On the Road Again

UTRGV student and Grandmaster Carlos Hevia of Cuba

In this archive photo, UTRGV student and Grandmaster Carlos Hevia of Cuba is shown studying the chessboard, and his options, on the final day of the International Chess Tournament held in mid-January on the Brownsville Campus. (UTRGV Photo by David Pike)

UTRGV Chess Team headed to New Orleans, eager to compete in Pan American Intercollegiate Chess Championship

By Cheryl Taylor

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – DEC. 21, 2016 – The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Chess Team will participate in the 2016 Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championships, Tuesday, Dec. 27 through Friday, Dec. 30, in Kenner, La., a suburb of New Orleans.

This championship tournament is a six-round, four-person team event open to any university, college, technical college, or community college from North and South America and the Caribbean.

The UTRGV Chess Program will send two teams, each with four players. These top eight players include four Grandmasters and four International Masters.

“The players are always practicing, and they are feeling confident about the tournament,” said Grandmaster and UTRGV Coach Bartek Macieja. “The goal is for the team to place in the top four, in order to qualify to compete in the President’s Cup.”

The President’s Cup, called the “Final Four of College Chess,” is a four-team round robin event that determines the college team chess champion. The President’s Cup for 2017 is scheduled for March 24-26, at the Marshall Chess Club in New York City.

In December 2015, the UTRGV team placed second, after Texas Tech – and ahead of powerhouse teams from Webster University and Columbia University – in the Pan American, to qualify for the Presidents’ Cup. The team returned from that tournament in New York City with the second place trophy.

Participating in the Pan American will be:


  • Anton Kovalyov, Grandmaster, senior computer science major, from Montreal, Canada.
  • Andrey Stukopin, Grandmaster, junior physics major, from Rostov, Russia.
  • Carlos Hevia, Grandmaster, freshman computer science major, from Havana, Cuba.
  • Vladimir Belous, Grandmaster, freshman finance major, from Znamianka, Ukraine.


  • Felix Ynojosa, International Master, sophomore finance major, from Barinas, Venezuela.
  • Guillermo Vazquez, International Master, sophomore computer science/physics major, from Asunción, Paraguay.
  • Joshua Ruiz, International Master, freshman computer science major, from Bogotá, Colombia.
  • Yannick Kambrath, International Master, freshman computer engineering major, from Paris, France.

An update with the UTRGV Chess Team’s standing in the Pan American tournament will be posted on the UTRGV website the evening of Friday, Dec. 30.

For more information about the UTRGV Chess Team, contact Dr. Douglas Stoves at (956) 882-5140 or douglas.stoves@utrgv.edu.


The Chess Club, a UTRGV student organization, also will participate in the Pan American Intercollegiate Chess Championship.

The club will send four teams of four each, with players teamed to compete in their respective divisions, determined by the players’ U.S. Chess Federation ratings.

“Club players must meet grade point average requirements. Also, we are a student organization, so we are responsible for the bulk of the funds to travel to this tournament,” said David Ortiz, Chess Club president.

Ortiz said the group is looking forward to the journey and the tournament – the Pan American being the most competitive event yet to be experienced by the majority of the players.

For more information about the Chess Club at UTRGV, contact David Ortiz at david.ortiz02@utrgv.edu.


UTRGV Senior Writer / 956-882-8787

UTRGV Director of News and Internal Communications / 956-665-2742