Texas Tech University

Knight Raiders Win State Collegiate Chess Championship

K’Leigh Sims

October 28, 2015

Texas Tech’s nationally recognized chess team has won this competition three years in a row.


For the third year in a row, Texas Tech University's nationally ranked Knight Raiders chess team won the Texas State Collegiate Chess Championship in Houston this weekend (Oct. 23-25) after taking on the University of Texas-Dallas and the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, two other nationally ranked teams.

Last year, Texas Tech finished tied with the University of Texas-Brownsville (now UT-Rio Grande Valley) deeming them co-champions, but this year Texas Tech finished a point ahead of UT-Dallas and two points ahead of UT-Rio Grande Valley.

“Both UT-Dallas and UT-Rio Grande Valley have deeper benches – more available top players – than Texas Tech,” said Al Lawrence, program director for Texas Tech Chess. “But our top players are as good as anyone's, and they train regularly with our head coach, former U.S. champion Alex Onischuk, the premier college chess coach in the United States.”

Nineteen of the 22 competitors were internationally titled players. Eight were international grandmasters, the highest-ranking title in chess.

Al Lawrence & Alex Onischuk
Al Lawrence and Alex Onischuk

International grandmasters Yaroslav Zherebukh, a junior finance major; Elshan Moradiabadi, a management information systems doctoral student; Andrey Baryshpolets, an economics doctoral student; and international master Andrey Gorovets, a geography graduate student, turned in the top four scores for the Knight Raiders.

International master Luis Torres, World Chess Federation (known as FIDE) master Steven Breckenridge, women's international master Iryna Andrenko, national master Leo C. Creger and Seetharam Reddy Marreddy also represented Texas Tech at the event.

For the past two years, Texas Tech's Knight Raiders have qualified for the Final Four of Collegiate Chess in New York City, finishing third. This year, the qualifying event, the Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship, will be organized by Oberlin College Dec. 27-30 near Cleveland, Ohio.

On Nov. 5 at 2:15 p.m. in the Texas Tech Library, Onischuk will take on 30 representatives of Texas Tech fraternities at once in a game of chess during the annual “Beat the Greeks” exhibition. The Lubbock community is invited to the event.

The Texas Tech University Chess Program – part of the Division of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement – offers outreach programs to more than a dozen area schools and can provide teaching materials and other assistance on request.