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...

Friday, August 1, 2008

Day 1: Turkey and reports from other places

Hello everyone!

I am now blogging from the Met Gold Hotel, in Gaizantep, Turkey! I am here playing the World Junior Chess Championship, which will start August third.

For now I have been doing little else than sleeping, trying to shake off my jet lag. The flight from Dallas to Turkey was as follows:

Dallas - JFK (NY) 4 hours
4 hour layover

JFK - Istanbul 10 hours
4 hour layover

Istanbul - Gaziantep 2 hours

For a total of 24 hours to get here! This was quite exhausting! I will be updating this blog as soon as I go out, take some pictures and learn about the locals. The only things I know are that the city is very hot and dry (doi), people don't seem to speak english but do seem friendly.

On news from other of our players:

UTD has a contingency currently playing the Kavala Open in Greece. Wish them best of luck! The players are, from UTD:

Andrei Zaremba
Igor Schneider
Davorin Kuljasevic
Marko Zivanic
Keaton 'sexy' Kiewra
Peter Vavrak (alumni)
Drasko Boskovic
Lee Gardner

So far our players Zaremba, Kuljasevic, Zivanic and Kiewra all have 2/2 perfect score! Let's hope one of them can take home a GM/IM norm for UTD.

On the other side of the globe, our strong female players Bayaraa Zorigt, Lilia Doibani and Karina Vazirova will be playing the US Open that is being held in Dallas! It is quite ironic that our strongest players are playing in Europe this summer when the US Open returns to Dallas. However I'm sure our girls will represent us quite well, and hopefully we will be have blogging and picture reports by WFM Bayaraa!

That is all for now, I'm off to find myself a Kebab.
p.s. no videos this tournament, apparently youtube is blocked in Turkey due to the Armenian video controversy.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

UTD last days in China and Great Wall

Hello fellow readers!

As we say in spanish 'mil disculpas' for the lack of information! The firewall of china was greater than my abilities and resources and it was impossible to access this blog.

I am currently in Dallas, updating as fast as I can. Next tournaments include the World Open in Philadelphia, Alajuela International in Costa Rica and I'm training hard to become the next World Junior Chess Champion, the championship will be held in Gaizantep, Turkey in August. The rest of the team has already taken off to exciting places:

Marko and Kul-J have departed for their countries in former Yugoslavia (Serbia and Croatia respectively). Marko will be coming back in a few weeks to teach in the UTD SUMMER CAMPS. Davorin will be playing in tournaments throughout Europe, hopefully becoming UTD's second home grown GM (the first being Magesh Panchanathan, who got his final GM norm in the world open in philadelphia a few years ago).

Jacek Stopa defies the human limit by flying to the Chicago Open. He is currently 1/1 and we hope he wins the tournament! I will try to update the blog with anything I can find from him.

Igor is back home in NYC, and his plans include the amazingly strong Czech Open in Pardubice and Kabala Open in Greece.

For now I will leave you with some photos of one of UTD's coolest things during our trip: playing chess in the Great Wall! We were the center of attraction while we played as hundreds of tourists stopped to watch us play:

Friday, May 16, 2008

The games between utd and nankai university were held in the hotel we are staying in, in a special apartment place exclusive to the chinese federation and it's players.


The entire match saw some very interesting, close games. Let's go by board:

Ramirez, A - Wang Yue 1/2-1/2

My first game against Wang was very interesting. Wang Yue is a known specialist of the ... a6 slav (a very solid opening) but this time he chose to play the very agressive Gruenfeld against me, probably going for the full point. This plan backfired and I got a very comfortable position out of the opening, being slightly better through the entire game. However, I was unable to find any continuation leading to a clear victory, and only very in depth-analysis might possibly reveal such variation.

Zhao Jun - kuljasevic, d 1/2 - 1/2

"dado"s game had a similar story to mine: Zhao did not play his normal variation and saw davorin get a significantly better position. Zhao's defense was amazingly tenacious and at the end it was impossible for our utd player to break through the defenses.

Zivanic, Marko - Weng Yan 1/2-1/2

Marko's game featured the highly complex queen's gambit - exchange variation. Visually pleasing, it is always a tricky opening for white, and despite the enourmous space advantage of Marko, Weng's sacrifice in the queenside (where Marko castled) created too much counterplay. At the end the player's agreed to a draw in a highly unstable position.

Li Chen - Stopa, Jacek 1/2-1/2

Jacek was his typical self in this game: he boldly played an inferior line and snatched a pawn from his opponent in exchange of giving him a huge initative. The game was very tactical and rather short, it ended abruptly when Li saw nothing better than sacrifice a bishop for a perpetual check, forcing our Polish international master to concede the half point.

Shneider, I - Li Haoyu 0-1

Igor playing white was faced against his own defense against the king's pawn - the french defense. Igor sacrificed a pawn to attempt an attack on the enemy king, and black was eventually forced to concede the pawn back leaving Igor with a nice advantage. However by this time our player had almost no time left (about 30 seconds, remember that after every move he plays he gets an extra 30 seconds added to his remaining time). The pressure was unsurmountable and the fact that Igor has been sick since we arrived did not help at all. The Chinese player was merciless to Igor's mistakes and took the full point.


Wang Yue - Ramirez, A 1-0

The Chinese super GM slightly surprized me by playing a side variation in my favorite opening, the benko gambit. I managed to get into a good position, and the game was very complicated for a long time. Our clocks ran down to 5 minutes per player and it was still very hard to say who would win the game. At the end it was me who made the mistake, underestimating the chances his passed pawn on the queenside gave him. Wang played a flawless game and took the victory. I have to say, however, I am very satisfied with my level of play in these two games, Wang is one of the top GMs in the world and it was an honor to have played such a close match, which could have gone either way.

kuljasevic, d - Zhao Jun 1/2-1/2

Zhao played the Nimzo-indian defense, which later turned into a hedgehog. The reason chessplayers call this setup the hedgehog is because blacks pawns resemble the spikes from said animal, which curls to defend itself from any attack. This approach was successful and davorin was left to work with nothing, no choice but to walk away with the draw.

Weng Yan - Zivanic, Marko 1/2-/12

Another fascinating game where lots of pieces were flying over the board. Weng left his king completely unprotected by pawns in order to send them to the attack, but Zivanic's cool maneouvres forced the game into a slightly favorable endgame for our player. The difference was however too small, and with excellent play the chinese held on to the draw.

Stopa, J - Li Chen 0-1

This game was probably the most heartbreaking of all. Jacek refused a draw from his opponent in order to launch an initiative, which would have worked had Jack not overlooked a cunning retort from his opponents. After this mistake the game was very difficult to hold, the Chinese was implacable and both clocks ran below the 1 minute mark. Jacek was unable to hold on and Nankai took another point.

Li Haoyu - Shneider, I 1/2-1/2

I am not sure what happened in this game, Igor claims to have been better and lost a good chance to score a victory for us, but I was too absorbed in my own duel to really notice what happened. I will ask more details from Shneider later.

So at the end, Nankai takes the match with a convincing 3.5-6.5 and conceding no full points. Congratulations to our opponents, it was definitley a very interesting match!

Pictures will be uploaded when this internet feels like working...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Today the team had an early breakfast that consisted of Seaweed, some unidentifiable soup, some unidentifiable stringy brown thing, fried eggs and warm milk.

Shortly after our... interesting... breakfast we took a subway to Tian'anmen Square, right in front of the Forbidden City. The City proved to be far more spectacular than I ever imagined, its sheer size overwhelming and its colors fascinating. We had a very friendly tour guide named Han who showed us the city up and down.

"dado" kuljasevic, your dear blogger and Jack blending in.

Some of the players and chinese representatives in front of the gates, and Mao

I apologize for the quality of any picture I am in, the substitute photographers seem to fail

We also had the great honor of meeting the nephew of the last emperor. Since the last emperor, Henry Puyi, never had offsprings, his nephew would have become the new Emperor since he is part of the Qing dinasty, the Imperial Family of the Aisin-Goro clan. It was really quite an honor! He is now one of the most famous calligraphers in China, and his works are collected and exhibited around the world.

This is how amazing the service is in China.
Later we had lunch at a restaurant where the speciality was duck. Again the food was simply unbelievable, exquisite and abundant. No words can really describe it so I will just leave you with the following image:


After eating we visited the Pearl Market, where we found everything from Silk to Ipods, Iphones, chess sets and Rolexes, all for 1/10 of the price they would have in the U.S.A. You also have to wonder how authentic these things are... but that's just, of course, a small detail. Bargainning was fierce, and we managed to bring many things down to 40% of the original cost. The girls that sell... stuff (stuff is really the only term I can think off, they really do sell everything) in this market speak enough english to bargain very well.

Exhausted from our adventure through Beijing the majority of team crashed immediately after returning to the hotel. Tomorrow we will play against our Chinese rivals. I personally know I will be playing Wang Yue, who is an incredible opponent. Wang recently won the First FIdE Grand Prix tournament in Baku, Azerbaijan, in front of the top players in the world. Wish me luck!

p.d. yes I know there aren't any images, Chinese internet is being difficult... I will try in the morning -

edit2: Pics are finally uploading!!!! also I apologize for the formatting, but remember that due to china's firewall I cannot access my own blog, and thus can't view it at all.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Hello fellow friends, players, fans and groupies!

As many of you may now, the UT chess team has embarked on its latest adventure: representing the comets in Beijing, China against a strong contingency of the top Chinese chess players!

The team is led by coach Rade Milovanovic and program director Jim Stallings.  Our roster is:

1. GM Alejandro Ramirez
2. IM Davorin Kuljasevic
3. IM Marko Zivanic
4. IM Jacek Stopa
5. FM Igor Shneider

We are still unsure who our opponents are, but rumors are that they include figure such as Wang Yue, who recently tied for first in the super GM tournament in Azerbaijan.

Yesterday we set off towards Beijing in an early 8 am flight from d-town, passing first through San Francisco.

The Beijing airport was very impressive, not only because of its sheer size but because of the amount of people in there!

Igor and Jacek being engulfed by people in the immigration line

We were greeted by old chinese friends, which had joined us in the past utd GM tournament in dallas last december.

We arrived at the hotel around 5 pm, and had little time to rest before a welcome dinner was held in our honor.

To be fair, this is simply put the most outstanding dinner I have ever expierienced in my life.  Not only was the food very varied and magnificent (we had easily 7 courses, including appetizers, soup, another soup, a plethora of entrees and desserts), but the service was simply spectacular.  As soon as you took a sip of your Cha (Chinese Tea) we would have a smiling waitress refilling the cup.

Jacek can't hide his amazement... and these here are only the first round of appetizers!

After dinner we had a little walk around the block, which unfortunately does not seem to be as nice as the hotel.  Jacek tried, unsuccesfuly, to buy some ice cream in exchange for his us dollars.

Not too friendly...

And an unsucessful merchant named Stopa, who did get the attention of the entire market...

Please pardon your blogger for such a short update, I will be uploading more as soon a I can.  The flight was, after all, 13 hours and the slow chinese internet makes it hard to upload photos.  Stay tuned!


Monday, April 21, 2008


The strong annual "Texas Masters" chess tournament was held this past weekend in the DCC (dallas chess club).

Personally this is the third year I play this tournament, and it holds very dear memories for me, but my results have been far from impressive!

Thanks to JG burger for sponsoring the event!

This year saw a mix of very strong players and young talents from the Dallas area. Many of the players have qualified for a spot in the upcoming WYCC (world youth chess championship) to be held later this year in Vietnam.

Darwin Yang is not even 12, but already a FM and 2200 player

Lithuanian FM Tautvydas Vedrickas was second seed of the tournament

Keaton Kiewra came in second after playing a spectacular game against FM Tautvydas

The top standings at the end of the tournament:

# Name Rating St Rd 1 Rd 2 Rd 3 Rd 4 Rd 5 Total Prize
1 GM Alejandro Ramirez 2593 TX W15 W11 W7 W3 D2 4.5 1500.00
2 FM Keaton Kiewra 2312 NE W9 D8 W20 W7 D1 4.0 750.00
3 FM Michael Langer 2299 TX W10 D6 W4 L1 W8 3.5 250.00
4 FM Darwin Yang 2160 TX W18 D12 L3 W20 W10 3.5 250.00
5 FM Andrew W Whatley 2317 TX H--- U--- W17 W16 W6 3.5

Thanks again to the DCC and JG for making this tournament possible. It was very unfortunate that it coincided with final exams for most of the UTD and UTB (university of texas at brownsville) team members, and did not see the amount of IMs that this tournament normally attracts.

All info for the tournament, more photos and full standings can be found at

Alejandro Ramirez

Monday, April 7, 2008


The final round saw very exciting chess! Let's go over the games individually:

1/2 - 1/2

The game saw a very solid 'Meran Defense' which led to a certain amount of complications in the middle game. 3 hours later the game was very hard to be evaluated, with white having slightly more material (2 bishops vs a rook and a pawn) but black's activity could not be underestimated.

After a very interesting struggle the game eventually finished with Sergey trying to chase my bishop away from guarding a very important square, b1, where he wanted to promote his passed pawn into a new queen. The bishop kept finding shelter and the game ended in a draw.

1 - 0

Magesh saw himself in a slight disadvantage early in the game after falling for a very cunning trap by the Uzbek Grand Master, Timur Gareev. Despite putting up an amazing resistance, white was able to convert his advantage after using very fancy tactics and great technique. Magesh's resilience was fantastic, making the task of winning very difficult for Gareev who proved why he is one of the top world junior players and the highest rated player in the event.

As a quick side note our team captain, Magesh Panchanathan, will be graduating this semester with his Masters in CS and has successfully represented UTD in 6 (!) Final Fours. Thanks Magesh, congratulations for the degree and best of luck!

1 - 0

Our player, Davorin 'Kul-J' Kuljasevic chose a slightly passive which apparently let Pawel equalize. However Kul-J outplayed Pawel with a magnificent style, not allowing the Polish to ever breathe or seek counterplay of any sort. Kul-J has been on a rise lately, making two GM norms and breaking the 2500 FIDE rating mark in the past few months.

Kul-Js excellent style was evidenced in this game, where it is impossible to say where Pawel went wrong. Davorin simply played too well! Davorin's game was the last to finish, and he needed but a draw to clinch the title, however being in a position where losing was really not in the picture, he pushed for a win that he got in a crushing Knight vs Bishop endgame, where his Knight restricted any possible activity by the bishop and allowed him to push his passed pawns into new queens.

As a side note this is Pawel's last final four, just like our team captain Magesh this is his 6th (!) President's Cup and he will be graduating this upcoming May.



Marko was simply implacable in this tournament: despite the fact that he played 3 black games he won all of them! Rohonyan started the game very strongly, gaining a clear advantage. However she failed to find the decisive Nd7, where Zivanic's queen and rook would be under fire, giving white a huge advantage. Marko recovered flawlessly and outplayed Rohonyan giving UTD the first win of the match, and giving us much needed confidence in our boards.

At the end UTD prevailed 2.5-1.5, winning the tournament outright in both match points and individual points! Congratulations!

Come back soon for pictures and report on the closing ceremony, trip home and links to the articles published about the most recent success of the strongest chess team in the Western Hemisphere.


Round 2 was not played by your dear blogger, so I have little info except what is provided by the boards:


UTD continued with a demolishing pace winning 3.5-0.5 against a very resilient New York University. The results as follows:

Molner McKenzie [NYU] 0 - 1 Magesh Panchanathan [UTD]
Drasko Boskovic [UTD] 1/2 - 1/2 - Evan 'the Trompowsky Master' Rosenber [NYU]
Sean Finn [NYU]0 - 1 Marko Zivanic [UTD]
John Bartholomew [UTD] 1 -0 Jake Vogel [NYU]

Dropping only half a point, the team again managed to finish all their games before the other match had a single decisive board.


This was easily the closest match in the tournament, with Miami seeming to be completely losing in most boards to making a virtual draw against the Maryland powerhouse. Katja 'the Kiev Killer' Rohonyan crushed her opponent Javier Gonzalez with ease, but Charlos Galofre managed to lock down the position against Timur Gareev, Erenburg surprisingly lost an easily darwn endgame against Gonzalez and Sinclair was holding against UMBC's 3rd GM Pawel Blehm. At the end it was Timur that grinded out a win in a very drawn position to give UMBC the victory 2.5-1.5. At the end this happened:

Renier Gonzalez [MIAMI] 1 - 0 Sergey Erenburg [UMBC]
Timur Gareev [UMBC] 1 -0 Charles Galofre [MIAMI]
Devling Sinclair [MIAMI] 1/2 - 1/2 Pawel Blehm [UMBC]
Kateryna Rohonyan [UMBC] 1 - 0 Javier Gonzalez [MIAMI]

With this results UTD is leading by half a point and needs only half a point to clinch the title! The climatic match was played at 9:00 am, April 06th

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Round 1!

And so the moment of truth has arrived!

The tournament started a little late after the technical team finished setting up the Monrois (electronic scoresheets) and dgt boards (electronic boards!) which we are using.

The opening ceremony was short, and it importantly introduced the brand new "real" President's Cup! I couldn't help myself but to stare at the beauty:


Most of the games lasted for more than three and a half hours, with no easy games being played. The first game of the tournament to finish was a convincing victory by UTD's Marko Zivanic against Miami's Ernesto Alvarez

Zivanic (right) posing for the camera prior to the game

all of the UTD vs Miami games finished before any of the UMBC vs NYU games finished.  These were the results:

Your trusty blogger enjoying a smile with his victim

Alejandro Ramirez [UTD] 1 - 0 Reinier Gonzalez [MIAMI]
Charles Galofre [MIAMI] 1/2 - 1/2 Davorin Kuljasevic [UTD]
Drasko Boskovic        [UTD] 1 - 0 Javie Gonzalez [MIAMI]
Ernesto Alvarez [MIAMI] 0 - 1 Marko Zivanic [UTD]

So we won the match 3.5-0.5!  However our dear Kuljasevic had a tougher time than expected against Miami's second board, and they went for a 5 hour marathon that made the game go all the way to the last few pieces!

Kuljasevic being surprized!


The UMBC squad seemed to not be convincingly better in any board against NYU (except the second board), but managed to outplay their opponents in excellent fashion, wiping out NYU by 4-0


The results:

Sergey Erenburg [UMBC] 1 - 0 Molner Mckenzie [NYU]
Evan "the revolutionizer" Rosenberg [NYU] 0 - 1 Timur Gareev [UMBC]
Pawel Blehm [UMBC] 1 - 0 Sean Finn [NYU]
Jake Vogel [NYU] 0 - 1 Katerina Rohonian [UMBC]

It seems that UMBC also brought their cheerleaders for the match!  Actually this is Sergey Erenbug's girlfriend who faithfully supported her team all throughout the match

Currently the second round is being played and I will have new photos and results as soon as possible!


Friday, April 4, 2008

flight and arrival to baltimore

The team left utd campus at 6:30 a.m. heading for dfw airport. There we enjoyed a healthy Starbucks breakfast and prepared for the nap on the early flight to BWI.  Here I am with the currently non-working camera which will be used to upload more pictures in the future, while Magesh shows the world that the breakfast of champions is really based on a fast-food diet.

Right now we are staying "The Quinta Inn" which is very close to the playing site, located in the UMBC campus.

Reception dinner was very good, with the best crab cakes I have eaten in my life! We are all resting for our interesting match tomorrow, with us having white against Miami dade.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Welcome to the blog site of the UTD chess team! Here you will find the latest reports, comments and games from the #1 college chess team in the nation.

The first stop will be the important FINAL FOUR tournament, to be held in Baltimore Maryland. Stop by April 4th to see the latest updates on this exciting event.

Alejandro Ramirez Alvarez
blogger for the UTD chess team