2021 Pan-Am Intercollegiate Chess Championship to be held online in January


The Mechanics’ Institute in San Francisco is honored to organize the online 2020-2021 Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championships, open to any college or university team from the Americas or the Caribbean. This US Chess championship event is set to take place next month, January 3-6, and will be held on Chess.com.  

“We are happy we are able to organize this this event and provide the opportunity for colleges and universities to compete and bring the games to the world,” said Abel Talamantez, chess director at the Mechanics’ Institute. “We have an all-star team ready to bring a quality experience for the players and viewers, and to make sure all games are played with integrity and fairness.”   

The event pace will be fast and furious, with 9 rounds being played over three days and a rapid time control of G/25+5. Games will be manually paired and begun by staff, maintaining the team event and following a fixed schedule. Rules and eligibility requirements have been modified and accepted by the US Chess executive board for this year only to accommodate the reality of the global pandemic. 

“The Pan-Am has been a historical and very important event for the college chess community,” said Dr. Judit Sztaray, the general manager of youth outreach and events at Mechanics’ Institute. "Being able to continue this tradition online offers players, coaches and organizers a unique opportunity. We are preparing for the event using our previous experience running prestigious national online and OTB championships, making sure all the rules and settings are closely monitored, and having experts in online play on our staff. We are thankful for the close collaboration with the US Chess Executive Board, the college chess community, and Chess.com’s leadership for this event.”  


Image Caption
Texas Tech U.-A won six straight matches and the title of Pan Am champions. (l to r:) GM Andrey Baryshpolets, GM Sergey Matsenko, Head Coach GM Alex Onischuk, FM Aleksey Sorokin, IM Jack Shtembuliak, Pavel Vorontsov.

Texas Tech University is the defending champion, after upsetting perennial powerhouse Webster University in last year’s championship in Charlotte, NC to mark the school’s second Pan-Am title. Webster had won the previous seven championships, which had been the longest consecutive streak in Pan-Am history. Other powerhouse teams expected to compete in January are St. Louis University, the University of Missouri, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Toronto, Harvard University, MIT, Princeton, and UC Berkeley.  

This year’s collegiate championship opens the door in terms of participation, where the cost of travel and accommodations had previously been an obstacle. An online championship perhaps makes this Pan-Am more accessible than ever before, not just for American teams, but for Canadian and Latin American teams as well. 

The tournament will be directed by NTD Glenn Panner, the 2020 US Chess TD of the Year and a Pan-Am veteran. He will be joined by several more senior TDs and FIDE arbiters, including NTDs Brian Yang and John McCumiskey. 

The opening ceremony will be virtual and open to the public, and the full event will be broadcast with live commentary by the Mechanics’ team, including three-time US Chess champion GM Nick de Firmian and FM Paul Whitehead, on the Mechanics’ Twitch channel

Additionally, there will be a free blitz event for all participating Pan-Am players, as well as any player from the public who would like to challenge these talented college students. 

Teams have until December 20, 2020 to register with an early bird discount, and registration deadline is December 28. Click here to register for the 2021 Pan-Am Intercollegiate Team Chess Championships, and click here for more event information

Please send any questions to chessroom@milibrary.org.  




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