UMBC Chess Teams Gear Up for 2010 Pan-Am

The UMBC Chess Teams are preparing to defend their title at the 2010 Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship (“World Series of College Chess”), to be held December 27-30 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Dating back to 1946, the Pan-Am is the most prestigious college chess championship in the Americas. Last year, against fierce competition, UMBC won first place at the Pan-Am a record ninth time and went on to win the President’s Cup (“Final Four of College Chess”) a record sixth time.

Nevertheless, this year may be UMBC’s toughest fight ever with three Texas schools also fielding extremely strong teams. As does UMBC, University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), Texas Tech and University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) each recruits Grandmaster chess players from throughout the world with chess scholarships. Each team comprises four players and up to two alternates.

UMBC will send two teams, selected by Chess Coach Igor Epshteyn and Associate Director and International Grandmaster Sam Palatnik. Team A consists of International Grandmasters Leonid “Chief” Kritz of Germany, Sergey “The Stealth” Erenburg (Captain) of Israel, Giorgi Margvelashvili of the Republic of Georgia and International Master Sasha “Plaplan” Kaplan of Israel. Three of these players are straight-A students. The average rating of Team A is an amazing 2586.

Team B consists of International Woman Grandmaster Sabina “Sunshine” Foisor (Captain) of Romania, National Masters Aaron “Kahnvict” Kahn, Richard Selzler (Chess Club President), Adithya “The Smasher” Balasubramanian, plus freshman Chess Expert Benjamin “The Potomac Pillager” Krause as alternate from Potomac, Maryland. The average rating of Team B is 2302.

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