Pan-Am Intercollegiate sizzles… Morrison's UMBC takes crown!

Every year teams from universities and colleges across the Western Hemisphere take part in the Pan-American Intercollegiate Chess tournament. The event is held in a different city each year and features institutions of all sizes and affiliations. One would believe that the well-endowed coffers of Harvard, Stanford and University of Chicago would be among the dominant teams in the event, but that is certainly not the case. In the past 6-7 years, University of Maryland - Baltimore (UMBC) and University of Texas - Dallas (UTD) have won the titles. This success is due in part to an aggressive recruiting process with generous offering of scholarships.

This year, the UMBC-A were lead by a star-studded team with GM Alexander Onischuk, GM Alexander Wojtkiewicz, GM Pavel Blehm and IM Pascal Carbonneau. Surprisingly, this was not enough to win the collegiate crown, as the UMBC-B won with 5˝ points ahead of UMBC-A and the defending champion, UTD-A. Both scored an undefeated 5-2.  UTD was looking to defend the title that they won in last year's exciting and highly-publicized "Final Four" event. They fielded an impressive array of talent with GM Yuri Shulman, IM Dmitri Schneider, GM Marcin Kaminski, and FM Andrei Zaremba (who was the hero in last year's championship match).

UMBC-B was powered by strong performances by their top three boards: GM Alex Sherxer (5˝-˝), IM Eugene Perelshteyn (5-1), NM John Rouleau (5-0). FM William "The Exterminator" Morrison (3˝-1˝) exacted sweet revenge as a member of the winning team after losing to Zaremba in last year's deciding game. Another team in the hunt for the crown was Miami-Dade Community College (4˝-1˝) led by FM Bruci Lopez, who upset GM Onischuk of UMBC-A. UTD-B (4-2) placed 5th and saw the debut of Zambia's IM Amon Simutowe, fresh from his participation in the World Junior Championship. IM Simutowe did not arrive until the 5th round and played only two rounds, winning both. Other teams with 4 points included Universidad de Catholic--Peru and University of Chicago (A).

Other notable players participating in the Pan-Am tournament were: GM Boris Kreiman (Brooklyn-A), IM Igor Zugic (University of Toronto-A), IM Irina Krush (New York University), FM Yevgeny Gershov (Brooklyn-A), WIM Jennifer Shahade (New York University).

Final Standings
Individual Results

Posted by The Chess Drum: 3 January 2003