There was a major upset in the chess world earlier this month, as Webster University’s streak of five straight President’s Cup victories came to an end at the hands of a team from the newly created school of University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, which managed to out-gamepoint Webster. The Cup is determined by the winner in the Final Four round-robin team tournament, with the teams being the top four schools from the Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship this past December. This year’s Final Four was held at the Marshall Chess Club in New York City.
The four teams with their average ratings were Webster University, (2716.8), St. Louis University (2699.5), University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (2683.0), and Texas Tech University (2635.5). An unusual feature of the Final Four is that the winner is based on game points and not match points, as is the case with nearly every other team event that this writer knows of. If match points were used, Webster would have won. The hero for the winning Vaqueros was the Russian Vladimir Belous, who went 3-0 with a huge win over Webster’s Alex Shimanov in the second round. Webster still had a chance in the last round, when Ray Robson had a winning endgame vs. St. Louis University’s Dariusz Swiercz but lost his way and only drew.
As it stands now, University of Maryland-Baltimore County holds the record for the most President’s Cup wins, with six. Webster will try again next year to match that number. Final standings: UTRGV (7.5 pts.), Webster U. (7), St. Louis U. (5.5), and Texas Tech (5.0).
It should be mentioned that the oldest collegiate match is England’s Oxford vs. Cambridge. This year’s was the 136th such meeting.
Coming events: April 27-29, 27th annual Eastern Class Championships, Host Hotel at Cedar Lake, 366 Main St., Sturbridge, www.ChessTour.com/ecc18.htm; April 29, Boylston April Scholastic, www.BoylstonChess.com
Recent results: Mass Game 60 (157 players); 1st: Nathan Solon, 4/4, 2nd, Lawyer Times, 3.5; 1st, Boston Elite Invitational Quads, Quad1, 1st, Alex Yu, 2.5/3, Quad2, 1st: Joy Cao, 3/3, Quad3, 1st, Rafael Pashkov, 3/3, Swiss, 1st: Raymond Xu, 3/3; Fitchburg CC’s Evert Siiskonen Memorial (38), 1st-5th: Roger Cappallo, Paul Godin, Bruce Felton, David Thomas, Michael Commisso, all 4/5.
Answer to today’s problem: White just played 1.Nxe6 hoping for 1…Nxe6 2.Qxd5 but Black had something better. 1…Nxh3+ 2.gxh3 Rg4+! 3.hxg4 Qh2 mate