Don't mess with Texas

by Alexey Root
10/26/2019 – Seven students competing in the 2019 Texas Collegiate Super Finals previously represented their home countries in an Open section of a Chess Olympiad. With some of the best chess players in the world matriculating in Texas, the expression “Don’t mess with Texas” applies. Texas is tough on littering and is hard to beat in chess. | Photo: Francisco Guadalupe

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Not UTRGV’s First Rodeo

For the second year in a row, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) won the Texas Collegiate Super Finals.

Don't mess with TexasQualification for the Super Finals was from the Southwest Collegiate Team Championship, held the previous spring semester. UTRGV, The University of Texas at Dallas (UT Dallas), and Texas Tech University qualified. Each sent their first (“A”) and second (“B”) teams to the Super Finals held on October 19-20 at UT Dallas. UTRGV “A,” UTRGV “B,” and Texas Tech University “A” became the 2019 Texas Collegiate Super Finals co-champions.

UTRGV “A” was the tiebreak winner with 12 game points. UTRGV “B” had 10.5 game points and Texas Tech University “A” had 9 game points. Four game points are available in each four-board match. For example, a 4-0 victory nets that match winner 1 match point and 4 game points, according to the software used by Chief Arbiter Francisco Guadalupe. A 2-2 tied match would net each team .5 match points and 2 game points. In Guadalupe’s software, the three co-champion teams each scored 3 out of 4 match points. The rules PDF has different match mathematics, but the winning teams’ final rankings would not be affected.


The UTRGV Chess Program produced a video about this latest victory


Howdy, Olympians

International Master Irakli Beradze, a freshman at UTRGV, played fourth board for UTRGV’s “A” team at the Texas Collegiate Super Finals. Beradze previously was on the second team for Georgia at the Batumi Chess Olympiad in 2018. In my October 20 photo of the UTRGV “A” team, Beradze is at the far right. From left to right in that photo, UT Dallas Associate Provost Abby Kratz, Macieja, Grandmaster Vladimir Belous (third board), Grandmaster Andrey Stukopin (second board), and Beradze. Not pictured in the photo, as he had already left for the airport, was the team’s first board, Grandmaster Kamil Dragun.

Texas Twister

Skipping the closing ceremony was a good move by Dragun, as that ceremony’s conclusion coincided with tornadoes approaching the greater Dallas area. The UT Dallas campus, located in Richardson, was spared, as its south entrance on West Campbell Road is west of U.S. Highway 75.

Tornado map

Estimated tornado track | nbcdfw.com

On my drive home from the closing ceremony, I faced hail, blinding rain, and winds gusting over 60 miles per hour (ca. 97 km/h). I pulled over on the President George Bush Turnpike, parking under a bridge with other motorists. We waited out the worst of the weather. My normal drive time home was doubled but I did arrive safely.

Texas Poles

Today there are at least 228,309 Texans of Polish ancestry, according to the 2000 U.S. census, making them the seventh largest ethnic group in the state. UTRGV Coach Macieja is from Poland. Macieja recruited Grandmaster Kamil Dragun to UTRGV in 2017.

Dragun, now a junior at UTRGV, played for Poland in the 2018 Chess Olympiad. It was Dragun’s first Chess Olympiad. Sagar Shah, writing for ChessBase, praised the Polish team for its team spirit and for its upset of the United States team. The Polish team finished fourth in 2018, the best finish for a Polish team since World War II and Dragun was recommended to UTRGV as he recounted after the last round. Dragun is the current Polish champion, winning his title in May in Warsaw.

In High Cotton

To be “in high cotton” means to be successful. Texas Collegiate Super Finals students are in high cotton, progressing toward their degrees and competing at high levels in chess. They play chess for their Texas colleges and some also represent their home countries at Chess Olympiads.

International Master Luis Carlos Torres Rosas, a senior at Texas Tech University, played for Mexico in the Tromsø 2014 Chess Olympiad. At the Texas Collegiate Super Finals, Torres Rosas played first board for the Texas Tech University “B” team. He scored 1½ out of 4 but his teammates lost all their games. Texas Tech University Chess Coach Grandmaster Alex Onischuk emailed, “The tournament was a learning experience for our valued Texas Tech University women chess team members. Gender diversity is important in college chess, and Tech is setting an example for all other universities to consider.”

From left to right in the Texas Tech University “B” team’s photo, Woman Candidate Master Claudia Munoz, Nadia Salakhz, Coach Grandmaster Alexander Onischuk, International Master Luis Carlos Torres Rosas, Woman International Master Iryna Andrenko | Photo: Alexey Root

Grandmaster Ulvi Bajarani, a graduate student at UTRGV, played for Azerbaijan’s second team in the Baku Chess Olympiad in 2016. It was Bajarani’s first Olympiad. International Master Felix Jose Ynojosa Aponte, a junior at UTRGV, played for Venezuela at the most recent Chess Olympiad (Batumi, Georgia, 2018). It was his third Chess Olympiad. Both played for the UTRGV “B” team at the Texas Collegiate Super Finals.

Ulvi and Felix

Ulvi and Felix

International Master Titas Stremavicius, a senior at UT Dallas, played for Lithuania at the 2018 Chess Olympiad, his first Olympiad. Grandmaster Razvan Preotu, a junior at UT Dallas, played for Canada at the 2018 Chess Olympiad. It was also his first Chess Olympiad. Both played for the UT Dallas “A” team in the Texas Collegiate Super Finals.

Razvan and Titas

Razvan and Titas

Preotu wrote The Chess Attacker’s Handbook, with co-author International Master Michael Song. Preotu and International Master Emil Stefanov will appear at the Panda Chess Academy in Houston on Monday, November 25. Contact the Panda Chess Academy to attend that evening, which will provide college tips, lectures, and simultaneous chess exhibitions by these two UT Dallas students.

I will also be at the Panda Chess Academy that evening, writing about its owner National Master Jeff Ashton, who graduated from UT Dallas in 2003. The latest “One Move at a Time” podcast touches on that forthcoming (February, 2020) Chess Life article.

Everything is Bigger in Texas

Nationally, Texas “chess” universities are prominent. UT Dallas, Texas Tech University, and UTRGV routinely appear in the President’s Cup, also known as the Final Four of College Chess. UTRGV has won the President’s Cup twice in a row (2018 and 2019).

Titled players were in abundance at the Texas Collegiate Super Finals, making it a worthy precursor of upcoming national collegiate events. As Guadalupe posted on Facebook, the 26 Super Finals participants included a whopping “11 Grandmasters, 11 International Masters and a Woman International Master, all students at University of Texas at Dallas, Texas Tech University, or University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.”

New York City? Get a Rope!

A famous picante sauce commercial extols San Antonio, Texas and ends with a scornful “New York City? Get a Rope!” Yet New York City is the ultimate goal for UT Dallas, Texas Tech University, and UTRGV. With its victory in the Texas Collegiate Super Finals, UTRGV looks well positioned for the upcoming Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship (Pan-Am) and for qualifying from the Pan-Am to the 2020 President’s Cup. The 2019 Pan-Am will be December 27-30 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The 2020 President’s Cup, featuring the top four colleges from the Pan-Am, will be April 4-5 at the Marshall Chess Club in New York City.


Team Roster and Standings

 

Code

Name

Score

TBrk[G]

1

UTRGV1

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley - 1 (2535.3) W6 W5 W4 L3

3.0

12

 

 

GM KAMIL DRAGUN (2584) 2.0

 

 

 

 

GM ANDREY STUKOPIN (2565) 3.5

 

 

 

 

GM VLADIMIR BELOUS (2503) 3.5

 

 

 

 

IM IRAKLI BERADZE (2489) 3.0

 

 

2

UTRGV2

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley - 2 (2432.3) W4 W6 L3 W5

3.0

10.5

 

 

GM ULVI BAJARANI (2477) 2.0

 

 

 

 

GM CARLOS HEVIA ALEJANO (2491) 3.0

 

 

 

 

IM FELIX YNOJOSA APONTE (2387) 3.5

 

 

 

 

IM YANNICK KAMBRATH (2374) 2.0

 

 

3

TTU1

Texas Tech University - 1 (2538.3) D5 D4 W2 W1

3.0

9

 

 

GM ANDREY BARYSHPOLETS (2562) 2.5

 

 

 

 

GM SERGEI MATSENKO (2529) 2.5

 

 

 

 

GM PAVLO VORONTSOV (2544) 2.0

 

 

 

 

FM ALEKSEY SOROKIN (2518) 2.0

 

 

4

UTD1

University of Texas at Dallas - 1 (2482.5) L2 D3 L1 W6

1.5

7.5

 

 

IM TITAS STREMAVICIUS (2504) 2.0

 

 

 

 

GM RAZVAN PREOTU (2489) 1.5

 

 

 

 

IM OMER RESHEF (2470) 1.5

 

 

 

 

IM EYAL GRINBERG (2467) 2.0

 

 

 

 

IM CRAIG HILBY (2417) 0.5

 

 

5

UTD2

University of Texas at Dallas - 2 (2463.5) D3 L1 W6 L2

1.5

7.5

 

 

GM GIL POPILSKI (2460) 2.0

 

 

 

 

IM KACPER DROZDOWSKI (2470) 1.5

 

 

 

 

GM DAVID BERCZES (2487) 1.5

 

 

 

 

IM EYLON NAKAR (2437) 1.5

 

 

 

 

IM ZURAB JAVAKHADZE (2434) 1.0

 

 

6

TTU2

Texas Tech University - 2 (2079.3) L1 L2 L5 L4

0.0

1.5

 

 

IM LUIS CARLOS TORRES (2354) 1.5

 

 

 

 

WIM IRYNA ANDRENKO (2114) 0.0

 

 

 

 

NADEZHDA SALAH (2042) 0.0

 

 

 

 

WCM CLAUDIA E MUNOZ (1807) 0.0

 

 

All available games

 

Games from Round 1 were not recorded

Links




Alexey was the 1989 U.S. Women's Chess Champion and is a Woman International Master. She earned her bachelor’s degree in History at the University of Puget Sound and her doctoral degree in Education at The University of California, Los Angeles. She has been a Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies at UT Dallas since 1999 and is a prolific author.
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