Texas Tech University

Knight Raiders Place Third in Final Four of Chess

Amanda Castro-Crist

April 3, 2018


This is the fifth year in a row and eighth time overall the team has competed in the President’s Cup tournament.

Texas Tech University's award-winning chess team, The Knight Raiders, placed third at the 2018 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-Rio Grande Valley (UT-RGV). It's the fifth consecutive year and eighth time overall Texas Tech has competed in the national championship.

Chess Team

“This was the strongest, and at the same time the most competitive, chess Final Four ever,” said Alex Onischuk, chess coach and program director. “Any of the four teams could have won the event. We were seeded fourth by rating before the tournament. We lost to Webster in round one with the minimum margin of 1.5 to 2.5. In round two, we beat a very strong team, Saint Louis University, by the same score.

“Going into the last round, our team needed to win big against our rivals at UT-RGV to win the title, but our opponents played better and we lost 1 to 3. It was a well-deserved victory for UT-RGV.”

Texas Tech finished the tournament with 5 total points, beating Saint Louis University's fourth-place finish of 4.5 points. UT-RGV took the crown with 7.5 total points. Webster University finished in second place with 7 points, ending their five-year streak as champions of the tournament.

Four Knight Raiders collected points in the competition. International Grandmasters Pavlo Vorontsov, a computer science major from Kyiv, Ukraine, and Sergey Matsenko, a graduate interdisciplinary studies student from Chelyabinsk, Russia, each finished with 1.5 points.


International Grandmaster Andrii Baryshpolets, a doctoral economics student from Kyiv, Ukraine, and International Master Jack Shtembuliak, a finance major from Odessa, Ukraine, each finished with 1 point. International Master Luis Torres, a mechanical engineering major from Cuidad del Carmen, Mexico, attended the tournament as an alternate.

The chess program was established within the Division of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in 2007 and has since earned more than 10 national titles. The Knight Raiders finished second in 2017, third in 2010 and 2014-2016, and won back-to-back national titles in 2011 and 2012. The university was named Chess College of the Year in 2014.

Onischuk will be inducted into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame on April 17. He 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 chess program, visit the website.

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