Slight OT: University of Michigan Chess wins Division II and Mixed Doubles at Pan-American Intercollegiate

Submitted by treetown on December 31st, 2018 at 10:58 AM

Congratulations to the University of Michigan Chess Team - they won the Division II and Mixed doubles prize at the recently completed Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Championships held in San Francisco, Dec. 27-30, 2018. The top four teams (Webster A, UT Dallas A, Harvard, UT Rio Grand Valley A) will now play off in the chess final four, that will be held in New York City on April 6-7, 2019.

This is an impressive accomplishment since their average rating is in the 2000-2199 range.

Led by IM (international master) Ann Arbor's own Atulya Shetty at board 1, with 3.5 out of 5, and whose only loss was to GM (grandmaster) Parimarjan Negi from MIT (who is rated 2712 USCF, 2656 FIDE)

Other UM team contributors are: Apurva Virkud with 3.5, Kyle Webster with 3.5, Anastasiia Chaikina with 4.0, Nicho Konovalenko with 2.0

Congratulations and Go Blue!

Team standings table: Look down to entry 19.

As a side note - there is an interesting story about the Rutgers university team - three of its members drove from New Jersey to California. They wrecked their car in a snow storm in Wyoming but ultimately got there safely. So the competitive zeal in college sports extend beyond just the usual courts/fields.



December 31st, 2018 at 11:09 AM ^

We'll never win a national championship unless we start recruiting 5-star queens, knights, bishops, and rooks. Instead we keep signing 2- and 3-star kings and pawns. Some say we need to have our own chess bagmen.


December 31st, 2018 at 11:47 AM ^

Well, this explains the football team's problems.

Chess is a game where things focus on who best controls the center of the board.  That's a simplistic answer, but it's generally true.  Therefore, the chess team will tend to focus on controlling the center of the board.

If that's true of the chess team, then it must apply to the football team as well.

Therefore, the football team also tends to focus on controlling the "center of the board" -- that is, the interior of the offensive line.  Ergo, it's 1970's football and three-yards and a cloud of dust. :-)


December 31st, 2018 at 11:53 AM ^

You want a victory, well that makes you a wisher

Cause one thing is for sure you aint no Bobby Fischer

Bobby Fischer, where is he? I don't know? I don't know?

Go ask yo momma and make sure you listen

Cause one thing that is for sure, Bobby Fischer's missin'




December 31st, 2018 at 12:09 PM ^

Serious question, why do chess competitions have gender categories? The implication seems incredibly insulting to women, but maybe I'm missing something...


December 31st, 2018 at 1:19 PM ^

Judith Polgar, probably the greatest woman player of all time (so far) reached her peak rating of 2735 FIDE in July 2005 (around age 30 then) and was the overall 8th ranked player in the world but she's been inactive since 2015 and basically retired.

She is the most successful of the three Polgar sisters and were trained by their parents from an early age to be interested in chess. 

Interestingly, in the chess world, women have usually played very aggressive chess - going for complex attacks and tactics. In top flight chess, "to play like a girl" means "relentless aggression" (attributed to Garry Kasparov) - probably the only sport where it has that connotation.


December 31st, 2018 at 2:11 PM ^

So I see one of the Polgars is a coach at Webster and they spent $1,000,000 to be the Alabama of chess. Wow that is impressive!


December 31st, 2018 at 6:33 PM ^

Yes, while $1 million isn't much in the world of college football or men's basketball, it had the same effect. It drew some of the best players around the world, and had accusations of eligibility, and was it good for the development of US players - sort of the type of discussion we hear when swimming, rowing and track and field teams draw international talent. We've had Olympic caliber track and field athletes (they actually competed the Olympics and not just a compliment) Nick Willis for example ran for New Zealand and won a silver in 2008 in Beijing and a Bronze in 2016 in Rio. He ran for the Wolverines.

It shows that regardless of the sport - money isn't everything BUT it does matter.


Unicycle Firefly

December 31st, 2018 at 12:41 PM ^

I would love it if Michigan just owned this, started doing non-stop social media promotions of the Chess team, built a 10,000 seat indoor Chess arena, and declared themselves a Chess school. 

Of course, within a few years, OSU wouldn't let this stand, and would just double the spending on everything and pass them up in the competitive Chess world.