Texas Tech University

Knight Raiders Win 2015 Pan-American Championship

K’Leigh Sims

January 5, 2016

This is the first time Texas Tech has won this tournament against the top collegiate chess teams in the nation.

Texas Tech “A” accepts its first ever PanAms championship trophy.

(L-R) IM Andrey Gorovets (4th board), GM Yaro Zherebukh (1st board),
Head Coach GM Alex Onischuk,
GM Elshan Moradiabadi (2nd board), GM Andriy Baryshpolets (3rd Board)

Texas Tech University's chess team, the Knight Raiders, recently won the 2015 Pan-American Intercollegiate Chess Championship for the first time in program history in Cleveland, Ohio, qualifying for the Final Four of College Chess in April.

This is the third consecutive year Texas Tech has qualified for the Final Four.

“We are all very proud to win this prestigious title for Texas Tech,” said Alex Onischuk, coach of Texas Tech chess. “Our team has been working very hard for the past three years. We played the best chess and we had the toughest pairings among all teams. It was a well-deserved victory.”

On the last day of the tournament, Texas Tech was behind the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley (UT-RGV), Webster University and the University of Texas-Dallas by a half-point along with Columbia University and Lindenwood University.

While UT-RGV and Webster made draws on each team member's boards on the final day, the Knight Raiders made their way to the top with two wins and two draws, beating out 10-time Pan-American champion UT-Dallas.

Alex Onischuk
Alex Onischuk

The winning team included International Master Andrey Gorovets and Grandmasters Yaro Zherebukh, Elshan Moradiabadi and Andriy Baryshpolets.

Texas Tech's Carla Heredia, a woman grandmaster, also was named the top alternate at the championship tournament.

The chess program at Texas Tech, housed under the Division of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement, is nationally known for its strong competition and leadership by coach Onischuk. Known as an international grandmaster, Onischuk is ranked as one of the top 100 players in the world and has been for the past 19 years. 

In the next two weeks, Onischuk said the Knight Raiders will begin their preparation for the Final Four, which will take place in New York City at the Marshall Chess Club.

“I would like to congratulate coach Alex and his team on their first of many more Pan-American Championship wins,” said Paul Frazier, associate vice president for the Division of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement. “This victory is the result of all their hard work and commitment to excellence.”