Sunday, January 9, 2011

Hello Everyone!

The reason there are no new posts in this website is because we have moved! You can see the latest info at

We've also made the news! Check out the article in the Sunday edition of the New York Times at


Friday, January 2, 2009




The Pan-American championships kicked off December 27th, 2008 in the South DFW Marriott Hotel. The top teams were undisputably UMBC, who brought 3 (!) Grandmasters to play for their team, and UTD, who brought not one of two, but four strong teams to the tournament!

The key matches were the following:


GM Leonid Kritz 1:0 GM Alejandro Ramirez
GM Sergey Erenburg 1/2: 1/2 IM Davorin Kuljasevic
GM Timur Gareev 1:0 IM Puchen Wang
WGM Sabina Foisor 0:1 IM Marko Zivanic

The fifth round saw the super powers UMBC play UTD A. This was unexpected for both teams, since the more logical pairing was UMBC vs UTD B. For this reason both teams came relatively unprepared to the game, and games did not see as much opening preparation as normal, and was more about chess.

Sadly enough, both of our black boards (both me and Puchen) had little chance against an amazing pressure put by the strong Grandmasters Kritz and Gareev. After creating a few complications, Kritz took a full point from me in a little over 3 hours. The next decisive game was Marko who beat Sabina Foisor with excellent technique. Erenburg showed excellent knowledge of the semi-slav defence and held our IM Davorin to a draw. It all came down to wether Puchen could hold Timur to a draw or not. After missing a crucial chance in deep time trouble, and after almost 5 hours of play, UMBC took the match 2.5-1.5

GM Leonid Kritz 1:0 IM Jacek Stopa
GM Sergey Erenburg 1/2:1/2 IM Drasko Boskovic
GM Timur Gareev 1/2:1/2 IM John Bartholomew
WGM Sabina Foisor 0:1 IM Sal Bercys

The next key match was between UMBC and UTD B. Due to the complexity of the tiebreak system, it was unclear if a draw would give the title to one team or another. Only UTD B and UMBC had 5.5/6 points, and the winner of the match would be the winner of the Pan American Championship.

Things started off in a scary situation for us. Sal was able to get a good position out of the opening against Foisor, and Johnny had a crushing initiative against Gareev, but soon afterwards Johnny was unable to convert and agreed to a draw, while things looked bleak in boards one and two.

Kritz again showed excellent play and beat our unstoppable Jack, while Bercys was able to convert his positional advantage. After 5 hours of play (!) the decision would come in the last remaining board, where Drasko Boskovic was playing his last game for UTD!

GM Erenburg tried his best, pushed as far a he could, and although he was one pawn up, Drasko held like a champion. Indeed him holding the draw gave UTD B the better tie-breaks and the title of 2008 PANAMERICAN CHAMPIONS! Congratulations

The qualifiers to the final four, to be held in April 2008, are the following:

University of Texas at Dallas

Univeristy of Maryland at Baltimore County


University of Texas at Brownsville

See you here, in Dallas, April!

Blog Archive:

UTD vs Belgrade: UTD retains the title! (November, 2008)

UTD GM Invitational (November, 2008)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Rounds 3 & 4 GM

Rounds 1 and 2 saw very exciting games, some time trouble issues and a lot of action! Let's start with the GM tournament:

1 IM Marko Zivanic 1:0 IM John Bartholomew

2 IM Puchen Wang 1/2:1/2 IM Sal Bercys

3 IM Jacek Stopa 0:1 GM Becerra

4 IM Davorin Kuljasevic 1:0 IM Drasko Boskovic

5 GM Alejandro Ramirez 1/2:1/2 Sergey Kudrin

The third round saw some very surprising games. ZIVANIC was able to tear down the almost impenetrable barrier that is John BARTHOLOMEW. After a very complex struggle, ZIVANIC was able to grind down Johnny-B and took the full point. KULJASEVIC out maneouvered BOSKOVIC in a very typical Kul-J grind, in the classical variation of the Nimzo-Indian. STOPA held a silght advantage against BECERRA after using the four knights defense, something that is not seen in GM games very often anymore. Despite his persistent advantage, STOPAs concentration faltered him, and allowed BECERRA to bounce back in to the game with decisive effect, indeed after a couple of mistakes STOPA was not able to prevent checkmate and had to resign.

My own game against Kudrin was very interesting. In a strange variation of the Gruenfeld Defence, I quickly sacrificed a piece for a long lasting initiative that turned into two strong passed pawns. After several mistakes from both sides and four and a half hours and 92 moves of game play the game was drawn. WANG and BERCYS quickly drew a game which many claim was still favorable to the New Zealand player.

1 IM John Bartholomew 1/2:1/2 GM Alejandro Ramirez

2 GM Julio Becerra 1:0 IM Sal Bercys

3 IM Puchen Wang 1/2:1/2 IM Davorin Kuljasevic

4 GM Sergey Kudrin 0:1 IM Jacek Stopa

5 IM Marko Zivanic 1/2:1/2 IM Drasko Boskovic

The highlight of this round, which was marked with three quick draws between friends, was definitely Stopa's spectacular victory against Kudrin. Kudrin, exhausted after our long game, chose an extremely agressive line against Stopa's Scandinavian set-up. This badly misfired, and after some cool maneouvering from Jacek he was not only able to halt white's attack, but expose the weaknesses left by the hasty advance of white's pawns. Black was later able to crash through on the queenside, and scored a very impressive victory. The other decisive game, BECERRA vs BERCYS, saw the GM grind down our IM from the very early start.

Round 5 starts today at 11 am! Check them live at or in the ICC

Your blogger,

Alejandro Ramirez

Blog Archive:

UTD vs Belgrade: UTD retains the title! (November, 2008)

Thursday, November 27, 2008



The Rounds Begin: Introduction to Players and Rounds 1 & 2!


Yesterday Wednesday 26th gave start to another edition of the prestigious UTD GM invitational. This time, due to changes in the academic calendar, the tournament is 9 rounds instead of 11 and the tournament is now split into two sections! The first section (GM section) is as follows:

1 2602 USA GM Becerra, Julio 35 N/A N/A
2 2553 USA GM Kudrin, Sergey 49 N/A N/A
3 2533 CRC GM Ramirez, Alejandro 20 Sr Arts & Technology
4 2521 CRO IM Kuljasevic, Davorin 22 Sr Business Administration
5 2465 SRB IM Zivanic, Marko 24 Sr Computer Science
6 2461 POL IM Stopa, Jacek 21 Jr International Political Economy
7 2453 USA IM Bartholomew, John 22 Sr Business Administration
8 2452 SRB IM Boskovic, Drasko 25 Jr Business Administration
9 2450 NZ IM Wang, Puchen 18 Fr Business Administration
10 2428 USA IM Bercys, Salvijus 18 Sp Finance/Science

This is of course an incredibly strong field, averaging almost 2500 FIDE rating points! I will post the necessary amount of points for our players to make a GM norm as soon as I get the calculations right

The IM section (named because you can make an IM norm) also boasts a field full of talent:

USA GM Kraai, Jesse 36
USA GM Annakov, Babakuli 36
USA FM Shneider, Igor 20 Jr Finance
USA FM Kiewra, Keaton 21 Sr Psychology
LTU Vedrickas, Tautvydas 18 Sp Political Science
USA Guadalupe, Francisco 20 Sp Electrical Engineering
MGL WFM Zorigt, Bayaraa 20 Jr Business Administration
IND Vaidya, CN 22 Sp Economics
SRB Bantic, Mihail 21 Jr Computer Science
USA Lopez, Nelson 21 Jr Telcomm Engineering

The average rating of this tournament is of 2301.

Rounds 1 & 2 GM

You are able to follow the games live through the Internet Chess Club, on or on our own UTD site at

Rounds 1 and 2 saw very exciting games, some time trouble issues and a lot of action! Let's start with the GM tournament:

1 IM Davorin Kuljasevic (2537) 1/2:1/2 IM John Bartholomew (2510)

2 IM Salvijus Bercys (2502) 0:1 IM Marko Zivanic (2518)

3 IM Jacek Stopa (2522) 1:0 IM Drasko Boskovic (2502)

4 GM Alejandro Ramirez (2592)1:0 IM Puchen Wang (2531)

5 GM Sergey Kudrin (2592) 1/2:1/2 GM Julio Becerra (2644)

Probably the most heartbreaking game of the first round was the one played between BERCYS and ZIVANIC. Sal obtained what seemed to be a crushing advantage from the opening and into the middlegame, but became his own worst enemy when he consumed too much time and allowed Marko to create tactical melees that were hard to keep up with. Eventually, low on time, Sal made a decisive mistake and Marko took the victory.

STOPA proved to have excellent knowledge of the Sicilian type positions, first stopping any counterplay by BOSKOVIC and letter penetrating over the kingside with a very pretty rook sacrifice.

My own game was very one sided, as I managed to out prepare the young New Zealand IM WANG and obtained an overwhelming initiative out of the first few moves, which I managed to convert. BARTHOLOMEW proved once more how solid he is and put a stop to any attempts by KULJASEVIC to break through, ending in a peaceful result.

The battle of the GMs KUDRIN vs BECERRA was hard fought, to the surprise of some of the spectators, and after a long game it was actually Sergei who seemed to be happy with the half point.

1 IM John Bartholomew (2510) 1/2:1/2 GM Sergey Kudrin (2592)

2 GM Julio Becerra (2644) 1/2:1/2 GM Alejandro Ramirez (2592)

3 IM Puchen Wang (2531) 1:0 IM Jacek Stopa (2522)

4 IM Drasko Boskovic (2502) 1/2:1/2 IM Salvijus Bercys (2502)

5 IM Marko Zivanic (2518) 1/2:1/2 IM Davorin Kuljasevic (2537)

Round two definitely saw more draws, mainly due to the close encounters and to the players strategically not taking risks in an afternoon round (many of the games in the morning were hard fought, and players only have that much energy). BARTHOLOMEW solidly held KUDRIN to a draw in a Gruenfeld Defense, out of which nothing really ever happened. My game against BECERRA was quite different, I have to say I was suffering through the 4 hours of the game, but in the end my defense proved sufficient and a draw was agreed. WANG seemed to play a nice game against STOPA, keeping the initiative from start until finish. BOSKOVIC, BERCYS, ZIVANIC, and KULJASEVIC pacted very quick draws. Next round looks as follows:

1 IM Marko Zivanic (2528) : IM John Bartholomew (2510)

2 IM Davorin Kuljasevic (2537) : IM Drasko Boskovic (2502)

3 IM Salvijus Bercys (2502) : IM Puchen Wang (2531)

4 IM Jacek Stopa (2522) : GM Julio Becerra (2644)

5 GM Alejandro Ramirez (2592) : GM Sergey Kudrin (2592)


1 Tautvydas Vedrickas (2289) 1/2:1/2 Chaitanya Vaidya (2170)

2 FM Igor Shneider (2426) 0:1 Mihail Bantic (2234)

3 FM Keaton Kiewra (2347) 1/2:1/2 GM Babakuli Annakov (2490)

4 GM Jesse Kraai (2573) 1:0 Nelson Lopez (2214)

5 Francisco Guadalupe (2254) 0:1 WFM Bayaraa Zorigt (2244)

1 Chaitanya Vaidya (2170) 1:0 WFM Bayaraa Zorigt (2244)

2 Nelson Lopez (2214) 1:0 Francisco Guadalupe (2254)

3 GM Babakuli Annakov (2490) 1/2:1/2 GM Jesse Kraai (2573)

4 Mihail Bantic (2234) 1:0 FM Keaton Kiewra (2347)

5 Tautvydas Vedrickas (2289) 0:1 FM Igor Shneider (2426)

With lots of fighting spirit, the first two rounds of the IM invitational started. The most important thing is probably the some what surprising start of serbian super star Mihail Bantic, who is now 2/2 and in clear first! Bantic needs 4.5 more points for a GM norm, out of 7 more games. All the games in the IM section are being broadcasted live as well, and they are proving to be sometimes more exciting than the GM section themselves! For example is LOPEZ vs GUADALUPE, where Nelson tried the ultra agressive King's Gambit and was rewarded with a full point after a complex struggle.

Check out every day for updated info on the games and for photos!

Your blogger,

Alejandro Ramirez

Blog Archive:

UTD vs Belgrade: UTD retains the title! (November, 2008)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

UTD Triumphant in Lubbock and Rating Updates

UTD chess team members went this past weekend to Texas Tech University, in Lubbock, to participate in the SPICE (Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence) chess festival, which started a week ago.

The festival's main event was a closed tournament with an average rating of over 2600. It was an extremely contested event, and the winner was Pentala Harikrishna from India, who won on tiebreak on top of Alexander Onischuk, Varuzhan Akobian and Leonid Kritz.

Jacek and I represented UTD in the Spice Open, and it was unfortunate that we had to play in the 4th round of the tournament. Jacek and I have a fearsome challenge between us, and in the 12 or so games we have played we only count 2 draws! I won this time, and have now evened the lifetime score 6-6.

In the final round I drew IM Gergely from Hungary (now a student in Texas Tech) to take first place.

Myself and Jacek before our rounds in the open. (Photo courtesy of Alexey Root)

The Spice Festival also included the Texas Women's Championship, in which our Bayaraa Zorigt, went to Lubbock and came back with the title of Texas Women's Champion! Congratulations to her!

Karina Vazirova, Helen Romakin and the new Champion Bayaraa Zorigt. (Photo courtesy of Alexey Root)

Most of our players, have recently, according to FIDE's October Rating list, improved their rating significantly! Of special notice are Keaton Kiewra and Igor Schneider. Here is the list of our top 10 according to FIDE rating, with the rating changes:

1. Alejandro Ramirez 2533 (+3)
2. Davorin Kuljasevic 2521 (+20)
3. Marko Zivanic 2465 (-12)
4. Jacek Stopa 2461 (+21)
5. John Bartholomew 2453 (+13)
6. Drasko Boskovic 2452 (-3)
7. Puchen Wang 2450 (+32)
8. Salvijus Bercys 2428 (-1)
9. Igor Schneider 2397 (+59) (!!!!)
10. Keaton Kiewra 2380 (+44)

UTD's The next event will be this Wednesday, 8:15 pm EST when the Dallas Destiny faces the Tenesse Tempo.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Summer Wrap Up

Classes have just recently started and most of our players have returned to UTD. Here is a quick summer wrap up for everyone:

UTD had a fantastic participation in Europe, where many of our players had good results. The most outstanding results were accomplished in the city of Kavala, Greece. Congratulations to Davorin and Keaton, who are now one step closer to achieving the maximum goal in chess (besides world champion!): Grandmaster

KAVALA 2008:
GM norm: FM Keaton Kiewra
GM norm: IM Davorin Kuljasevic

In another prestigious tournament, the World Open, one of our players took the first place! Congratulations to:
WORLD OPEN 2008, U2400 Section
1st place (shared): FM Igor Schneider
Igor being congratulated by the Igorites after having an amazing summer, where he gained over 40 fide rating points!

Not so far from here the strong US Open was held, and despite the fact that many players from around the world came to play this event, UTD was able to retain the title in Dallas, although it was not one of our players that accomplished this, but our very own coach!

US OPEN 2008
1st place (shared): IM Rade Milovanovic

In New York, I was able to take first place in the prestigious New York Invitational

New York Invitational:
1st place (shared): GM Alejandro Ramirez

I believe those are the most important accomplishments of our players this summer, congratulations to everybody for an amazing couple of months! Our next stop will be the SOUTHWEST OPEN, where many UTD players will participate, and the new faces of the UTD Chess Team will have a shot of proving their talent. This event will start next weekend, August 29th.

Until then,

Alejandro Ramirez

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lots of exciting news around the world

First of all, the biggest news of all is the following:

Keaton Kiewra and Davorin Kuljasevic, both UTD seniors have just scored a GM norm in Kavala!

For the uninitiated, a GM norm is one of the steps in becoming a Grandmaster, the requisites are completing three norms and obtaining a 2500 FIDE rating.

This means that Davorin is only one GM norm away from completing his title!

Keaton has not only scored a GM norm, but also his first IM norm! Such a feat is almost unheard of! Normally it takes people years after they achieve their IM title to obtain the first GM norm.

I apologize for not keeping up with my own tournament, the internet in Turkey is only usable after 1 am.

In other events, the US Open is being held in Dallas and a lot of UTD players are playing, heres a summary from our very own Bayaraa Zorigt:

2008 US Open Championship is being held in Westin hotel in Dallas, TX from August 2nd to 10th. The players in the traditional option have played 5 rounds so far, and the UTD chess team player Christopher Toolin has 4.5 points, Francisco Guadalupe (picture included) has 4 points, Nelson Lopez has 4 points, Yashodhan Gogte has 3.5 points (i think he won the last game), and Karina Vazirova has 3 points. (video on youtube)
Also the 5-day schedule of the U.S open began today evening. 73 players have played 2 games today with 1 hour+5 seconds delay and sudden death time control. UTD players, Chaitanya Vaidya , Mihail Bantic, and Bayaraa Zorigt, won their 2 games, and Martin Charles (picture included) got one point today. UTD chess team coach Rade Milovanovic's brother Dragan Milovanovic is playing in 5-day schedule and he has 2 points so far. Mr. Rade (picture included) is playing in the quick schedule, and he is leading his section with 5 out of 5 points. All the schedules are going to merge tomorrow night. (video on youtube)

Karina Vazirova in the US open

Mihail Bantic in the same tournament

The video that bayaraa is talking about can be found here:

At least I hope that is the video, youtube is blocked in Turkey...

For my self I am currently 4.5/6 in Turkey and will be playing in board 2 against English GM David Howell. The tournament is being led by Chinese GM Li Chao with 5.5/6. I am currently tied for fourth, which is quite excellent seeing how I started out with a loss!

Here I am pictured with GMs Leon Hoyos and Iturrizaga, from Mexico and Venezuela respectively.

I will try to upload photos as soon as possible...