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Webster University Chess Team to Compete in the College Final Four

The Webster University Chess Team will complete in the 2017 Final Four Tournament in New York City on March 25-26, 2017.

The SPICE team won at the Pan-Am InterCollegiate Chess Championship held at the end of December 2016, earning them a place at the upcoming tournament.  Webster has now won top honors in the premier college tournaments in the western hemisphere in all five years of their chess program’s existence.

Grandmasters and Webster Grad Students Manuel Leon Hoyos and Ashwin Jayaram will serve as Assistant Coaches for Head Coach GM Susan Polgar and Coach / Chief Team Strategist Paul Truong.  The four teams competing in March are Webster University, Saint Louis University, Texas Tech, and the University of Texas – Dallas.

Members of the Webster University Gorlocks team (This is the 7th different lineups / rosters in 7 Final Four Championships):

  • Grandmaster Liem Le, Team Captain, from Vietnam
    Liem is a Senior, with Double Majors in Finance (BS) and Management (BA)
    He became a GM at age 15, and is ranked #1 in Vietnam since 2008, a World Blitz Champion, 2-time Aeroflot Champion, multiple-time Chess Olympian, multiple-time World Cup participant, 2-time SPICE Cup Champion, and 3-time College Chess Final Four Champion. His hobbies include sports and reading.
  • Grandmaster Ray Robson, co-captain, from US
    Ray is a senior, studying International Studies with an emphasis on Asia.
    He is the former youngest GM in US history, and is an Olympiad Gold Medalist, multiple-time World Cup participant, 2-time SPICE Cup Champion, and 4-time College Chess Final Four Champion. His hobbies include tennis, music and reading.
  • Grandmaster Alex Shimanov, from Russia
    Alex is an MBA graduate student.
    He became a GM at age 16, and is a Russian champion in multiple age groups, World Cup participant, and College Chess Final Four Champion.  His hobbies include hockey and poker.
  • Grandmaster Vasif Durarbayli, from Azerbaijan
    Vasif is a senior, with a Major in Economics and a Minor in Spanish.
    He became a GM at age 18, and is a World Youth and European Youth Champion, World Cup participant, and 2-time College Chess Final Four Champion. His hobbies include Crossfit, soccer, ping pong, basketball, reading, and languages.
  • Grandmaster Illia Nyzhnyk, from Ukraine
    Illia is a junior and studying Computer Science.
    He became a GM at age 14, and is a Moscow Open Champion, 3-time World Open Champion, US Open Champion, National Open Champion, SPICE Cup Champion, and 2-time College Chess Final Four Champion. His hobbies include ping pong and movies.
  • Grandmaster Priyadharshan Kannappan, from India
    Priyadharshan is a graduate student in Management & Leadership.
    He won 11 medals for India in Asian, World and Commonwealth Championships, and is a Chicago Open Champion, Mid-American Open Champion, and the MVP of 2012 US Chess League. His hobbies include movies, Indian music, Indian politics, and reading autobiographies.

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SPICE, under the guidance of Director & Head Coach GM Susan Polgar, has won an unprecedented 6 consecutive Final Four Championships (2 straight with TTU & 4 straight with Webster). The team will compete for the 7th consecutive title next month (this will tie the men’s division I record of the late legendary UCLA Coach John Wooden  1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973).

In the past 4.5 years at Webster, members of the Webster University Chess Team won 2 World Championships, 4 World Open Championships, Olympiad Gold, and 43 National Championships, along with many other Major Titles. This is more than all other College Chess Programs combine!

Chess Olympiad Gold 

2 members of Webster University – SPICE program,  GMs Ray Robson (current student) and Wesley So (former student), were part of the historic US team which captured Olympiad Gold for the first time (with full competition in a non-boycotted year) since 1937!

World Championships (2)

June 2013
– 2013 World Blitz Championship: 1st place (GM Le Quang Liem)

July 2013
– 2013 World University Championship: 1st place (GM Wesley So)

World Open Championship (4)

July 2014
– 2014 World Open Championship: 1st place tie (GM Illia Nyzhnyk)

July 2015
– 2015 World Open Championship: 1st place tie (GM Illia Nyzhnyk)

July 2016
– 2016 World Open Championship: 1st place tie (GMs Illia Nyzhnyk, Alex Shimanov, Vasif Durarbayli)
– 2016 World Open Blitz Championship: 1st place tie (GM Illia Nyzhnyk)

National Championships / Individual and Team titles (43)

August 2012
– 2012 U.S. Open Championship: 1st place (GM Manuel Leon Hoyos)
– 2012 U.S. Open Rapid (g/15) Championship: 1st place (GM Andre Diamant and IM Vitaly Neimer)
– 2012 U.S. Open Blitz Championship: 1st place (GM Andre Diamant), 2nd place (GM Anatoly Bykhovsky)

December 2012
– 2012 PanAm Intercollegiate Championship: Both A and B team tied for 1st place
– 2012 PanAm Intercollegiate Championship: Top reserve player (GM Manuel Leon Hoyos)

April 2013
– 2013 College Chess Final Four: 1st place (GMs Georg Meier, Wesley So, Ray Robson, Fidel Corrales Jimenez, Manuel Leon Hoyos, and Anatoly Bykhovsky)

June 2013
– 2013 National Open: 1st place (GMs Wesley So and Manuel Leon Hoyos)
– 2013 National Open Blitz Championship: 1st place (GM Wesley So)
– 2013 National G/10 Championship at National Open: 1st place (GM Wesley So)

August 2013
– 2013 US Open G/15 Championship: 1st place (GM Manuel Leon Hoyos)
– 2013 US Open Blitz Championship: 1st place (GM Manuel Leon Hoyos)

October 2013
– 2013 US National G/30 Championship: 1st place (GM Georg Meier)
– 2013 US National G/60 Championship: 1st place (GM Georg Meier)

December 2013
– 2013 PanAm Intercollegiate Championship: 1st place (A team won with a perfect 6-0 score)
– 2013 PanAm Intercollegiate Championship: Top board 1 (GMs Le Quang Liem, Fidel Corrales Jimenez)
– 2013 PanAm Intercollegiate Championship: Top board 2 (GM Anatoly Bykhovsky)
– 2013 PanAm Intercollegiate Championship: Top board 3 (GM Wesley So)
– 2013 PanAm Intercollegiate Championship: Top board 4 (GM Ray Robson)
– 2013 PanAm Intercollegiate Championship: Top overall performance (GM Wesley So)

April 2014
– 2014 College Chess Final Four: 1st place (GMs Le Quang Liem, Wesley So, Georg Meier, Ray Robson, Fidel Corrales Jimenez, and Anatoly Bykhovsky)

June 2014
– 2014 National Open Blitz Championship: 1st place (GM Wesley So)

August 2014
– 2014 US Open: 1st place tie (GM Illia Nyzhnyk)

December 2014
– 2014 PanAm InterCollegiate Championship: 1st place (A team scored 5.5–0.5)
– 2014 PanAm InterCollegiate Championship: Top board 1 (IM Ashwin Jayaram)
– 2014 PanAm InterCollegiate Championship: Top board 2 (GM Illia Nyzhnyk)
– 2014 PanAm InterCollegiate Championship: Top board 3 (GM Ray Robson)
– 2014 PanAm InterCollegiate Championship: Top board 4 (GM Andre Diamant)

February 2015
– 2015 USATN: Top College Team (WGMs Anna Sharevich, Katerina Nemcova, WFM Luisa Mercado, Mara Kamphorst)

March 2015
– 2015 College Chess Final Four: 1st place (GMs Le Quang Liem, Ray Robson, Illia Nyzhnyk, Vasif Durarbayli, Fidel Corrales, Andre Diamant)

June 2015
– 2015 National Open: 1st place tie (GM Illia Nyzhnyk)
– 2015 National g10 Open: 1st place (GM Illia Nyzhnyk)

December 2015
– 2015 PanAm InterCollegiate Championship: 1st place tie (B team scored 5–1)
– 2015 PanAm InterCollegiate Women’s Championship: 1st place (SPICE girls scored 4–2)
– 2015 PanAm InterCollegiate Championship: Top board 1 (GM Manuel Leon Hoyos)
– 2015 PanAm InterCollegiate Championship: Top board 4 (GM Ray Robson)

April 2016
– 2016 College Chess Final Four: 1st place (GMs Le Quang Liem, Illia Nyzhnyk, Aleksandr Shimanov, Ray Robson, Vasif Durarbayli, Fidel Corrales)

August 2016
– 2012 U.S. Open Rapid (g/15) Championship: 1st place (GM Fidel Corrales Jimenez)
– 2012 U.S. Open Blitz Championship: 1st place (GM Illia Nyzhnyk), 2nd place (GM Vasif Durarbayli)

September 2016
– 2016 Chess Olympiad: Team USA got Gold for the first time (1937 in a full Olympiad or 1976 in boycotted Olympiad) in 79 years (GMs Ray Robson [current student] and Wesley So [past student])
– 2016 US National g/30 Championship: 1st place tie (GM Illia Nyzhnyk)
– 2016 US National g/60 Championship: 1st place (GM Illia Nyzhnyk)

December 2016
– 2016 PanAm InterCollegiate Championship: Both A and B team tied for 1st place
– 2016 PanAm InterCollegiate Championship: Top board 4 (GM Manuel Leon Hoyos)

 

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