For the first time in 16, UMBC and UTD did not qualify for the prestigious College Chess Final Four which will take place on the first weekend of April 2016. Webster University became the 2nd university in history to win 4 straight PanAm InterCollegiate Chess Championship. No university has ever won 5 straight. SPICE already hold the record with 5 straight Final Four Championship titles.
By Michael S. Rosenwald
December 30, 2015
For the first time in 16 years, the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s chess team isn’t going to the Final Four, a crushing blow for a once-legendary program being outspent by other schools in an arms race for the game’s brightest young minds.
UMBC finished 10th on Wednesday at the Pan-Am Intercollegiate Team Chess Championships, the tournament that produces the top four U.S. college teams. The school fielded two grandmasters against some teams with two or three times as many.
“It’s very frustrating, but we knew this would be an uphill battle,” said Alan T. Sherman, a UMBC professor and director of the school’s chess program.
Four teams tied for first on points and will move on: Webster University in St. Louis, Texas Tech, Columbia University and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Sherman built UMBC’s program from scratch in the early 1990s, offering scholarships to talented players from around the world who gave themselves nicknames such as “The Mongolian Terror” and “The Polish Magician.” UMBC has won or tied for first 10 times at the Pan-American tournaments, raising the school’s national profile.
Then other colleges set out to do the same thing, climaxing in 2012 with Webster University’s hiring of Susan Polgar, a prominent coach profiled in Wired magazine.
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– GM Susan Polgar