Checkmate: UTRGV Wins National Championship
BROWNSVILLE – UTRGV chess coach Bartek Macieja and his Vaqueros are hoisting the President’s Cup for the first time in school history.
“Our goal was to try and win it,” said Hovhannes Gabuzyan. “It was very exciting because last round there was a lot of pressure on us and we needed big scoring.
UTRGV won the Final Four of chess, edging five-time defending champion Webster University for 1st place, by the closest margin possible.
“When my players were making good moves, I thought yes we’re so close,” said Macieja. “Then two seconds later, I said oh no, we are not the champions. Webster is for the sixth time. But finally, one thing went very well and we won the event.”
Sophomore Vladimir Belous led the way, going undefeated in his matches.
“In this tournament you have to be self-confident,” said Belous. “In the tournament I was preparing, just playing and nothing else. I mean, I did eat a little bit.”
Five Vaqueros participated in the Final Four, including a pair of freshmen.
“Our team is not going to change next year so it means a lot we won this year,” said Kamil Dragun. “I think we can only be better.”