University of Missouri Wins 2024 Pan-American Intercollegiate Championship for First Time in School History

Editor's note: An earlier version of this article mistakenly omitted Georgia Tech University-A as winner of the "Division II" prize. The team's average rating of 2199.75 was rounded up on standings to an even 2200, but they were in fact eligible for the prize and finished a half-point ahead of the other teams mentioned, earning a score of 3½/6. 

For the first time in a long time, the 2024 Pan-American Intercollegiate Championships saw a first-time champion take top honors. After six rounds from January 4 through 7 in McAllen, Texas, University of Missouri-A won with a dazzling 5½/6 score ahead of University of Texas at Dallas (UTD)-A, which finished clear second on 5/6.



With the top four teams qualifying for the President’s Cup, tiebreaks ended up decisive for the five teams tied for third with 4½/6. Reigning champions —and perennial favorites, with a 2677 average rating — Webster University-A finished third and University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV)-A finished fourth. Just missing out on the “final four” were Texas Tech University (TTU)-A, UTD-B, and Saint Louis University-A.

Led by GM Grigoriy Oparin (who was coming off a fine showing in Las Vegas), University of Missouri-A boasted wins over TTU-A and UTD-B in rounds four and five, respectively, before clinching the tournament with a draw against UTRGV-A. Oparin’s blistering counter-attack against GM Aleksey Sorokin from TTU-A in round four was easily one of the tensest games of the weekend:



Against UTD-B, it all came down to the fourth board, with IM Josiah Stearman defeating GM Rahul Srivatshav P with the black pieces to clinch the round.



Indeed, Stearman’s performance was clutch all weekend, with the team’s lone IM going five-for-five before a draw in the final round. This made Stearman the only player (on any board) in the open section to go 5½/6.

Even though the “top seven” consisted entirely of teams from Missouri and Texas, a number of schools from the other 48 states were represented, including a number of big names. For instance, Stanford University-A and Brown University-A finished tied with Webster University-B for eighth place with 4/6 scores. Stanford was led by IMs Bryce Tiglon (who just wrapped up his final GM norm in Sitges, Spain) and IM Carissa Yip, while Brown was led by GM Andrew Hong and IM Robert Shlyakhtenko. The list of familiar faces didn’t end there: University of Chicago-A, finishing 11th with 3½/6, was led by GMs Awonder Liang and Praveen Balakrishnan.

The top “Division II” school (average rating 2000-2199) was Georgia Tech University-A, joining University of Chicago-A in a tie for 11th overall with 3½/6. Boasting a 2199.75 average, the team was surely a ratings favorite for the "Under-2200" prize. In this category, several "Under" squads finished a half-point behind on 3/6, including UTRGV-C, UChicago-B, Duke University-A, and Washington University (St. Louis)-A. Washington University (St. Louis)-B also finished 3/6, claiming the top “Division III” (average rating 1800-1999) prize in the process.

Overall, 40 teams competed in the open section, and 41 teams joined them in the Under-1800 section. This was only the second year that this event featured two sections, and the balanced University of Southern California (USC)-A team emerged victorious with a 5½/6 score.

While several teams in this section featured players rated over 2000, USC-A finished clear first despite having “A” players on the top two boards and “B” players on boards three and four. Evan Loo (1857) finished 5/6 on board two, and Vishesh Agrawal (1694) likewise finished 5/6 on board three, with Tathagat Pal (1624) finishing 4½/6 on board four. Brandon C Ho (1941) only scored 1½/6 on the top board, proving once again that team composition matters more than the rating of the top-board at team events. Johns Hopkins University-A finished clear second with 5/6, and UTD-E claimed third on tiebreaks over California State University.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC)-C claimed the “Division V” prize on tiebreaks (average rating 1400-1599) with a 4/6 score and fifth-place overall finish in the Under-1800 section on tiebreaks. Despite an average rating of 1525, UIUC-C finished ahead of a number of programs sneaking in just under the 1800 rating cap, including 1797-rated UTD-D. To claim Division V honors on tiebreaks, UIUC-C beat out Arizona State University-B, Baylor University-A, and, most interestingly, a Shippensburg University-B team with an average rating of only 964!

Full standings are available here and information on all prizes should be available shortly. More games from the top boards of the open section can be viewed on