“The University of Maryland, Baltimore County chess team tied four other college teams for first place at the Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship on Sunday — maintaining its record as one of two colleges with the most top finishes in the history of the international event,” wrote Kevin Rector in the Baltimore Sun.
The UMBC chess team tied for first place December 30, 2012 in the Pan-Am Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship, advancing to the 2013 President’s Cup, known as the “Final Four” of chess.
The team headed into the 2012 Pan-Am Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship with a record nine titles to its name. The competition known informally as the Pan-Am, was held December 27 to 30 in Princeton, New Jersey. Since the tournament began in 1946, dozens of universities throughout the Americas have participated. The Retrievers won their first Pan-Am title in 1996, and then embarked on a five-year title streak from 1998 to 2002.
This year, the Retrievers tied for first place with 3 other Universities: University of Texas, Dallas; Webster University, which had 2 teams; and the University of Illinois.
“It was an exciting finish. This was the strongest Pan Am in the history of the event. Twenty – three grandmasters as well as 5 teams rated over 2500 competed,” says Alan Sherman, Director of the UMBC Chess Program.
The UMBC team, all on chess scholarships, is composed of students not only with exceptional chess skills but also with strong academic records, Sherman says. UMBC requires students to maintain a 3.0 GPA to maintain chess scholarships.
The Retrievers last won the Pan-Am title in 2009, and took second last year. This year’s team will compete in the 2012 President’s Cup, the “Final Four of College Chess,” to be held in April 6-7, 2013 in Herndon, Va.