Texas Tech University

Knight Raiders Place Second at Chess Final Four

Amanda Castro-Crist

March 28, 2017


After winning third place three years in a row, the Texas Tech chess team took second place at the 2017 President's Cup in New York City.

Knight Raiders

The Knight Raiders, Texas Tech University's award-winning chess team, has won second place at the 2017 President's Cup at the Marshall Chess Club in New York City. The championship, also known as the Final Four of College Chess, included defending champion Webster University, Saint Louis University and the University of Texas-Dallas. It's the fourth consecutive year and seventh time overall Texas Tech has competed in the national championship.

"Texas Tech was considered the lowest-rated team participating in this year's tournament, yet defying these odds and winning second place shows what I consider a great success," said Alex Onischuk, chess coach and director. "I'm happy our hard work paid off this semester."

After beating Texas Tech in the first round, Webster University earned a total of 8 points in the competition and won its fifth consecutive national title. Texas Tech went on to win matches against Saint Louis University and UTD to take second place with 6.5 total points. Saint Louis University finished in third with 5 points and UTD placed fourth with 4.5 points.

Four Knight Raiders collected points in the competition: International Master Luis Torres, a mechanical engineering major from Cuidad del Carmen, Mexico, finished with 2 points, while International Grandmaster Andrii Baryshpolets, an economics major from Kyiv, Ukraine; International Master Sergei Matsenko, an interdisciplinary studies major from Chelyabinsk, Russia; and International Master Pavel Vorontsov, a computer science major from Kyiv, Ukraine; each earned 1.5 points. Women's International Master Iryna Andrenko, a horticulture science major from Simferopol, Crimea; and Woman Candidate Master Claudia Munoz, a mathematics major from Wichita Falls, attended the competition as alternates.

"All of our players had good form and most importantly, each individual contributed to our overall victory," Onischuk said. "I'd like to thank our university's administration for their tremendous support."

Paul Frazier, associate vice president of the Division of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement, traveled with the team to New York and was the first one to congratulate the players.

"We went in there ranked No. 4 and our team played above their opponents, stepped up to the competition and went on to win to win second place," Frazier said. "I'm very proud of our team's performance at the final four and throughout the year."

This week, Onischuk himself will begin competition as one of only 12 players invited to the two-week 2017 U.S. Championship in St. Louis. He'll play against players ranked second, third and eighth in the world. Onischuk is currently ranked sixth among American grandmasters.

The chess program was established within the Division of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement in 2007 and has since earned more than 10 national titles. The Knight Raiders finished third in 2010 and 2014-16, won back-to-back national titles in 2011-12 and the university was named Chess College of the Year in 2014. Onischuk was named Grandmaster of the Year in 2014 and has been ranked as one of the top 100 players in the world for the past 20 years.

For more information about the Texas Tech Chess Program, visit the website.

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