Friday, January 5, 2018
  Student Life

By Maria Elena Hernandez

 PHOTO GALLERY by Veronica Gaona
Password: chess (case sensitive)

EDINBURG, TEXAS – The UTRGV Chess Team ended 2017 on a high note, qualifying once again for the President's Cup, the Final Four of College Chess.

“I am very proud of this team and excited for them,” said Dr. Douglas Stoves, the UTRGV associate dean for student rights and responsibilities. “They work very hard and always give 100 percent when they compete, so it was great to be there as they earned their final four berth. I am thrilled with their accomplishments.”

Universities advance to the national championship competition by ranking as one of the top four schools at the Pan-Am Intercollegiate Chess Championship. That competition was held on the last weekend in December in Columbus, Ohio.

This is not the first time the UTRGV Chess Team has reached the national Final Four.

In 2016, the team finished in second place, just one point behind Webster University.

The U.S. Chess Federation reports that 58 teams participated in the 2017 tournament. The more than 200 players included 15 grandmasters and 29 international masters. Players earn the titles based on skill levels, with  Grandmaster the highest awarded. UTRGV’s Team A is made up of grandmasters, and all Team B members are international masters. 

UTRGV’s Team A

  • Kamil Dragun, grandmaster.
  • Andry Stukopin, grandmaster.
  • Vladimir Belous, grandmaster.
  • Carlos Hevia Alejano, grandmaster.

UTRGV’s Team B

  • Guillermo Vazquez, international master.
  • Felix Ynojosa Aponte, international master.
  • Joshua D. Ruiz, international master.
  • Yannick Kambrath, FIDE master.

At the Pan-Am Intercollegiate competition, Team A finished in fourth place, with Team B in seventh.

The other three schools advancing to the Final Four are Webster University, St. Louis University and Texas Tech University.

VIDEO Final Award Ceremony, Pan American Chess Championship
(Go to 15:00 to jump ahead to the Final Four announcements)


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.