Chess fans keep check on matches via Internet UMBC competition offers across-the-board viewing

November 11, 1995|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

Thanks to modern technology, the world will be able to tune in today and catch all the moves. Chess moves, that is.

The University of Maryland Baltimore County chess team is traveling north to take on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Games will be played from noon to 4 p.m. at the MIT Student Center in Cambridge, with the moves "broadcast" live -- on the Internet.

Six members from the UMBC team will go head to head (or pawn to pawn) for the first time with students from MIT -- a school known for academic achievement.

"I turned down MIT to come here, so I'm not intimidated," said UMBC freshman Derrick Longo. "Even if you have a name [like MIT] behind you, you still have to prove it."

Chess is serious business at UMBC, where high school players are pursued aggressively and scholarships are offered. Chess enthusiasts can watch the match on home computers by accessing the Internet, or at the UMBC "MindFest" celebrating the opening of the school's renovated library, where a computer will display all the moves.

Alan T. Sherman, faculty adviser to the chess team, said the event will be a bit of a grudge match because Kimani Stancil, one of MIT's star players, is a former UMBC student and chess team member.

"He was president of the team, and for this match he will be playing against Ishan Weerakoon, who two years ago he fought it out with for the title of UMBC champ," Mr. Sherman said. "Ishan beat him, so now there is a little rivalry."

Mr. Sherman said the Internet adds even more excitement to the match.

"Anyone in the world can log on and observe the game in progress," he said.

UMBC's top player is Illya Smirin, a chess grandmaster who is ranked 28th in the world.

Another team member, William Morrison, said he is confident his team will return home victorious.

"We have them out rated on most of the boards," said Mr. Morrison, who is the 1995 Maryland champion.

Use pathway telnet 5000 to access the game on the Internet.

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