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UTRGV Chess Team wins back-to-back state titles

For a second year in a row, the UTRGV Chess Team was crowned the Texas Collegiate Super Finals champions after dominating their opponents – Texas Tech University and The University of Texas at Dallas – on Oct. 19-20. UTRGV repeated their victory from last year with both their A and B teams taking first and second place, respectively. UTRGV also won the title in 2016. (Courtesy Photo)
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Texas Border Business

By Victoria Brito Morales

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS –  The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Chess Team dominated their opponents this past weekend to walk away as the 2019 Texas Collegiate Super Finals champions for a second year in a row. 

The back-to-back national champions of the Final Four of the Chess President’s Cup, competed in the 2019 Texas Collegiate Super Finals, Oct. 19-20, at The University of Texas at Dallas, against their annual rivals UT Dallas and Texas Tech University. UTRGV repeated their victory from last year with both their A and B teams taking first and second place, respectively. UTRGV also won the title in 2016.

Bartek Macieja, grandmaster and UTRGV chess coach, said the team trained every week to prepare for the Super Finals.

“I could see how motivated and hungry for success they were during the championship,” Macieja said. “I think it was one of the keys to our amazing success.”

Representing the UTRGV Teams are:

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A Team:

  • Kamil Dragun, grandmaster, junior accounting major from Gorzow Wielkopolski, Poland.
  • Andrey Stukopin, grandmaster, graduate student in math from Rostov, Russia.
  • Vladimir Belous, grandmaster, junior accounting major from Moscow, Russia.
  • Irakli Beradze, international master, freshman computer engineering major from Tbilisi, Georgia.

B Team:

  • Ulvi Bararani, grandmaster, graduate student in information technology from Baku, Azerbaijan.
  • Carlos Hevia, grandmaster, graduate student in computer science from Havana, Cuba.
  • Felix Ynojosa, international master, junior economics and finance major from Barinas, Venezuela.
  • Yannick Rajesh, international master, senior computer engineering major from Paris, France.

The UTRGV A Team dominated the competition with three match points and 12 points on the board. The UTRGV B Team and Texas Tech A Team also each garnered three match points, but the UTRGV B Team narrowly succeeded them with 10.5 board points compared to their 9 board points.

Bartek Macieja, grandmaster and UTRGV chess coach, said Texas Tech was the favorite to win the competition.

“The fact that our Team B finished second makes this win even more spectacular,” Macieja said. “I am so proud of both teams.”

In December, the team will travel to Charlotte, North Carolina to compete at the Pan American Intercollegiate Chess Championship. This competition is the qualifier for the Final Four of College Chess of the President’s Cup. If successful, UTRGV will advance to New York City in April todefend their national title for a third year in a row.

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