Monday, September 14, 2009

Tech chess players take top two places

Tech chess players take top two places in tournament

By Joe Gulick Avalanche-Journal
Monday, September 14, 2009
Story last updated at -

Texas Tech international chess masters Gergely Antal and Davorin Kuljasevic placed first and second, respectively, in chess competition at the recent 75th annual Southwest Open in Fort Worth.

The match drew 245 players, and among them were Antal, Kuljasevic and two other members of Tech's Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE). Paul Truong, marketing director for SPICE, said this is the institute's second full year.

Antal, an economics major, had won the national collegiate championship title at the Tournament of College Champions in Indianapolis in August. In the Fort Worth tournament, he scored six points in seven games with five wins and no losses. He had two draws - against Tech teammates Kuljasevic and Gabor Papp - and the draws counted half a point each.

Because of the nature of chess tournaments, players sometimes have to play against their teammates, Truong said.

Kuljasevic, a Tech graduate student, scored 5.5 points in seven games in finishing second.

This is the second consecutive major championship, following the Tournament of College Champions, where Tech players have finished ahead of players on two of the nation's most powerful chess teams - the University of Texas at Dallas and the University of Texas at Brownsville. Truong said the two Texas schools are among the top four universities in the nation in chess competition.

"To beat them in our second year is a phenomenal accomplishment," Truong said. "If we did the same thing in football, there would be a parade."

A five-way tie for third place at the Fort Worth tournament included grandmaster Timur Gareev and international master Daniel Fernandez of the University of Texas at Brownsville and grandmaster Amon Simutowe and international masters Daniel Ludwig and Julio Sadorra of the University of Texas at Dallas. All five scored five points.

Grandmaster is the highest title conferred by the World Chess Federation, and international master is the second-highest, Truong said. Both Antal and Kuljasevic are close to grandmaster status and could reach it at the 2009 SPICE Cup International Invitational Tournament, which will begin at Tech Saturday, he said.

Truong said the SPICE members who played in the Southwest Open went at their own expense because the Student Government Association's funds cannot be used to fund non-college tournaments.

The SPICE members call their chess team the Knight Raiders. Truong said the "knight" in the title referred to the chess piece and joked that it did not have anything to do with former Tech men's basketball coach Bob Knight.

Source: Avalanche Journal
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