University of Texas at Dallas: UTD Chess Team Completes Grand Season at Final Four Tournament

The University of Texas at Dallas chess team is celebrating a significant year of accomplishments, including its 18th trip in 22 years to “The Final Four of College Chess” tournament, although the President’s Cup win eluded the Comets this year.

“We’re disappointed that we didn’t capture the first-place President’s Cup at the Final Four,” said Julio Catalino Sadorra BS’13, UT Dallas chess team coach, “but that doesn’t erase the huge effort and great success our team members saw this year.”

The winner of the 2022 Final Four event was Saint Louis University, coached by Grandmaster Alejandro Ramírez BA’09, MA’11. Like Sadorra, Ramírez went on to become a successful collegiate chess coach after graduating from UT Dallas.

Other teams appearing in the Final Four tournament, which was held in person for the first time since 2019, were Webster University and tournament host Texas Tech University.

“There’s not a more competitive collegiate chess event than the Final Four,” said Jim Stallings, UT Dallas Chess Program director.

Despite the Final Four loss, the chess team fared well in a number of other events since September.

In September, the team topped higher-seeded teams, including Webster University and Saint Louis University, to win the 2021 U.S. Online Collegiate Blitz Championship and to place third in the Online Collegiate Rapid Championship for the first time in the program’s history.
In October, the team placed second in the Texas Collegiate Super Finals, a tournament that included the best college teams in Texas.
In February, the team collaborated with members of the University’s chess club to collect a win at the Kasparov Chess Foundation University Cup, a prestigious international tournament that featured nearly 200 teams from five continents.
Also in February, two team members finished first and second in the Texas Collegiate Rapid Championship, while the team placed third in the Southwest Collegiate Team Championship.
Two individual chess team members also received national recognition during the year: Computer science senior David Brodsky placed second at the 2021 U.S. Junior Championship and earned the cover of American Chess Magazine. Computer science graduate student Guillermo Vázquez qualified as a Grandmaster, one of four players to do so while attending UT Dallas.

Looking ahead, more than half of the chess team members will be earning degrees and leaving UT Dallas at the end of the spring semester. Even so, Stallings said the squad is expected to be just as competitive next year.

“We have some great players remaining with us, and we’re excited about our new team members,” he said. “While the competition isn’t going away, we will continue to be an exciting team — one that is at or near the top of the standings in every tournament we’re in.”

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