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)