University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley wins 2nd Annual Kasparov Chess Foundation University Cup

by Kasparov Chess Foundation
2/9/2022 – The Kasparov Chess Foundation organized the second annual KCF University Cup which was played on lichess.org and hosted on chessstream.com on the weekend of February 5 and 6, 2022. The tournament attracted students from every continent and from over thirty countries. With nearly 700 participants, the event was a resounding success. | Photo: Garry Kasparov | Photo: ChessBase

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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 2022 semester. The time control was a quick 10 minutes with a 5 second increment, perfect for a collegiate setting. A team consists of four players plus two alternates.  This year, the event featured a team rating cap of 2400 – no team could have an average rating exceeding 2400. This little twist made the event extremely competitive. One of the examples:

LiChess.org hosted the KCF University Cup. This was one of the many grandmaster games of the event: Missouri University’s Mikhail Antipov against Saint Louis University’s Robby Kevlishvili. White won a crushing game!

The competition was a nine round Swiss tournament, with some impressive statistics:

  • 146 teams from 79 colleges/universities
  • 31 countries from All Continents
  • Nearly 700 players participated
  • 16 GMs, 19 IMs, 2 WGMs, 3 WIMs, 14 FMs, 5 WFMs

Players from all over the world participated in the event. To ensure fair play, players had to log in to a giant, monitored zoom call.

The battles on the chess screens were intense. With a rating cap of 2400, it was clear that there would be no absolute favorite starting the event. It was hard to predict that 11 teams fielded a four player average of 2360 or more! The National Technical University of Athens managed to field a near perfect 2398.

Teams kept taking points off each other, and it was exceedingly rare for a match near the top of the standings to finish 4-0, or even 3.5-0.5. The players put their hearts on the chess board and it showed with the competitive fighting spirit all the teams brought. Even in the final round there were multiple universities that had a fighting chance at reaching a tie for first with 7.5 points: University of Texas at Dallas (A) managed to do so by securing a draw against University of Missouri (A) in the last round, while University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley (A) vanquished their eternal rivals, Texas Tech (A), by the minimum margin to also reach 7.5. Even on board three, both Saint Louis University and National Technical University of Athens (A) were in contention with 6.5 points each, but they were only able to reach 7 as they split the point. This allowed many other teams to join them in seven points, and the tournament ended with a big tie for third place. Due to the greater amount of game points – which was the tiebreak system for places other than first – it was the Armenian Institute of Physical Culture and Sport that took home not only third place, but also top European team.

After nine tough rounds, first place boiled down to one more match. According to the tournament’s regulations, the two universities that reached 7.5, UTRGV and UTD, would face in a playoff to determine the victor.

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley vs University of Texas at Dallas playoff

The playoff between UTRGV and UTD in which the former won convincingly.

The teams were not only fighting for the prestige of winning the KCF University Cup, but also for an exclusive training session with legendary World Champion Garry Kasparov! At the end of the playoff, these were the results:

UTRGV vs UTD
GM Kamil Dragun 0.5-0.5 IM Guillermo Vazquez
IM Irakli Beradze 1-0 IM Rahul Peddi
IM Viktor Gazik 1-0 IM Aaron Grabinsky
Ricardo Peredo 0-1 Thomas Kung

UTRGV was coached by GM Bartlomiej Macieja and GM Alexander Mista, while UTD was coached by GM Julio Sadorra.

Congratulations to UTRGV, winning for the second year in a row despite the strong competition.

Top-10 Final Standings:

1 University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley (A) 7.5 1st Place (Playoff Winner), Top Americas
2 University of Texas at Dallas (A) 7.5 – 2nd Place
3 Armenian State Institute of Physical Culture and Sport 7 – 3rd Place, Top European Team
4 University of Warsaw 7
5 University of Toronto 7
6 Texas Tech University (A) 7
7 University of Missouri – Mizzou (A) 7 – Top Mixed Doubles
8 University of Texas at Dallas (B)  7 – Top u2200
9  Saint Louis University 7
10 National Technical University of Athens 7

Out of this list notably University of Texas at Dallas (B) team won the u2200 prize and also won a coaching session with Garry Kasparov!

Other prizes went to:

Gunadarma University (A) – Top Asian Team
Vellore Institute of Technology (A) Top 1800-1999
Indian Institute of Technology (A) Top U1800
University of Benin (A) Top African Team

Particular congratulations to University of Benin, who hail from Nigeria, for winning Top African Team two years in a row.

All of these battles were followed closely by people around the world thanks to the commentary by U.S. Women’s Champion IM Carissa Yip, as well as FM Gauri Shankar.

The commentators were joined by a special guest before the start of round 6: World Champion Garry Kasparov for over an hour on the Sunday broadcast.

Carissa is a current member of the Young Stars program, and it is now characteristic that Kasparov joins a KCF Young Star with commentary for this event: last year the World Champion joined one of the program’s alums, GM Daniel Naroditsky. Carissa was very open about the ways that the KCF Young Stars program helped her in achieving her goals. Garry Kasparov was candid during the commentary session, answering questions regarding all aspects of chess, from game analysis to book writing. If you want to enjoy this insightful conversation you can find the link by clicking here.

You can find all the information of the tournament, the pairings, links to the games and final standings at the

Official KCF University Cup website

KCF established a 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 
  • International Arbiter Grant Oen, 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.


The vision of the Kasparov Chess Foundation is primarily to use the many benefits of chess to help children worldwide. KCF does this through a variety of different programs, which you can find at KasparovChessFoundation.org

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