St Louis University edges out Webster University to win President’s Cup

by Carlos Alberto Colodro
4/10/2022 – In a two-day event played last weekend, Saint Louis University won the President’s Cup, a team event featuring the top four US schools from the Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Championship. Webster University came in second place, merely a half point behind the winners — board points, and not team wins, were the deciding factor. | Photo: Texas Tech Chess

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A close fight for first place

Back in January, 57 teams representing colleges from all around the United States participated in the Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Championship. The four top finishers qualified to the President’s Cup, a two-day single round robin event in which board points, and not match points (as in the Olympiad), were the deciding factor.

At the Intercollegiate Championship, Saint Louis University got clear first place as the only team that scored six match wins in as many rounds. The team is coached by GM Alejandro Ramirez and has no fewer than 14 members, including four 2600+ rated grandmasters: Dariusz Swiercz, Benjamin Bok, Nikolas Theodorou and Cemil Can Ali Marandi.

Two squads hailing from Texas finished in second and third places. The University of Texas at Dallas, captained by GM Julio Sadorra, and the Texas Tech University, captained by former US champion Alexander Onischuk.

Fourth place went to Webster University, the strongest team rating-wise, which was surprisingly defeated by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in round 4. Vietnamese star Le Quang Liem is the captain at Webster, while no fewer than six 2600+ rated players are included in its roster: Benjamin Gledura, Lazaro Bruzon, Aram Hakobyan, John Burke, Yuniesky Quesada and Jose Martinez.

Webster University Chess

The Webster University squad, with captain Le Quang Liem (second from the left)  | Photo: Texas Tech Chess

Saint Louis University also won the President’s Cup, albeit by the smallest of margins. The team, which is supported by SLU alumnus Rex Sinquefield, finished the event with 7½/12 board points to outscore Webster University by a mere half point. Texas Tech University got third place, while the University of Texas at Dallas finished last.

The two rating favourites were paired up against each other in the third and final round. Aram Hakobyan (Webster) got the better of Akshat Chandra (SLU), while Nikolas Theodorou (SLU) scored the crucial win, over Benjamin Gledura (Webster), that gave his team overall victory.

Theodorou had the white pieces and scored a convincing attacking victory over Gledura. The latter had obtained back-to-back wins in the first two rounds. On move 22, Theodorou gave up a rook before launching a winning attack.

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Nikolas Theodorou, Benjamin Gledura

Nikolas Theodorou facing Benjamin Gledura | Photo: Texas Tech Chess

Texas Tech University Chess

The Texas Tech University chess team, captained by Alexander Onischuk, hosted the event | Photo: Texas Tech Chess


Team compositions with round results

1. Saint Louis University (RtgAvg:2663, TB1: 7,5 / TB2: 4)

Bo.   Name Rtg FED 1 2 3 Pts. Games RtgAvg
1 GM Swiercz Dariusz 2739 USA 1 ½ ½ 2,0 3 2637
2 GM Theodorou Nikolas 2639 GRE   ½ 1 1,5 2 2654
3 GM Bok Benjamin 2675 NED ½ 0   0,5 2 2592
4 GM Chandra Akshat 2571 USA     0 0,0 1 2676
5 GM Ali Marandi Cemil Can 2600 TUR 1 1 ½ 2,5 3 2573
6 GM Kevlishvili Robby 2561 NED 1     1,0 1 2589

2. Webster University (RtgAvg:2692, TB1: 7 / TB2: 4)

Bo.   Name Rtg FED 1 2 3 Pts. Games RtgAvg
1 GM Bruzon Batista Lazaro 2686 USA   1 ½ 1,5 2 2672
2 GM Gledura Benjamin 2728 HUN 1 1 0 2,0 3 2618
3 GM Martinez Jose  2656 PER   0   0,0 1 2589
4 GM Hakobyan Aram 2676 ARM 0   1 1,0 2 2575
5 GM Quesada Yuniesky 2665 USA 0     0,0 1 2579
6 GM Burke John M 2676 USA 1 1 ½ 2,5 3 2562

3. Texas Tech University (RtgAvg:2576, TB1: 5,5 / TB2: 2)

1 GM Sorokin Aleksey 2643 RUS 0 ½ ½ 1,0 3 2691
2 IM Khanin Semen     2579 RUS 1 ½ ½ 2,0 3 2629
3 IM Matviishen Viktor 2579 UKR 1 1 0 2,0 3 2643
4 IM Schmakel Sam 2503 USA 0 0 ½ 0,5 3 2619

4. University of Texas at Dallas (RtgAvg:2590, TB1: 4 / TB2: 2)

1 IM Grinberg Eyal 2583 ISR 0     0,0 1 2739
2 IM Vazquez Guillermo 2605 PAR ½ 0 ½ 1,0 3 2668
3 GM Preotu Razvan 2541 CAN 0     0,0 1 2600
4 IM Schitco Ivan 2572 MDA   0 ½ 0,5 2 2654
5 IM Brodsky David 2589 USA 0 1 1 2,0 3 2599
6 IM Escalante Ramirez Brian  2582 PER   0 ½ 0,5 2 2590

All games

 

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Carlos Colodro is a Hispanic Philologist from Bolivia. He works as a freelance translator and writer since 2012. A lot of his work is done in chess-related texts, as the game is one of his biggest interests, along with literature and music.

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