December 6, 2012
Texas Tech University student Faik Aleskerov won first place in the master section of the California Class Championship in Santa Clara over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Aleskerov is a member of the Texas Tech Chess A-team, the reigning intercollegiate national champion team.
“It feels amazing,” Aleskerov said. “I believed in myself and knew I needed to concentrate and play all my games for one result: to win.”
Aleskerov topped two-dozen competitors, including top-seeded, six-time U.S. Champion Walter Browne, whom Aleskerov beat in the next-to-last round.
The tournament victory fulfills Aleskerov’s final requirement for the title of International Master, which will be officially confirmed in January at the next meeting of the World Chess Federation (FIDE). Aleskerov says he now has his sights set on achieving Grandmaster status, the highest in chess.
“Our chess program is headed in the right direction,” Aleskerov said. “With all this support I don’t think it will take me long to become a Grandmaster.”
Aleskerov is a graduate student in Texas Tech’s Rawls College of Business. He has been playing chess for 21 years.