Chess Team Retains Transatlantic Cup with Victory over Belgrade

Chess team

Dani Raznikov and Zurabi Javakhadze hoist the Svetozar Gligoric Transatlantic Cup after the chess team defeated the University of Belgrade for the second year in a row. The Comets will face a field of 40 competitors over nine rounds at the UT Dallas Fall FIDE Open Tournament, which runs Nov. 18-23.

After a rocky start, the UT Dallas chess team emerged triumphant in its annual match against the University of Belgrade with a 10-6 victory.

The chess team cemented its reputation as one of the nation’s best with a repeat win at this year’s match on Nov. 4. In 2015, it recaptured the Svetozar Gligoric Transatlantic Cup for the first time in five years.

“We were very pleased with the performance of the team on all boards from top to bottom,” said Jim Stallings, director of the chess program. “The top eight boards, where we were favored, did much better than expected with a crushing 6-2 result. At the same time, the bottom eight boards, who were clear underdogs, did extremely well by holding their own with a 4-4 score.”

The internet-based tournament, played with 16 boards, or players, from each side sparring via laptop, started with a slight advantage for Belgrade. The average FIDE rating, a rating given to players by the World Chess Federation, of Belgrade’s team was 2359 versus the Comets’ 2345.

The first half of the match was plagued by draws, with Belgrade maintaining a small lead at 3-2. Then, UT Dallas’ crew of grandmasters, international masters and national masters began turning the tides.

Svetozar Gligoric
Transatlantic Cup

(Final score in parentheses)

2006: Belgrade (8.5-7.5)
2007: UT Dallas (11-5)
2008: UT Dallas (12.5-3.5)
2009: UT Dallas (8.5-7.5)
2010: Belgrade (11.5-4.5)
2011: Tie (8-8)
2012: Belgrade (9.5-6.5)
2013: Belgrade (9-7)
2014: Tie (8-8)
2015: UT Dallas (9-7)
2016: UT Dallas (10-6)

“Individual matches were tight and intense. But in the last minutes, our players were more patient and concentrated,” said chess coach Rade Milovanovic.

Freshman Titas Stremavicius, a finance and economics double major, secured a win for the team.

“Since I'm still a new team member, I felt a lot of pressure to perform, especially because my opponent was pressing me from start to finish,” he said. “Luckily, he didn't play accurately when he had his chance, and I was able to convert my material advantage to win the game for the University and the team.”

The team is experiencing an influx of talent, welcoming eight new players this semester, including two grandmasters and two international masters. Finance senior Mariam Danelia, a woman international master, notched another win for the team. She said the cup is a chance to connect with the team and the chess community.

"This annual match gives us an opportunity to get to know the students from across the world, who we would have never known otherwise,” she said. “Despite the friendship between two universities, the match is always very competitive and I am happy we won and kept the trophy at UT Dallas this year.”


What's Next

UT Dallas Fall FIDE Open

The Comets will face a field of 40 competitors over nine rounds at the UT Dallas Fall FIDE Open Tournament, which runs Nov. 18-23.

Opening ceremonies will be 5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, at the Embassy Suites Dallas-Park Central.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].