Texas Tech Knight Raiders Win Pan-Ams

TTU trophy Texas Tech "A" accepts its first ever PanAms championship trophy. (l.-r.): IM Andrey Gorovets (4th board), GM Yaro Zherebukh (1st board) Head Coach GM Alex Onischuk, GM Elshan Moradiabadi (2nd board), GM Andriy Baryshpolets (3rd Board) When the Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Championships started the clocks for the sixth and final round at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, two squads led the pack of 42 teams. UT-Rio Grand Valley “A,” Webster “B” and UT-Dallas “B” had collected 4.5 points, drawing a match with each other the night before. Texas Tech went to the final match a half-point behind the leaders, along with with Columbia U. and Lindenwood.
DSC_0250 Texas Tech University after winning
Late the night before, the featured football game on the Sheraton Cleveland Airport Hotel’s in-room ESPN showed the Texas Tech Red Raiders collapse in a lop-sided loss against LSU. But the next morning, the Texas Tech Knight Raiders showed grittier resolve. While UT-RGV “A” and Webster “B” made draws on all four boards, Texas Tech put 10-time PanAms winner Dallas out of national championship contention with an impressive 3-1, no-loss finale. Columbia U. likewise scored a win, knocking Lindenwood out of the winners’ circle. So four teams tied with 5-1 and enter the record books as co-champions. But Texas Tech won the championship trophy with the highest tie-break points. After all, the Knight Raiders top squad had spent the whole event at the top tables, scoring four wins against highly rated teams and drawing matches against both Webster’s “A” and “B” powerhouses. When TDs Joe Yun’s and Boyd Reed’s laptops had finished their silent reckoning, the final pecking order sorted out this way: 1. Texas Tech “A’ 2. UT-Rio Grande Valley “A” 3. Webster U. “B” 4. Columbia “A” The four 5-1 schools made a tight pattern of candidates for their next target—the US college ladder, the Final Four of College Chess, to be held this April at New York City’s Marshall Chess Club. Tiebreaks for the national college chess championship playoff were gratefully unnecessary. “This was the toughest PanAms ever, and I’ve been to eight as player or coach,” Texas Tech Head Coach GM Alex Onischuk, himself a former US Champion and Olympiad medalist, said. “Our team knew we had to win in the last round. This year’s A-squad of Zherebukh, Moradiabadi, Baryshpolets, and Gorovets is really our dream team.”  Here's a game featuring Texas Tech's top board vs. the highest rated player in the competition, Liem Le.

[Event "2015 Pan-American Intercollegiate Chess"]
[Site "Cleveland Ohio"]
[Date "2015.12.29"]
[White "Le, Liem"]
[Black "Zherebukh, Yarosla"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[ECO "D37"]
[WhiteElo "2803"]
[BlackElo "2697"]
[Annotator "Lawrence,Al"]
[PlyCount "150"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[TimeControl "6000+1080"]
[WhiteClock "0:01:43"]
[BlackClock "0:02:24"]

1. d4 {The match up of GM Liem Le, Webster's top gun, and Texas Tech
University's Yaro Zherebukh ("Yaro Z") has been a highlight of recent college
championships. Both are world-class GMs who play for double-edged positions in
order to win. This game yields an unbalanced endgame that looks worse for
Black, until Yaro Z finds an ingenious way out to draw.} d5 {The match up of
GM Liem Le, Webster's top gun, and Texas Tech University's Yaro Zherebukh
("Yaro Z") has been a highlight of recent college championships. Both are
world-class GMs who play for double-edged positions in order to win. This game
yields an unbalanced endgame that looks worse for Black, until Yaro Z finds an
ingenious way out to draw.} 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 Be7 5. Bf4 O-O 6. e3 b6
7. Bd3 dxc4 8. Bxc4 Ba6 9. Qe2 Bxc4 10. Qxc4 c5 11. dxc5 bxc5 12. O-O Nc6 13.
Rfd1 Qb6 14. Na4 Qb4 15. Qa6 Rfc8 16. a3 Qa5 17. Qxa5 Nxa5 18. Rac1 Nd5 19. Bg3
Nb6 20. Nc3 Nac4 21. Rc2 Bf6 22. Rb1 Rd8 23. Kf1 Rd3 24. Ne4 Bxb2 25. Rbxb2
Nxb2 26. Rxb2 Rxa3 27. Nxc5 Rc8 28. Ne4 Rc1+ 29. Ke2 Rca1 30. Nfd2 R3a2 31. Rb3
Ra3 32. Rb4 Ra4 33. Rb5 Ra5 34. Rxa5 Rxa5 35. Bc7 Rb5 36. Nc3 Rb2 37. Kd3 Nd7
38. Bd6 h5 39. f4 f6 40. e4 g5 41. fxg5 fxg5 42. e5 Kf7 43. g3 Kg6 44. h3 a5
45. Nf3 a4 46. h4 gxh4 47. gxh4 Kf5 48. Nxa4 Ra2 49. Nc3 Ra5 50. Ne4 Kf4

51. Neg5 Ra4 52. Ke2 Ra2+ 53. Nd2 Kf5 54. Ngf3 Kg4 55. Kd3 Ra5 56. Nc4
Ra6 57. Ke3 Ra4 58. Nb2 Ra2 59. Nd3 Nb6 60. Nf2+ Kg3 61. Ne4+ Kg2 62. Nfg5 Nd5+
63. Kd4 Ra4+ 64. Kc5 Ne3 65. Kb5 Rd4 66. Kc6 Nf5 67. Kd7 Nxh4 $1
68. Kxe6 Ng6 69. Kf6 Nxe5 70. Bxe5 Rxe4 $3 71. Nxe4 h4 72. Nd6 h3 73. Nf5 h2
74. Nh4+ Kh3 75. Bxh2 Kxh2 1/2-1/2
UT-RGV, a new college, goes to the Final Four in its very first year of existence. The school inherited the UT-Brownsville chess program, which hadn’t made the Final Four since 2010. Finding a meandering path through tornadoes and snowstorms, UT-RGV “A” had traveled all night, barely making the first round. “I think the difficulty getting here just gave us even more motivation,” head coach GM Bartek Macieja said. Notably, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County failed to qualify for the Final Four for the first time in the playoff’s 15-year history. Co-champ Columbia “A,” despite its 2340 average team rating, must have been considered a dark horse and deserves its hard-fought-for recognition. And Webster “A,” with an eye-popping 2747 team average, was certainly a surprise to finish out of the winners’ circle. (Final Four rules, however, permit each qualifier to field whatever team members it wishes, and Webster is in by virtue of its B-team’s performance.) Webster's downfall at the hands of University of Texas of Dallas's "B" team included a win from impressive grind from GM Nadezhda Kosintseva over Vasif Durarbayli.

[Event "2015 Pan-American Intercollegiate Chess"]
[Site "Cleveland Ohio"]
[Date "2015.12.28"]
[Round "3.3"]
[White "Durarbayli, Vasif"]
[Black "Kosintseva, Nadezh"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "E05"]
[WhiteElo "2707"]
[BlackElo "2523"]
[Annotator "Lawrence,Al"]
[PlyCount "146"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[TimeControl "6000+745"]
[WhiteClock "0:25:29"]
[BlackClock "0:03:22"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 3. g3 e6 4. Bg2 Be7 5. O-O O-O 6. c4 dxc4 7. Qc2 a6 8. a4
Bd7 9. Qxc4 Bc6 10. Bg5 a5 11. Nc3 Na6 12. Bxf6 Bxf6 13. e4 Nb4 14. Rfd1 b6 15.
Qe2 Bb7 16. Rac1 Re8 17. h4 h6 18. Qe3 Rc8 19. Qf4 Ba6 20. Bf1 Bxf1 21. Kxf1 c6
22. Qe3 Qc7 23. Kg2 Red8 24. Rd2 Qb8 25. Rcd1 Be7 26. Qe2 Bf6 27. Nh2 c5 28. d5
exd5 29. Nxd5 Nxd5 30. Rxd5 Re8 31. b3 Rc6 32. Qc4 Rce6 33. Re1 Qb7 34. Nf3 Qc6
35. Qd3 Be5 36. Rd8 Rxd8 37. Qxd8+ Kh7 38. Qd5 Qc7 39. Rd1 Qe7 40. Qa8 g6 41.
h5 gxh5 42. Rd5 Bf6 43. Rf5 Kg7 44. Nd2 h4 45. Rf4 Bg5 46. Rg4 h5
47. gxh4 hxg4 48. hxg5 Qxg5 49. Nf1 Qf4 50. Ng3 Qf3+ 51. Kg1 Kh7 52. Qd5 Rh6
53. Nh5 g3 54. Nxg3 Rf6 55. Nf5 Rxf5 {Black simplifies to an
easily-won endgame--but the conclusion is elegant!} 56. Qxf5+ Qxf5 57. exf5 Kg7
58. Kg2 Kf6 59. Kg3 Kxf5 60. Kf3 Kf6 61. Kf4 Ke6 62. Ke4 f6 63. Kf4 Kd5 64. Kf5
c4 65. bxc4+ Kxc4 66. Kxf6 b5 67. axb5 Kxb5 68. f4 a4 69. f5 a3 70. Ke7 a2 71.
f6 a1=Q 72. f7 Qg7 73. Ke8 Kc6 {White can promote only to be checkmated with
Qd7.} 0-1

Another Webster-Texas Tech matchup featured Denes Boros of Webster B vs. Andrey Gorovets:

[Event "2015 Pan-American Intercollegiate Chess"]
[Site "Cleveland Ohio"]
[Date "2015.12.29"]
[Round "4.4"]
[White "Boros, Denes"]
[Black "Gorovets, Andrey"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "D30"]
[WhiteElo "2512"]
[BlackElo "2636"]
[Annotator "Lawrence,Al"]
[PlyCount "156"]
[EventDate "2015.??.??"]
[TimeControl "6000+985"]
[WhiteClock "0:13:33"]
[BlackClock "0:03:44"]

1. Nf3 d5 2. d4 c6 3. c4 e6 4. Qd3 Nf6 5. g3 dxc4 6. Qxc4 b5 7. Qc2 Bb7 8. Bg2
Nbd7 9. Nc3 c5 10. dxc5 Bxc5 11. O-O Rc8 12. a3 Qb6 13. Ng5 Bxg2 14. Kxg2 O-O
15. Qd3 a6 16. Nce4 Rfd8 17. Nxc5 Nxc5 18. Qf3 h6 19. Nh3 Nce4 20. Be3 Qd6 21.
Rfc1 Qe5 22. Rxc8 Rxc8 23. Rc1 Rd8 24. Bb6 Qxb2 25. Bxd8 Qxc1 26. Bxf6 Nd2 27.
Qa8+ Kh7 28. g4 Qf1+ 29. Kg3 Qxe2 30. Ba1 Ne4+ 31. Kf4 Nxf2 32. Nxf2 Qxf2+ 33.
Qf3 Qxh2+ 34. Ke4 Qa2 35. Qc3 Qe2+ 36. Kf4 f6 37. Kg3 e5 38. Bb2 Kg6 39. Qc8
Qe3+ 40. Kg2 Qd2+ 41. Kg3 Qf4+ 42. Kg2 Qe4+ 43. Kg3 Qd3+ 44. Kf2 Kg5 45. Qc1+
Kxg4 46. Qg1+ Kf5 47. Qxg7 Qd2+ 48. Kf3 e4+ $1 49. Kg3 Qxb2 50. Qd7+ Ke5 51.
Qe7+ Kd5 52. Qf7+ Kc5 53. Qe7+ Kc4 54. Qxe4+ Kb3 55. Qe6+ Kxa3 56. Qxa6+ Kb4
57. Qd6+ Kb3 58. Qe6+ Ka4 59. Qa6+ Kb4 60. Qd6+ Kc4 61. Qc6+ Kd3 62. Qf3+ Kd2
63. Qd5+ Kc2 64. Qe4+ Kc3 65. Qc6+ Kb3 66. Qxb5+ Ka2 67. Qc6 Qe5+ 68. Kf3 Kb2
69. Qb6+ Kc2 70. Qf2+ Kc3 71. Qa2 Qf5+ 72. Kg3 Qd3+ 73. Kg4 Qc4+ 74. Qxc4+ Kxc4
75. Kf5 h5 76. Kf4 Kd4 77. Kf3 Ke5 78. Kg3 Ke4 0-1

The top six teams take home trophies. And other division titles are important at the PanAms as well. Many colleges brought home boast-worthy titles: 5th-place Team Webster University - A 6th-place Team University of Texas at Dallas - B Division I Champion (Team 2200 or above) University of Texas at Dallas - A Division II Champion (Team 2000 to 2199) Columbia University - B Division III Champion (Team 1800 to 1999) Texas Tech - C Division IV Champion (Team 1600 to 1799) University of Illinois - C Division V Champion (Team under 1600) UMBC - B Top Women's Team Webster University - Girls Top International Team University of Toronto - A 2nd International Team University of Toronto - B Top Small College Oberlin College Top Community College Miami Dade College Top Board 1 Manuel Leon Hoyos (Webster C) Top Board 2
HoyosBestBoard1 (1) GM Manuel Leon Hoyos
Kyron Griffith (Columbia A) Top Board 3 Holden Hernandez (UTRGV A) Top Board 4 Ray Robson (Webster A) Top Alternate Carla Heredia (Texas Tech B) Biggest Team Upset University of Illinois - C Biggest Individual Upset Ajay Gudivada (Michigan) The championship is “Pan-American” because universities and colleges from North, South and Central America, as well as the Caribbean, are eligible to enter as many teams as they can muster. And, in case you’re wondering, every entrant, from GM to unrated, is a legitimate college student who must meet, among other prerequisites, the required course load and GPA. Every year, a subcommittee of the US Chess College Chess Committee examines university documentation to verify each player’s eligibility. The 2015 PanAms, a US Chess national event, was hosted by Oberlin College, who also won Best Small College for the third year in a row, and organized by its Women’s Tennis Head Coach and Chess Club Sponsor Constantine Ananiadis. Players and coaches praised the well-planned schedule and comfortable layout, featuring a play-where-you-stay venue with a walkway to the airport terminal. Chief TD Joe Yun, NTD Boyd Reed and Senior TD Kelly Bloomfield ran the competition without a single kerfuffle.
FullSizeRender The female participants at the Pan-American Championship received a sweet gift of chocolates courtesy of Maureen Grimaud, co-chair of the US Chess Women's committee. 
Early arrivers had the opportunity to play in the Ohio G/45 Championship on Saturday and the Ohio Blitz Championship on Sunday, before the PanAms first round that evening. GM Vasif Durarbayli of Webster won the G/45 and its $1,000 first prize. GMs Illia Nyzhnyk of Webster and GM Levan Bregadze of UMBC shared the $600 first prize in the Blitz event. More details, as well as the PGN file of top-board games are available at www.buckeyechess.com.

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