UTD Rallies To Tie Duke for First Place in National College Chess Tournament Played Over the Internet
Win Caps Off ‘That Championship Season’ for Top-Ranked Team

Capping off one of the greatest seasons in the history of college chess, The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) rallied on Sunday to tie Duke University for first place in the 4th annual National College Chess League Tournament, the most prestigious college chess competition played entirely over the Internet.

UTD edged out Duke on a tiebreaker to take the first place trophy, but under U.S. Chess Federation rules, UTD and Duke are considered co-champions. UTD had won the tournament in each of the three previous years the online competition was held.

The University of Chicago led going into going into the fourth and final round of the tournament, but UTD obliterated Chicago, 4-0, in head-to-head play on Sunday and surged into the first place tie with Duke.

Sunday’s win came only three weeks after UTD rallied in dramatic fashion to beat out Harvard, Stanford and its old rival, The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), to take the Final Four of Chess Tournament at the World Chess Hall of Fame and Sidney Samole Museum in Miami, Fla. It was the second year in a row UTD had won the Final Four. UMBC, a leader in college chess for many years before being unseated by UTD, does not participate in the Internet tournament.

Less than four months before winning the Final Four, UTD and UMBC tied for first place in the Pan American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship in Providence, R.I. It was the second year in a row that the two had tied for first place in the Pan Am, which is usually considered the top college chess tournament played in the Western Hemisphere.

Last June, two months after winning the inaugural Final Four in Dallas — also after a dramatic rally on the final day of the competition — UTD was named “Chess College of the Year” by the U.S. Chess Federation.

The winning UTD team in the Internet competition was composed of Grandmaster Yuri Shulman of Belarus, team captain, Grandmaster Marcin Kaminski of Poland, FIDE Master Andrei Zaremba of Michigan, the hero of the Final Four in Miami, and FIDE Master Dennis Rylander of Sweden. National Master Andrew Whatley of Alabama, who normally plays fourth board for the UTD, was hospitalized with a non-chess-related knee injury and could not participate on Sunday. The champion UTD team is coached by International Master Rade Milovanovic.

Dr. Tim Redman, director of the UTD chess program, played on the University of Chicago chess team that won back-to-back national championships in 1973 and 1974. But he had no conflicted loyalties when UTD went up against Chicago in the critical match on Sunday. “We (UTD) needed to beat Chicago, and I thought we would. But given the strength of their team, I was quite surprised by the 4-0 margin of victory,” said Redman, a professor of literary studies in UTD’s School of Arts and Humanities.

UTD, which has no football team, ranks among the top universities in the country in computer science graduates and has strong programs in many other areas including engineering, audiology, space sciences, nanotechnology and sickle cell disease research. Chess is viewed at UTD as a symbol of academic excellence and intellectual rigor.

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