Chess `Final Four' title is finally UMBC's

No. 1-ranked Retrievers top defending champs, 3-0

April 07, 2003|By Johnathon E. Briggs | Johnathon E. Briggs,SUN STAFF

You may now call them the undisputed champions of chess.

The top-ranked University of Maryland, Baltimore County chess team decisively beat its close rival from the University of Texas at Dallas at the intercollegiate chess competition yesterday - known as the "Final Four" of chess.

It was a sweet victory for the UMBC Retrievers, who were edged out for bragging rights as the "best college chess team in the nation" last year when they were narrowly defeated by UTD during a competition tie-breaker in a wing of the World Chess Hall of Fame and Sidney Samole Chess Museum in Miami, where the event has been held for the past three years.

UMBC swept the round-robin competition with a perfect 3-0 match score and 10.5 individual points out of a possible 12. In doing so, the team stripped defending champion UTD of the national title and garnered the President's Cup trophy.

Although in December the Retrievers won their sixth Pan American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship - the top college chess tournament held in the Western Hemisphere - in seven years, the Final Four chess title had eluded them - until yesterday.

"UMBC is now the No. 1 college in the country in chess," said Baltimore grandmaster Alex "The Surgeon" Sherzer, known for figuratively cutting up his opponents. "It's undisputed."

"It's great. It's like we've proven now more than ever before that we're the best team in the U.S.," said international master and fellow team member Pascal "The Frenchman" Charbonneau.

The UMBC group - which also includes grandmasters Alex "The Invincible" Onischuk, Pawel "The Polish Magician" Blehm and international master Eugene Perelshteyn, the captain - also defeated teams from the University of Chicago and Miami-Dade Community College.

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