Former UTD chess coach and International Master passes away

Anna Phengsakmueang | Mercury Staff

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International Chess Master Rade Milovanovic, a former long-time chess coach at UTD, passed away from natural causes at the age of 69 on Feb. 3 in Richardson, TX. His funeral was held at the Restland Wildwood Chapel in Dallas, Texas, on Feb. 10.

During his 20 years at UTD, Milovanovic shaped UTD’s success in chess, guiding the university to 10 Pan-American Team Championships, five first-place finishes in the Final Four, 11 Texas collegiate championships, nine national collegiate chess league championships and six Transatlantic Cup victories. Additionally, during his time at UTD, three of his students gained the title of Grandmaster.

While teaching, Milovanovic gained the title of Texas Chess Champion of 1999 and co-champion of the U.S. Open in 2008; he also self-published a memoir — International Chess Master: My Family and Chess Story with Selected Games and Pictures.

From a young age, Milovanovic enjoyed chess recreationally. In 1972, at the age of 18, he won the Bosnia and Herzegovina Junior Chess Championship; in 1973, he won a silver medal in the Yugoslavian Junior Chess Championship and a gold medal in the Balkan Junior Chess Championship.

Milovanovic graduated from the University of Belgrade Faculty of Law, serving as a lawyer and a judge in Tuzla, Bosnia-Herzegovina. However, his love for chess only grew as he began traveling and competing internationally, winning first place in Warsaw and Italy before being recognized as an International Master in 1988 at the age of 33.

In 1998, Milovanovic and his family fled Bosnia-Herzegovina during the turmoil that preceded the Kosovo War. They immigrated to Dallas, Texas, where Milovanovic began working as a church janitor. In time, he rekindled his love for chess by winning the Pan-Am Open in 1998.

Milovanovic joined UTD’s chess program in 1999, initially working a trainer who helped players analyze games. He was promoted to the position of coach in 2002 and served the team until he retired in 2019.

In a previous interview with The Mercury discussing his retirement, one of Milovanovic’s favorite memories was the Pan-Am in Miami.

“I remember one event in 2003. It was Pan-Am in Miami when we, for the first time, took a clear first place,” Milovanovic said. “This was special because we were the underdogs. The team from Baltimore was the heavy favorite, but we somehow beat them.”

Milovanovic was a cherished member of UTD’s community, developing Comets talent and inspiring those he taught to push for greatness.


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