Dallas, Texas (PressExposure) March 07, 2011 -- Taking place March 12-19, the UT Dallas Grandmaster Invitational, underwritten by Turner Construction, marks the first time a chess tournament of this level of difficulty will be hosted by the University. Opening ceremonies take place Sat., March 12 at 4:30 p.m., with tournament play beginning immediately after at the Hyatt Regency North Dallas hotel.
Six of the highest-ranked World Chess Federation (FIDE) Grandmasters (GMs) will compete against six of UT Dallas' chess team members, two of whom are already ranked GM's. As one of the highest nationally ranked collegiate chess teams, the UT Dallas chess program is becoming one of the most sought-after chess programs in the country.
"We are pleased to partner with Turner Construction to host an event of this magnitude," said Jim Stallings, Chess Program Director. "While our challengers are some of the most formidable opponents in the game, our UT Dallas team has the talent and experience to bring a new level of competition to this invitational. We are excited to see the intensity of strategy and execution that will come from both teams."
Alejandro Ramirez, a graduate student studying arts and technology, and Cristian Chirila, an international political economy freshman, are UT Dallas' top ranked players and GMs playing in the invitational. The University's International Masters, Marko Zivanic, Julio Sadorra, Salvijus Bercys and Puchen Wang, are all using the tournament as an opportunity to move closer to GM status by achieving a "norm," a requirement to receive a FIDE title, from this tournament.
The visiting Grandmasters are Alex Shabalov (USA), Valentin Iotov (Bulgaria), Julio Becerra (USA), Dejan Bojkov (Bulgaria), Magesh Panchanathan (India) and Ray Robson (USA).
In addition to being one of the most difficult tournaments to hit North Texas, this competition also marks the first time the Scheveningen system of play will be used in a UT Dallas tournament. Rarely seen in the U.S., it allows each player on one team to play each player on the opposing team. Playing against all Grandmasters makes achieving norms, which are needed to reach a GM rating, easier. One qualification a player needs to become a GM is to earn at least three norms in tournaments involving Grandmasters and players from other countries.
The Grandmaster Invitational also marks the first spring chess tournament underwritten by Turner Construction, which has led the construction of several UT Dallas buildings and facilities. Turner partnered with Corgan, Walker Engineering and Masters & Associates to provide funding for the event. "We're so proud to sponsor such a significant event that continues to spotlight UT Dallas as it moves toward Tier One status, and bring a new level of recognition to their exemplary chess program," said Glenn Anderson, executive director of Turner Construction Company. "We've been watching UT Dallas grow into a chess powerhouse for a while now, and are pleased that this invitational gives the University - and its students - a chance to shine."
After completing this invitational, UT Dallas will be poised to compete in the Final Four of Chess, where they will face the very best U.S. college teams for the President's Cup April 1-3 in Washington, D.C.. The UT Dallas Chess Program has taken home first place in the National Collegiate Chess Championship three out of the last four years. After a sweeping victory in December's Pan-American Intercollegiate Championship in Milwaukee, UT Dallas ranks first above The University of Maryland, Baltimore, The University of Texas Brownsville and Texas Tech University.
To see a full schedule of events for the week of the Grandmaster Invitational, please visit http://www.utdallas.edu/chess/springgm.