While San Antonio Enjoys the Noise and Hoopla,
Kansas Town Will Host Quieter Kind of 'Final Four'
Chess Powerhouse UTD Will Take on
Two Other Schools for the President's
RICHARDSON, Texas (March. 8, 2004) - On the first weekend
in April, while thousands of fans crowd into San Antonio's Alamodome and many millions more watch
on television to see who will emerge as the undisputed champion of college hoops (Duke? St. Joe's?
Stanford? A dark horse?), another Final Four tournament - equally intense but without the glitter
and breathtaking excitement of basketball's slam dunks, alley-oop passes and threes from "downtown" exploding
at the buzzer, simultaneously provoking sweet delirium and stone-cold shock -- will be played out
with little fanfare and an unremitting absence of scalpers, far from the maddening crowds three states
to the south, in the ballroom of Brunswick Plaza, an orange brick former hotel on South Main Street
in Lindsborg, a Central Kansas town of 3,300 that is nestled along the Smoky Hill River, bills itself
as "A Bit of Sweden in the Heartland" and is located 20 miles south of Salina and 15 miles north
The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) will be there - right
in the thick of things.
UTD, winner of two of the first three Final Four of
Chess tourneys ever held and reigning "King of the Squareboards" by virtue of last December in Miami
having won the most prestigious college chess tournament held each year in the Western Hemisphere
-- the Pan American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship -- will take on three of the top U.S.
runners-up in the Pan Am -- UTD's longtime arch-rival, The University of Maryland, Baltimore County
(UMBC), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Miami (Dade) Community College. While the winning
combatant in the cerebral competition in Lindsborg may not make the cover of Sports Illustrated,
the way the NCAA basketball champs no doubt will, it will get to take home the President's
Cup emblematic of college chess supremacy.
The outcome almost inevitably will come down to UTD
and UMBC playing head-to-head on the final day of the event. It almost always does. In both 2001
and 2002, UTD came from behind in dramatic fashion in the final game of the final match to beat UMBC
and win the Final Four. But last year, the roles were reversed. UMBC trailed going into its Sunday
match against the two-time winners but played almost flawlessly against UTD and dashed the team from
Texas' hopes for a "three-peat."
No college basketball squad, at least not since the
nonpareil UCLA teams of Coach John Wooden several decades ago, has compiled the kind of winning records
that UTD and UMBC have in chess in recent years. UMBC has either won or tied for first place in five
of the last seven Pan Am tournaments. UTD has either won or tied for first in three of the last four
Pan Am events and, as previously noted, has won outright two of the three Final Four competitions.
In fact, the two teams are such sure bets that office pools are not permitted in chess.
"This one will probably be the same and come down to
another hard-fought battle between the two best teams in college chess," said Dr. Tim Redman, director
of UTD's chess program. "UMBC is statistically the favorite, but they were last December in Miami
and we beat them anyway. Our coach, International Master Rade Milovanovic, has the team ready, but
for us to win, our players have to want it more."
UTD will be represented at this year's Final Four, which
is being hosted by the Anatoly Karpov School of Chess in Lindsborg, by Grandmaster (GM) Marcin Kaminski of
Poland, 26, a senior majoring in computer science and software engineering; International Master (IM) Dmitry
Scheider of New York, 18, a freshman business administration major; IM Magesh Chandran Panchanathan of India,
20, a freshman majoring in telecommunications; and IM Amon Simutowe of Zambia, 21, a freshman majoring in
economics and finance. FIDE Master (FM) Daniel Fernandez of Florida, 18, a freshman majoring in economics,
will serve as alternate.
The University of Texas at Dallas, located
at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology
corporations known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls more than 13,700 students. The school's freshman
class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The
university offers a broad assortment of bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. For additional
information about UTD, please visit the university's web site at www.utdallas.edu.