UMBC team loses to Texas in national chess tourney

Player from Dallas wins competition tie-breaker

April 08, 2002|By Johnathon E. Briggs | Johnathon E. Briggs,SUN STAFF

In the chess equivalent of double overtime, the top-ranked University of Maryland, Baltimore County chess team was edged out for bragging rights as the "best college chess team in the nation" yesterday by its close rival from the University of Texas at Dallas.

The narrow defeat came in the last match of the intercollegiate chess competition in Miami - known as the "Final Four" of chess.

With UMBC and UTD tied at nine games each, the determination of which school would take home the national title and President's Cup trophy came down to a five-hour, 50-minute tie-breaker game in a wing of the World Chess Hall of Fame and Sidney Samole Chess Museum.

The face-off was between UTD's Andrei Zaremba and UMBC's William "The Exterminator" Morrison, and in the end the Texans took home their second straight national title.

"It was a long and brutal match," said UMBC spokesman Charlie Melichar. Matches are limited to six hours, and "this one went to the very end. It was incredibly tense.

"Our rivalry is very real," Melichar added. "We just can't get around each other."

Eugene Perelshteyn of Boston, the UMBC Retrievers team captain who is majoring in computer science at the school in Catonsville, said he was disappointed at the loss, but said the nail-biting end shows that "there are two teams at the top of college chess" - not one.

The four-member UMBC team - Perelshteyn, Morrison of New York, chess grandmaster Alex Woitkevich of Poland and Battsetseg "The Mongolian Terror" Tsagaan of Tatarstan - beat teams from Harvard and Stanford universities Saturday.

The Retrievers are expected to return to UMBC today.

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