this tournament on campus, registering eight teams which each consisted of three players. The Southwest Chess Collegiate is a five-round rapid-style tournament with 15 minute time controls and 10 second increments per move. Other universities competing in this tournament were Texas Tech, UTRGV, Baylor and Collin Community College. From the 18 teams that participated, UTD team B – consisting of Balaji Daggupati, Brian Escalante Ramirez and Koustav Chatterjee – placed second overall, and UTD team D – consisting of Anastasia Paramzina, Gergana Peycheva and Tarini Goyal – was the top scoring women’s team in the tournament and tied for third place overall.

For UTD team B, Chatterjee scored 3.5 points out of 5, Daggupati scored 3 points out of 5 and Ramirez scored 3 points out of 5 for the entire tournament. Chatterjee and Daggupati thought that rounds 3 and 4 were both the hardest of the five rounds and the most crucial ones, since they were up against the top two colleges, UTRGV and Texas Tech respectively. Although they won round 3 against UTRGV, they lost round 4 against Texas Tech. However, they made up for this loss by winning in the last round.

“Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to hold the end game [in round 4] and that ended up costing us, but then we managed to bounce back at least in the last round and make it back in place and made top two,’ Daggupati said.

In round 3, Chatterjee played with the black pieces against Viktor Gazik from UTRGV, which resulted in a draw by agreement. Chatterjee sacrificed his rook to get a position where both players could mess up, evening the playing field.

“It’s a very complicated, messy position with the two bishops versus better pawn structure. So, to me sacrificing Rook f3 will spice up the game,” Chatterjee said.

GM Gazik v. GM Chatterjee, Southwest Collegiate 2024

Previous Moves: 29. Rc7 Nd3 30. Bf6

Black to move. How can Black create a draw?

Answer: Bxf6

Gazik (White) leaves a free bishop for Chatterjee (Black), paving the way for consistent checks from white. This could lead to a draw by repetition.

Coach Julio Sadorra said he was very proud of UTD Team B, especially with Chatterjee as the coach.

“Koustav stood out because he was really sick, so he had to rest and finish up his midterms, Sadorra said. “But he showed up and played well for his team and ended up with second place.”

For UTD Team D, Goyal scored 3 out 5 points, Paramzina scored 3.5 out of 5 points and Peycheva scored 3.5 out of 5 points. Out of the five rounds, all of them thought that rounds 2 and 3 were the hardest because they played against other UTD chess players. Paramzina said that losing round 2 to UTD Team A was inevitable because they were all grandmasters fighting for a good result, but drawing to UTD Team F was shocking, which led them to wonder if they would do better in their next match.

“We were pretty surprised that we drew our F team,” Paramzina said. “We’re higher rated but somehow all the games were complex. So we drew and it was also a critical moment because mentally, we didn’t feel so confident about our next match.”

Goyal said he encountered difficulties in completely changing the game to secure a draw. Paramzina and Peycheva finished their games with a tie, so the pressure to secure a win fell on Goyal. Despite this challenge, she achieved a draw in her game, and the overall match ended in a draw too.

“As white, I was already sad to get a worse position out of the opening,” Goyal said. “I took some time coming out of it and then I had to fight for equality throughout the game.”

Moving on from the Southwest Collegiate Championship, the UTD Chess Team will host its biggest tournament – the Final Four Presidents Cup – on March 31 at UTD, which will conclude the season. According to the Pan Ams results, Chatterjee and Paramzina will be participating in this tournament.

“We’re really excited to represent UTD and be a good team and win the tournament,” Chatterjee said.


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