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UTRGV Chess Teams Advance to Defend National Title

The UTRGV Chess Team, which was named the 2018 Chess College of the Year by the U.S. Chess Federation, will defend its title as national champions at the Presidents’ Cup in April in New York. The team participated Dec. 27-30 in San Francisco in the Pan American Intercollegiate Chess Championship, which determines the top four highest-ranking universities and advances them to the President’s Cup tournament, also known as the Final Four of College Chess. Photo: David Pike/UTRGV

by Victoria Brito
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – The UTRGV Chess Team, fresh off a successful tournament at the Pan American Intercollegiate Chess Championship, now will defend its title as national champions at the Presidents’ Cup in April in New York.
The team participated Dec. 27 through 30 in San Francisco in the PAICC, which determines the top four highest-ranking universities and advances them to the President’s Cup tournament, also known as the Final Four of College Chess.
UTRGV will now face rival Webster University, UT Dallas, and Harvard University in the chess showdown of the year.
Last year, UTRGV was victorious in the country’s top collegiate chess competition and was named the 2018 Chess College of the Year by the U.S. Chess Federation. The team also won the 2018 Texas State Championship.
Alex Mista, UTRGV chess program manager, said Webster has strong teams and always provides serious challenges, and the PICC competitions was no different.
“It was a tough tournament with many strong universities. It was difficult,” Mista said.
The tournament consisted of six rounds. UTRGV had to win five out of six rounds to qualify for advancement. Midway through the tournament, UTRGV faced a setback when it lost to Texas Tech University, and the win came down to a tiebreaker.
“After losing the fourth round against Texas Tech, we had to win everything, but in the final round we faced Webster for a draw,” Mista said. “The tiebreaker decided who qualified and who didn’t, and all the results of other team’s matches were in our favor to qualify for the Final Four.”
The UTRGV A Team placed fifth behind Webster University A Team, UT Dallas A Team, Webster University B Team and Harvard University. Since Webster had two teams, which ranked first and third, the top four highest ranking universities advanced to the Final Four.
“We won last year,” Mista said, “and now we are going to defend our title.”
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