Chess Team, University of Belgrade Finish All Square in Cup Matchup

UT Dallas Cheerleaders at chess match

UT Dallas cheerleaders and mascot Temoc led the opening ceremonies with chants calling for quick checkmates. See additional photos on UT Dallas' Facebook.

In today’s digital age, chess matches can easily occur between two players on opposite sides of the globe, as was the case in UT Dallas’ Svetozar Gligoric Transatlantic Cup. In the ninth annual Internet-based match, the Comets chess team faced students from the University of Belgrade in Serbia.

Sixteen players from each side squared off, with computer screens serving as virtual boards.

Mariam Danelia

Mariam Danelia

UT Dallas coach Rade Milovanovic said his team was up against a talented Serbian team this year.

“Belgrade had a significant ratings advantage — they looked a lot better on paper. Regardless, we made a point to prepare well before the match. We looked into our opponent’s games, what they had played in the past, and I told our team to expect to fight hard,” Milovanovic said.

As the games unfolded, the Comets were fighting, backs against the wall, just as their coach had predicted. Fourteen of the 16 games had ended, and UT Dallas was down eight games to six. 

Kacper Drozdowski

Kacper Drozdowski

Left standing were Kacper Drozdowski, a computer science freshman who arrived at the University this year from Poland, and finance sophomore Mariam Danelia, whose home country is Georgia.

“I spent a lot of time in the beginning of the game and then I made a mistake in the middle,” Danelia said. “I was nervous that I wasn’t going to win. I felt the pressure.”

Saving their team from defeat, both Drozdowski and Danelia won their matches. The result: a tie, eight games to eight.

“We fought for the tie. We didn’t give up, said Jim Stallings, the chess program director. I’m proud of the team for their determination. We had lost the previous two years against Belgrade, so we knew before the match began that it would be a tough road ahead of us. Our tie this year also means that the cup will return to Dallas.”


UT Dallas Fall FIDE Open

On the heels of the Internet match, the team is preparing for the UT Dallas Fall FIDE Open Tournament. From Nov. 21-26, University students will face a field of 42 competitors over nine rounds.

“With 11 grandmasters and 10 international masters, the tournament promises to pose a challenge to all involved,” Stallings said.

Grandmaster is the highest chess ranking, and international master is the second highest.

Opening ceremonies will be 5:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 21, at the Embassy Suites Dallas-Park Central.

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