Texas Tech Shows Its Six-Pack at PanAms!

Texas Tech chalked up the only 6-0 at the 66th consecutive Pan-American Collegiate Team Championships. This makes the second PanAms title collected by Texas Tech under the coaching of Hall of Famer and GM Alex Onischuk since his taking over the team in 2012. Tech won on tiebreaks in Cleveland in 2015. This year, the Red Raiders won every round, relieving Chief Director Grant Oen and his crew from any further calculations. TTU’s Women’s team won its part of the glory by taking the award for Top Women's Team.

Texas Tech University, Webster University, Saint Louis University and the University of Texas at Dallas qualified to compete in the upcoming Final Four playoff, to be held the first week of April at New York City’s Marshall Chess Club. Peter Giannatos, founder and director of the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy in Charlotte, North Carolina, organized the event, held December 27-30. Six-zero is the golden fleece of the crusade that is the modern Pan-American Collegiate Team Championships. Webster University found the magic back in 2013 in Lubbock at Texas Tech when there were 43 teams and five full-scholarship universities pulling up their drawbridges. This year, Texas Tech A managed the perfect streak among 63 teams and seven universities offering a full ride—sometimes, along with bonuses. (College chess is not governed by NCAA rules.) Saint Louis University began its chess program in 2015, Missouri just this year. In Round 5, when the top teams normally clash, Webster-A (4-0) was correctly paired with Webster-B (3 1/2-1/2) to avoid their playing in the final round. Four quick draws followed between Webster’s two top squads. Later in the round, Tech squeaked out a win against Saint Louis U.-A, spoiling the last remaining perfect score other than Texas Tech’s. The final round saw TTU-A (5-0) face UT-Dallas-A (4 1/2- 1/2) on Table 1. Tech’s victory on Board 2 was critical. After 22. Nf6+, Black could hold on, and, indeed, he was defending well until his 26. … Rxd3 left him victim to an irresistible kingside attack. Shtembuliak’s win tied the match with only Board 1 left playing, forcing GM Razvan Preotu to go hari-kari for a win against Tech’s GM Andrey Baryshpolets. Baryshpolets fended off the desperate attempt, confirming another 2 1/2-1 1/2 win for Tech-A.

[pgn] [Event "2019 Pan-Ams"] [Date "2019.12.30"] [Round "6"] [White "Shtembuliak, Evgeny"] [Black "Stremavicius, Titas"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "D35"] [WhiteElo "2601"] [BlackElo "2543"] [PlyCount "67"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] [Source "ChessStream.com"] 1. c4 e6 2. Nc3 d5 3. d4 Nf6 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 Nbd7 6. e3 Be7 7. Bd3 c6 8. Nge2 h6 9. Bh4 Nh5 10. Bxe7 Qxe7 11. Qd2 Nb6 12. O-O O-O 13. f3 Nf6 14. Rae1 Be6 15. b3 Rad8 16. e4 dxe4 17. fxe4 Bg4 18. e5 Nfd5 19. Bb1 c5 20. Ne4 Bxe2 21. Rxe2 (21. Qxe2 $18) 21... cxd4 22. Nf6+ Kh8 23. Re4 d3 24. b4 Nxf6 25. Rxf6 Kg8 26. Bxd3 Rxd3 $18 (26... Rfe8 $11) 27. Qxd3 gxf6 28. Rg4+ Kh8 29. Qe3 Kh7 30. Rh4 Kg6 31. Rxh6+ Kg7 32. exf6+ Qxf6 33. Rxf6 Kxf6 34. Qf3+ 1-0 [/pgn]
Meanwhile, Saint Louis University-A (4-1) took on Webster U-A (4 1/2-1/2). Webster’s newest recruit, 30-year-old GM Aleksandr Lenderman, a World Team gold medalist, U.S. Open and World Open champ, could not hold against GM Alexander Ipatov in a complicated maneuvering game. Ipatov played 11. … g5! and seemed to generate all the winning chances from then on.

GM Lenderman, Webster’s new recruit, couldn’t hold the critical game against Saint Louis University’s GM Alexander Ipatov as GM Dariusz Swiercz looks on from Board 1. SLU-A finished in second place while Webster-A failed to qualify for the Final Four. But its C-team got a Webster foot in the championship door.

[pgn] [Event "2019 Pan-Ams"] [Date "2019.12.30"] [Round "6"] [White "Lenderman, Aleksandr"] [Black "Ipatov, Alexander"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E08"] [WhiteElo "2722"] [BlackElo "2714"] [PlyCount "128"] [EventDate "2019.??.??"] [Source "ChessStream.com"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Be7 6. Bg2 O-O 7. O-O Nbd7 8. Qc2 c6 9. Bf4 Ne4 10. h4 h6 11. Nc3 g5 12. hxg5 hxg5 13. Be3 Nd6 14. cxd5 exd5 15. Rad1 Nb6 16. b3 Bf5 17. Qc1 f6 18. Nh2 Qd7 19. f3 Rae8 20. Bf2 Bd8 21. Rfe1 Qh7 22. g4 Bg6 23. Bg3 Nbc8 24. e3 f5 25. Ne2 Ba5 26. Nc3 Bd8 27. Ne2 fxg4 28. Nxg4 Nf5 29. Be5 Nh4 30. Rf1 Ne7 31. Bh1 Nef5 32. Rf2 Nh6 33. Nxh6+ Qxh6 34. Rdf1 Rf7 35. Ng3 Bd3 36. Rd1 Bg6 37. Rdf1 Rh7 38. Qd2 Nf5 39. Rh2 Qxh2+ 40. Qxh2 Rxh2 41. Kxh2 Nxe3 42. Rf2 Bb6 43. Re2 Nc2 44. Rd2 Kf7 45. Bg2 Ba5 46. Rf2 Be1 47. Rf1 Bd2 48. Ne2 Nxd4 49. Bxd4 Rxe2 50. Rf2 Bf4+ 51. Kh1 Rxf2 52. Bxf2 b6 53. b4 Ke6 54. Bf1 Kd6 55. Kg2 c5 56. bxc5+ bxc5 57. Bb5 d4 58. Bc4 Bf5 59. a3 Be6 60. Ba6 Bd5 61. Bc8 d3 62. Bf5 d2 63. Bc2 g4 64. Kf1 Bxf3 0-1 [/pgn]
Texas Tech’s perfect score becomes even more creditable when you consider that the school is only one of two chess powerhouse colleges that offer just enough full scholarships to fill four or five chairs with titled players. Newcomer Mizzou, whose coach GM Cristian Chirila, popular on webcasts from St. Louis, only began assembling his gladiators in 2019. The other five powerhouse schools spread around enough lucre to enter multiple teams staffed with GMs, quite a competitive advantage at the PanAms, which are conducted as an Open, six-round Swiss tournament. This edge is then compounded once any of a university’s teams makes the cut-off for the Final Four playoffs, because the college can then choose whatever team composition it wants to send. For example, this year Webster qualified with only its C-team but has the right to bring its A-team to the New York City Final Four in April. That’s a possibility eliminated at next year’s PanAms. Reining in the arms race Rules changes are on the way that will rein in the arms race of multiple GM/IM teams among well-funded programs. First of all, a rule revision requested by the College Chess Committee this year was delayed until the 2020 PanAms, probably in order to allow adequate notice. The rule will, with some allowances for replacements and alternates, require the US university to send to the Final Four the same team that qualified. This year, that would have been Webster-C, a team with an average rating about 200 points below Webster-A. Even beyond this major change approved for next year, the consensus at this year’s official meeting of the College Chess Committee in Charlotte is to restrict colleges to only one team with an unlimited rating ceiling. Additional teams would be allowed only if their average ratings conform to a maximum not yet determined—but below a rating that normally qualifies for the Final Four. The rule would have to be approved by the College Chess Committee and US Chess, which would most likely then give multiple-year notice, since colleges have granted scholarships according to the current rules. The PanAms offer many division national titles and several special prizes. Here are all the prize winners in order of finish. Complete, round-by-round results and top games are available online at chessstream.com.  

Texas Tech U.-A (2645) 6-0 First Place
Webster U.-C (2524) 5-1 Second Place
Saint Louis U.-A (2591) 5-1 Third Place
U. of Texas at Dallas-B (2520_ 5-1 Fourth Place
Webster U.-A (2716) 4.5-1.5 Fifth Place
Webster U.-B (2670) 4.5-1.5 Sixth Place
U. of Texas at Dallas-A (2542) 4.5-1.5 Seventh Place
U. of Texas Rio Grande Valley-B (2502) 4.5-1.5 Eighth Place
U. Maryland Baltimore County-A (2491) 4.5-1.5 Ninth Place
Saint Louis U.-B (2591) 4-2 Tenth Place
U. of Toronto-A (2376) 4-2 Top International Team
Arizona State U.-A (1970) 3.5-2.5 Division II (2000-2199)
Arizona State U.-B (1888) 3.5-2.5 Division III (1800-1999)
U. of Texas Tech-Women (1814) 3-3 Top Women’s Team
U. of Minnesota Twin Cities (1741) 3-3 Division IV (1600-1799)
U. of Pittsburgh (1581) 3-3 Division V (1400-1599)
U. of Pennsylvania-B (2101) 3-3 Top Mixed Doubles
California Institute of Technology (2032) 3-3 Top Small College

  Princeton University-A, the 11th seed, was the only non-scholarship team to break into the top 20, and finished in a tie for 10th-19th with 4-2. Here are all this year’s teams that averaged above 2200 (based on their top four players) in the December US Chess rating list, and the top player for each.  

Dec USCF College / University Team Player 1
2727.25 Webster University Webster - A GM Benjamin Gledura
2691.00 Saint Louis University SLU - A GM Dariusz Swiercz
2660.75 Webster University Webster - B GM John Burke
2644.75 Texas Tech University TTU - A GM Andrey Baryshpolets
2627.00 University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley UTRGV - A GM Kamil Dragun
2623.75 University of Missouri Mizzou GM Grigoriy Oparin
2591.00 Saint Louis University SLU - B GM Francesco Rambaldi
2551.25 University of Texas at Dallas UTD - A IM Titas Stremavicius
2523.00 University of Texas at Dallas UTD - B IM Kacper Drozdowski
2511.75 Webster University Webster - C GM Emilio Cordova
2502.00 University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley UTRGV - B GM Ulvi Bajarani
2491.25 University of Maryland, Baltimore County UMBC - A GM Tanguy Ringoir
2478.00 University of Texas at Dallas UTD - C IM Craig Hilby
2464.00 Princeton University Princeton - A GM Andrew Tang
2355.75 Webster University Webster - D Aaron Grabinsky
2332.25 The University of Texas at Austin UTA - A FM Tommy He
2284.25 University of Pennsylvania UPenn - A Daniel Cremisi
2279.00 University of Texas at Dallas UTD - D Sungho Yim
2270.00 Harvard University Harvard FM Aaron Jacobson
2212.75 Princeton University Princeton - B Christopher Yang
2209.50 University of Toronto U Toronto - A FM Mark Plotkin
2201.00 Massachusetts Institute of Technology MIT Howard Zhong

  The Pan-American Intercollegiate Chess Championships have been held every year since 1946. This year’s event was held, as always, under the auspices of US Chess, and for the first time in memory, its Executive Director, now Carol Meyer, was there to welcome players from all over the nation at the reception hosted by The Charlotte Chess Center. Sponsors included The Charlotte Chess Center, Susquehanna International Group, US Chess, the U.S. Chess Trust, and Chess.com. Credit for an exceptionally well-run event (now the tradition at the PanAms) goes to Organizer Peter Giannatos; directors Grant Oen, Glenn Panner, Rudy Abate and Maya McGreen; photographer Anastasia Wyzywany; bookstore vendor Thad Rogers; and College Chess Committee Chair Kelly Bloomfield. The University of Toronto, Hart House will host the 2020 PanAms, marking the fifth time the event has been held in Canada. The championships will be fought on the same dates as in 2019, December 27-30 and will offer a host of division and special prizes. A brand-new tournament will run side-by-side in Toronto—a separate women’s PanAms championship among two-woman teams. College chess players should plan early, making sure to secure their passports in plenty of time.


In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Please correct the college name for Division 2 and 3 winners. It is Arizon State University(ASU) not University of Arizona.

In reply to by Prem (not verified)

Right you are! Apologies for my error. We'll get this corrected. It was a real sweep winning both divisions! And I'll get this right in the CL magazine story.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

“Princeton University-A, the 11th seed, was the only non-scholarship team to break into the top 20, and finished in a tie for 10th-19th with 4-2.” Really puzzled with what information you wanted to convey. There are a couple of non-scholarship teams that finished in a tie-break for 10th-19th with 4-2, why does Princeton-A deserve special attention?

In reply to by Norman Freeman (not verified)

Thanks for your comment. I could have been clearer. My first clause was addressing the initial seeding of the teams.

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] Source link […]

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Will the 2020 event be rated by USCF, CFC, FIDE, or all of the above?

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Who was in the running to host the 2020 event?

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