Chess Team Is Prepared for Final Four Showdown in New York City
University to Hold Pep Rally Featuring Free Pizza, Performances on Wednesday

Pep Rally for Chess Team

When: noon Wednesday

Where: Student Union

What: Enjoy free pizza and drinks and join Temoc, the UT Dallas cheerleaders and the pep band for the chess team’s send-off. 

The UT Dallas chess team will return to New York City this weekend to vie for the President’s Cup, considered the Final Four of collegiate chess, for the 15th time in the team’s history.

If it's victorious, it will be the sixth time the team has won or tied for first at the annual tournament. The Comets are going up against Webster University, Saint Louis University and Texas Tech University.

“We are very proud of the performance of the chess team this year,” program director James Stallings said. “It is not easy for team members to balance the demands of their academic studies with those of their chess studies.”

Going into the tournament, UT Dallas is ranked third behind Webster University — the highest-rated collegiate team in the country — and Saint Louis University. Incidentally, one of UT Dallas' opponents is led by alumnus and former chess captain Alejandro Ramirez BA’09, MFA’11, now head coach and director for Saint Louis’ team. Ramirez’s band of players will face off against his alma mater in their first appearance at the Final Four.

UT Dallas was the fourth university to qualify for the Final Four at the preceding Pan American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship last December, where it faced stiff competition from UT Rio Grande Valley and the University of Illinois.

UT Dallas' appearance at the President’s Cup is a comeback of sorts for the team after it fell short of qualification for last year’s tournament.

“Because the competition has increased so much in the last couple of years, qualifying to the Final Four has become a very tough task,” said Grandmaster Dani Raznikov, a software engineering sophomore. 

Raznikov will compete alongside Grandmasters Gil Popilski, a computer science sophomore; Denis Kadric, an accounting junior; David Berczes, a finance senior; Holden Hernandez, a computer science graduate student; and Angel Arribas, a software engineering freshman.

The Final Four, which is sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton and Two Sigma, will be held at the Marshall Chess Club from Friday to Sunday. Follow @UT_Dallas on Twitter and UT Dallas’ Facebook for updates on the team’s performance throughout the weekend. 


UT Dallas Chess Final Four Team

Grandmaster Gil Popilski
Grandmaster Gil Popilski, computer science sophomore
USCF Rating: 2648
FIDE Rating: 2551
Grandmaster Denis Kadric
Grandmaster Denis Kadric, accounting junior
USCF Rating: 2600
FIDE Rating: 2556
Grandmaster David Berczes
Grandmaster David Berczes, finance senior
USCF Rating: 2584
FIDE Rating: 2493
Grandmaster Holden Hernandez
Grandmaster Holden Hernandez, computer science graduate student
USCF Rating: 2578
FIDE Rating: 2501


Grandmaster Dani Raznikov
Grandmaster Dani Raznikov, software engineering sophomore
USCF Rating: 2577
FIDE Rating: 2512

Grandmaster Angel Arribas
Grandmaster Angel Arribas, software engineering freshman
USCF Rating: 2562
FIDE Rating: 2511

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

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