University of Texas-RGV Threepeats as U.S. Collegiate Champion


The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley has won the 2021 President’s Cup, successfully notching a three-peat as the U.S. collegiate chess champion. 

UT-RGV topped the annual competition known as the “Final Four of Chess,” edging runner-up Saint Louis University by a half-point, and also topping Webster University and Texas Tech University. The Brownsville, Texas school won its first collegiate championship in 2018 and then defended for a second title in 2019. After the President’s Cup was cancelled in 2020 because of the global pandemic, UT-RGV made it three in a row at the 2021 championship event, held virtually on the Internet Chess Club over the weekend of April 3-4. 

UT-RGV adds the latest national title to its mantle just one weekend after earning two bronze medals in both of FIDE’s World University Online Blitz and Rapid Team Championships. The program’s top four boards are:  

GM Mateusz Bartel                  

GM Hovhannes Gabuzyan             

GM Kamil Dragun             

GM Vladimir Belous 

The southern Texas university qualified as one of the final four schools of collegiate chess at the Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Championship in early January. Also held online for the first time in its 20-year history, the Pan-Ams collected nearly 60 North, South and Central American collegiate teams; UT-RGV tied for third with Texas Tech to qualify them both in the top four. 

[pgn][Event "2021 President's Cup(25 5)"] [Site "Internet Chess Club"] [Date "2021.04.04"] [Round "6"] [White "BRUZON BATISTA, LAZARO:WEB"] [Black "BARTEL, MATEUSZ:RIO"] [Result "0-1"] [ICCResult "White forfeits on time"] [WhiteElo "2725"] [BlackElo "2710"] [Opening "R�ti: advance variation"] [ECO "A09"] [NIC "RE.17"] [Time "18:00:16"] [TimeControl "1500+5"] 1. Nf3 d5 2. c4 d4 3. b4 Bg4 4. Qb3 Nf6 5. g3 Bxf3 6. Qxf3 c6 7. Bg2 e5 8. b5 e4 9. Qb3 Nbd7 10. O-O Nc5 11. Qd1 cxb5 12. cxb5 Be7 13. d3 exd3 14. exd3 a6 15. Ba3 axb5 16. Bxc5 Bxc5 17. Bxb7 Rb8 18. Bc6+ Kf8 19. Qb3 h5 20. Nd2 h4 21. Nf3 Qc7 22. Rac1 Rh5 23. Bxb5 hxg3 24. hxg3 Qb7 25. Bc6 Qc8 26. Qa4 Qh3 27. Nh4 Ng4 {White forfeits on time} 0-1 [/pgn]

The 2021 Pan-Ams were won with an 8/9 score by Webster University, positioning once again as the perennial favorite headed into the President’s Cup. The suburban St. Louis school had previously led a dominant reign over collegiate chess, tallying a record five straight national titles from 2013-2017 and then entering as the top seed in each of the last three President Cup finals.  

[pgn][Event "2021 President's Cup(25 5)"] [Site "Internet Chess Club"] [Date "2021.04.04"] [Round "6"] [White "GABUZYAN, HOVHANNES: RIO"] [Black "QUESADA PEREZ, YUNIESKY: WEB"] [Result "1-0"] [ICCResult "Black forfeits on time"] [WhiteElo "2664"] [BlackElo "2669"] [Opening "Bird's opening"] [ECO "A03"] [NIC "VO.07"] [Time "18:00:17"] [TimeControl "1500+5"] 1. f4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. g3 g6 4. Bg2 Bg7 5. O-O b6 6. d3 Bb7 7. Nbd2 c5 8. e4 dxe4 9. dxe4 Nxe4 10. Ng5 Nd6 11. Nde4 Nxe4 12. Qxd8+ Kxd8 13. Nxe4 Nd7 14. c3 f5 15. Ng5 Bxg2 16. Kxg2 Kc8 17. Ne6 Bf6 18. Rd1 Nf8 19. Ng5 h6 20. Nf3 Kc7 21. a4 Nd7 22. a5 Rhd8 23. Be3 b5 24. a6 Kc6 25. b4 cxb4 26. cxb4 Bxa1 27. Rxa1 Kd5 28. Nd4 Nb6 29. Nxb5 Kc4 30. Nc7 Rab8 31. b5 Rd3 32. Rc1+ Kb3 33. Kf2 g5 34. Rc6 Nc4 35. b6 Nxe3 36. Ke2 Rbd8 37. Ne6 Rd2+ 38. Ke1 Ng2+ 39. Kf1 Ne3+ 40. Ke1 Ng2+ 41. Kf1 R8d5 42. b7 {Black forfeits on time} 1-0 [/pgn]

But UT-RGV now presents as a kryptonite to Webster, and its national threepeat as collegiate champion puts the U.S. on new notice. After serving Webster its only loss in the Pan-Ams last January, UT-RGV knocked them down again in both meetings in April's President’s Cup, including a pivotal sixth and final round. 

[pgn][Event "2021 President's Cup(25 5)"] [Site "Internet Chess Club"] [Date "2021.04.04"] [Round "6"] [White "HAKOBYAN, ARAM: WEB"] [Black "DRAGUN, KAMIL: RIO"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ICCResult "Game drawn by mutual agreement"] [WhiteElo "2683"] [BlackElo "2611"] [Opening "Queen's pawn game"] [ECO "E10"] [NIC "QI.01"] [Time "18:00:17"] [TimeControl "1500+5"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 d5 4. g3 Bb4+ 5. Bd2 Be7 6. Bg2 c6 7. Qc2 Nbd7 8. O-O O-O 9. Bf4 b6 10. cxd5 cxd5 11. Rc1 Bb7 12. Bc7 Qe8 13. Qb3 Rc8 14. Na3 Ba6 15. Nb5 Ne4 16. a4 Bxb5 17. axb5 Ndc5 18. dxc5 Rxc7 19. c6 Bc5 20. e3 Qe7 21. Ne5 Bd6 22. Nd3 Nc5 23. Nxc5 Bxc5 24. Ra4 f5 25. Rca1 Rf7 26. Qc3 Bd6 27. Rd1 Qf6 28. Qb3 Bc5 29. Qa2 g6 30. Rc1 Bd6 31. Rd4 Kg7 32. Rcd1 Bc5 33. R4d3 Bf8 34. h4 h5 35. Qb3 Bc5 36. Bxd5 exd5 37. Rxd5 Rce7 38. Kg2 Kh6 39. Rd8 Qe5 40. R1d7 Rxd7 41. cxd7 Qf6 {Game drawn by mutual agreement} 1/2-1/2 [/pgn]

UT-RGV sat second place in the standings entering that last round, needing a crushing victory over Webster, which it delivered. Drawing only the top board, UT-RGV scored in full on the other three, earning a 3.5/4 that pushed them a half-point ahead of SLU. The four games from round six have been listed within.

[pgn][Event "2021 President's Cup(25 5)"] [Site "Internet Chess Club"] [Date "2021.04.04"] [Round "6"] [White "BELOUS, VLADIMIR: RIO"] [Black "CORDOVA DAZA, EMILIO: WEB"] [Result "1-0"] [ICCResult "Black resigns"] [WhiteElo "2620"] [BlackElo "2655"] [Opening "R�ti opening"] [ECO "A30"] [NIC "QP.10"] [Time "18:00:22"] [TimeControl "1500+5"] 1. Nf3 c5 2. c4 b6 3. Nc3 Bb7 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nf6 6. f3 e6 7. e4 d6 8. Be3 Be7 9. Be2 O-O 10. O-O Nbd7 11. Qd2 a6 12. a4 Rc8 13. a5 Re8 14. Nb3 bxa5 15. Nxa5 Ba8 16. b4 Qc7 17. Rfc1 d5 18. c5 dxe4 19. Bxa6 exf3 20. Bxc8 Ng4 21. Bf4 Qxc8 22. c6 Nde5 23. h3 Rd8 24. Qc2 Bxb4 25. hxg4 Bc5+ 26. Kh1 fxg2+ 27. Qxg2 Nd3 28. Nb7 Nxf4 29. Qf3 Rd3 30. Rxa8 Qxa8 31. Qxf4 Bb6 32. Ne4 h6 33. c7 Bxc7 34. Rxc7 Rd1+ 35. Kg2 Qa2+ 36. Nf2 e5 37. Rc8+ Kh7 38. Qf5+ g6 39. Qf6 {Black resigns} 1-0 [/pgn]

For this year’s online format, the four schools played as teams of four players, pairing with each other school twice with alternating colors. A rapid time control of 25 minutes and a 5-second increment was used.  

At the time of publication, all games and players from the 2021 President's Cup are still under Fair-Play Review by the hosting Internet Chess Club. Until the event has cleared Fair-Play Review, all reported results should be considered "tentative," and any changes to the results will be incorporated before the “tentative” status is changed to “final."

A full tournament report with PGNs may be found on the Internet Chess Club



1 RIO UT RGV (2651.3) - L4 D2 W3 W4 D2 W3 14.5 14.5 100
    GM Bartel, Mateusz (2710) 3.5       
    GM Gabuzyan, Hovhannes (2664) 3.5       
    GM Dragun, Kamil (2611) 4.0       
    GM Belous, Vladimir (2620) 3.5       
2 SLU St. Louis (2667.2) - W3 D1 W4 D3 D1 D4 14.0 14 100
    GM Swiercz, Dariusz (2733) 3.5       
    GM Bok, Benjamin (2668) 3.0       
    GM Ipatov, Alexander (2714) 2.0       
    IM Theodorou, Nikolas (2641) 1.5      
    GM Chandra, Akshat (2630) 0.0      
    GM Ali Marandi, Cemil Can (2617) 4.0      
3 WEBSTER WEBSTER (2692.8) - L2 W4 L1 D2 W4 L1 11.0 11 100
    GM Bruzon Batista, Lazaro (2725) 2.5      
    GM Gledura, Benjamin (2721) 2.0       
    GM Quesada Perez, Yuniesky (2669) 1.0       
    GM Hakobyan, Aram (2683) 5.0       
    GM Lenderman, Aleksandr (2704) 0.0       
    GM Cordova Daza, Emilio (2655) 0.5       
4 TTU Texas Tech (2586.2) - W1 L3 L2 L1 L3 D2 8.5 8.5 100
    GM Baryshpolets, And (2647) 2.0      
    GM Vorontsov, Pavlo (2631) 1.5      
    FM Sorokin, Aleksey (2628) 2.5       
    IM Khanin, Semen (2557) 1.0       
    IM Matviishen, Viktor (2564) 1.5       
    IM Schmakel, Samuel Arthur (2490) 0.0       



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