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For Immediate Release

UTB Chess Team Brings Home Top Prize

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – NOV. 1, 2011 – The University of Texas at Brownsville Chess Team was the tournament winner of the 15th Annual Collegiate Chess Championships held in Houston on Saturday, Oct. 29 and Sunday, Oct. 30.

The UTB team placed first overall with 11.5 points, and the University of Texas at Dallas team placed second overall with 10 points.

“We were very pleased with the results of the tournament,” said UTB Chess Program Director Russell Harwood. “UT Dallas sent more titled players to Houston. That makes the outcome especially sweet; in regard to that team, we were the underdogs.”

Tying for individual first place, UTB team members Axel Bachmann and Timur Gareyev returned to Brownsville as individual co-champions scoring 4 points out of a possible 5, with Bachmann rising to the top on tie breaks.

Both team members are grand masters and international business majors. Bachmann is a junior from Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, and Gareyev is a senior from Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

“This tournament was important not only for the title but for the confidence of the team to prepare for the next tournament, which is the most important of the semester, the Pan Ams,” Bachmann said. “UT Dallas has been our biggest opponent over the last four years. We have been struggling a lot against them, and this weekend we showed we can really beat them.”

International Master Max Cornejo, a senior international business major from Lima, Peru, tied for third place with a score of 3.5 and placed fifth on tie breaks.

International Master Alfonso Almeida, an education technology graduate student from McAllen, tied for seventh place with a score of 2.5 and came home with tenth place on tie breaks.

Placing fourteenth in his second collegiate level tournament was Freshman business major Jeffrey Serna from Taos, N.M. Another first for Serna was playing a grand master for the first time.
“This was the hardest tournament I’ve experienced because I was up against so many strong players,” Serna said. “I’m learning a lot and improving my game here at UTB, and I hope I get to go with the team to Dallas for the Pan Ams.”

Serna learned about the UTB Chess Program from his high school chess coach, and he was able to meet with UTB players and Harwood while at tournaments over the summer. Serna said the scholarship offer to join the UTB team made coming to south Texas very attractive to him.

“With this tournament behind us, we will now focus on our studies,” Bachmann said. “Then after final exams in December we will train really hard for the 10 days leading up to the Pan Ams. We will concentrate on our main competition, UT Dallas, Texas Tech and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.”

The 2011 Pan American Intercollegiate Chess Championships will take place at the Dallas Fort Worth Airport Marriott South, December 27–30.

For more information on UTB Chess, contact Russell Harwood at 956-882-5761 or

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