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Haraldur R Karlsson
Jan 8, 2013

Knight Raiders Compete in 2012 Pan-Ams at Princeton University and Win Awards!

Jan 8, 2013 by Haraldur R Karlsson

The Knight Raiders competed in the Pan-American Team Chess Tournament that took place on the beutiful Princeton University campus Dec. 27-30th.  The Knight Raiders Chess Club along with the TTU Chess Program fielded three teams  (A, B, and C) each consisting of four players.  Also in attendance were the TTU Chess Program Director (Al Lawrence), Coach (Grandmaster Alex Onischuck), and head of Outreach (International Master Alfonso Almeida) and Knight Raiders Club Advisor (Dr. Karlsson).  Our teams had a hard time getting on site just like a lot of the other teams due to bad weather.  However, everyone was pretty much in the places when the first round started around 7 PM local time.  The following students represented the Knight Raiders and TTU; A-team: GM Hedinn Steingrimsson, GM Elshan Morabadi, IM Faik Aleskerov, Steven Breckenridge and Chase Watters (alternate); B-team: Trey Modlin, Brian Cassidy, Zach Haskin, and Josh Osbourn; C-team: Chris Hobart, Ethan Morgan, Brett James and Shane Metzler.  The A-team was dominated by graduate students and the B and C teams by undergraduates.   This was the largest Pan-Am tournament I have been to with 43 teams playing and 27 universities fielding teams.  Academic powerhouses such as University of Chicago, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, and Yale participated.  The strongest chess teams were fielded by newcomers Webster. Lindenwood, and old stalwarts, UT-Dallas, U Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), UT-Brownsville and Texas Tech.  Host Princeton fielded the most number teams or four and Tech came next with three.  Teams came as far a way as Canada (U Toronto), and Jamaica. All-together six rounds were played using the so-called swiss pairing system.  The competition was fierce from the start with some of the strongest chess teams ever playing in the Pan Ams.  To make a long story short the Tech A- team came close to qualifying for the Final Four (decides the US Collegiate Champion) but the B-team and C-team won national titles in their respective divisions (B in Division III and C in Division IV).  Moreover, Faik Aleskerov had outstanding performance on Board 3 for the A team and won the Board Three Prize allowing only one draw out of six games (5.5. out of 6).  Attached is a picture of the trophies the Knight Raiders brought home.