Texas Tech claims 3rd Kasparov Chess Foundation University Cup

by Press release
2/15/2023 – The Kasparov Chess Foundation organized the third annual KCF University Cup. This event was played on lichess.org and hosted on chessstream.com on the weekend of February 4 and 5, 2023. The tournament attracted well over 500 university students from every continent and from nearly thirty countries. The event was a resounding success.

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The KCF University Cup is an annual international online team event which is open to teams from a post-secondary school (university, college, community college, etc.) enrolled in at least one class in the January 2023 semester. The time control was a quick 10 minutes with a 5 second increment, perfect for a collegiate setting. A team consisted of four players plus two alternates.  After last year’s competitive event, the 2400 average team rating cap was maintained. The competition was a nine round Swiss tournament. Players were asked to join a zoom call for anti-cheating measures.

Expert commentary was provided by Grandmaster Daniel Naroditsky, alumni of KCF’s Young Stars program, and International Master Kostya Kavustkiy for the entire event. An enthusiastic Garry Kasparov greeted the participants before the start of day two and he joined the commentary for the sixth round games. 

You can replay the commentary of the competition on ChessDojo’s channel here: ChessDojo Videos

Top seed of the event was two time defending cup champion, University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley.

With six teams over 2340, it was difficult to predict who would raise the trophy at the end.

After the first day there was a big tie on the top and the tournament was far from clear who would prevail.

It was only at thet start of the second day that Texas Tech University distanced themselves from their rivals. Two key wins back to back happened in round six and seven:

Texas Tech University 2.5 – 1.5 University of Missouri

Saint Louis University 1.5-2.5 Texas Tech University

With these results Texas Tech gained some separation from second place. A draw against Bucharest and a final win against their long time rivals from their home state, University of Texas at Dallas, was sufficient for the Red Raiders (Texas Tech’s mascot) to clinch the tournament half a point clear.

International Master Semen Khanin (above) was one of the two heavy hitters of Texas Tech with 7.0/9 on board 2. His teammate, IM Viktor Matviishen, scored an impressive 7.5/9 on board 3. It is worth it to note Thalia Cervantes from Saint Louis University and Marcin Pilzak from the University of Naples who won all nine games they played in the tournament. Khanin can be seen here representing Texas Tech University in their latest over the board event: the Pan-American Intercollegiate. Photo by Jason Yu Courtesy of the Corporate Esports Association.

Top-10 Final Standings:

The podium was dominated by the American continent. All three of Texas Tech University, University of Missouri and Saint Louis University boast of powerful full-scholarship teams and measure against each other regularly in the American Collegiate championships. Of special mention is the University of Brawijaya A-team, which despite being an u2200 squad they managed to score 7.0/9, a tie for third place which they were edged out of on tiebreaks.

On top of the glory of winning the tournament, the Texas Tech squad won a private training session with the 13th World Chess Champion, Garry Kasparov himself.

The winning team:

  • GM Alexey Sorokin
  • IM Semen Khanin
  • IM Viktor Matviishen
  • Francesco Bortolussi

Texas Tech University is coached by GM Alexander Onischuk.

Universitas Brawijaya (A), Indonesia also won a training session with Kasparov as the top u2200 team.

Top Continental Teams:

Texas Tech University: Top American Team
Universitas Brawijaya (A): Top Asian Team
National Technical University of Athens: Top European Team
University of Stellenbosch: Top African Team

Category Prizes:

Universitas Brawijaya (B): Top Unrated Team
University of Ibadan: Top U1800
University of Texas at Dallas (C): Top 1800-1999
Universitas Brawijaya (A): Top 2000-2199

Top mixed doubles (two males, two females) went to University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley’s B-team

You can find all the information of the tournament:

Official KCF University Cup website

Kudos to KCF’s multinational team of officials and organizers that ensured fair and friendly competition. Thanks to them, this event ran very smoothly. Officials include: 

  • Michael Khodarkovsky, Kasparov Chess Foundation President
  • Grandmaster Alex Onischuk, US Chess College Committee Chair 
  • FIDE Arbiter Enrique Huerta, Chief Arbiter 
  • International Arbiter Ignatius Leong, Kasparov Chess Foundation Asia-Pacific Director
  • Hiquingari Carranza, KCF Ibero-America Director
  • Graham Jurgensen, KCF Africa Director 
  • Grandmaster Zlatko Klaric, KCF Adriatic Director
  • Grandmaster Darcy Lima, KCF Lusophone Director

About Kasparov Chess Foundation 

Founded by World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov, KCF’s mission is to bring the many educational benefits of chess to children worldwide by providing a complete chess curriculum and enrichment programs. The Foundation promotes the study of chess as a cognitive learning tool in curricular classes and after-school programs for elementary, middle and high schools, both in the public and private school sectors. The not-for-profit educational organization also organizes tournaments and competitions on a local and national basis. For more information, please visit http://www.kasparovchessfoundation.org.