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UMBC Chess Team places disappointing fourth in national tournament

Results of national Final Four were hotly anticipated but did not live up to expectations, to the team’s disappointment. However, scores were close, and as fourth in the nation the UMBC team continues to impress.

Despite promising prospects, UMBCs Chess Team has come away from the President’s Cup with a fourth-place finish.

The President’s Cup, sometimes known as the Final Four of chess, is the highest level of competition in college chess. The winner earns the title of best college chess team in the nation. This year, the tournament took place at the New York Athletic Club on the weekend of March 27, where UMBC players competed against Webster University, the University of Texas at Dallas and Texas Tech University.

The team has had an excellent record in the past. As the Retriever reported previously, UMBC has collected six first-place finishes in the past 14 years. As the team’s business manager Joel DeWyer said, “In 2013, we finished third. In 2014, we finished second. We are hopeful to build upon this trend and cap it off this year with the national title.”

“It doesn’t get any bigger than that in our sport at the college level,” said DeWyer. “I think we have good chances this year to win a national championship.”

Unfortunately, the results did not live up to DeWyer’s optimism. The UMBC team finished with four points. A win counts for one point, a draw for half a point and a loss for zero points. UMBC had three wins and two draws.

However, those familiar with the sport suggest that this fourth-place finish is not crushing. “In a tough field such as this one, you’ll always need a bit of luck on your side, along with some solid play.” He continued, “This year, we see the addition of the University of Texas, Dallas, a perennially strong team.”

Grandmaster Niclas Huschenbeth, a junior psychology major and one of five players who participated in the Cup, echoed this sentiment. “We didn’t play good enough, it’s as simple as that.”

He continued, “I want to point out that another win in one of the games in the last round which could have been possible would have put us in second place. So, the difference between fourth and second was much smaller than it might appear.”

At the end of the day, no matter how close it was, Huschenbeth was disappointed with the team’s showing. “We got last place, so of course we were not pleased,” he said.

Despite not finishing as well as they’d hoped, the team still managed to finish fourth in the nation. With luck and with training, the team could redeem itself next year.