Monday, April 19, 2010

Valiant effort by the Knight Raiders

Valiant effort by the Knight Raiders at the Final Four of chess
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Story last updated at 4/18/2010 - 12:27 am

The Texas Tech Knight Raiders edged out chess powerhouse University of Texas at Dallas to finish in third place at the Collegiate Chess Final Four held April 10-11 on the University of Texas at Brownsville campus. This is a huge accomplishment as UTD won four of the last 10 national titles.

The University of Maryland Baltimore County won the 2010 national championship and President's Cup for the second year in a row, and sixth overall in the past 10 years.

University of Texas at Brownsville finished second, followed by Texas Tech.

UMBC and UTD came into the Final Four as the co-favorites. Both teams had an identical roster of three grandmasters and one international master, as well as an identical average chess rating of 2581. UTD has two grandmasters but chose to bring four international masters with an average rating of 2539.

The Texas Tech Knight Raiders is by far the lowest-ranked team with an average rating of only 2450 since it is only our first full recruiting year. The average rating of the Knight Raiders is 131 points lower than UMBC and UTB, and 81 points lower than UTD.

This is like bringing minor league baseball team to compete against the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, and Philadelphia Phillies. It is David versus Goliath times three.

But our players fought valiantly in the strongest Final Four in collegiate chess history.

We were right in it in every match with chances to beat the three top-rated teams in the country. Every game went down to the wire. At the end, we came up short for the national title and had to settle for third, but I am very proud of the Herculean effort of our team.

Every team member contributed to the overall outstanding results. No other team has made it to the Final Four in its first try, and our students gave their all against the toughest competition.

This is a great experience for our team to grow from and I am confident we will make many more appearances in the Final Four in the upcoming years.

Here are the individual results of Knight Raiders at the Final Four:

• Board 1: Davorin Kuljasevic, Croatia, graduate student in finance (1 point)

Board 2: Gergely Antal, Hungary, senior economics major (1.5 point)

Board 3: Gabor Papp, Hungary, senior finance major (1.5 point)

Board 4: Chase Watters, Texas, graduate Ph.D. student in microbiology (0.5 point)

Here is a short YouTube video of International Master Gabor Papp defeating International Master Daniel Ludwig of UTD to clinch 3rd place for Tech:

Here is the link to more than 175 pictures from the Final Four:

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