Wednesday, March 3, 2021
  Awards and Recognitions

By Victoria Brito

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – Victors once again, the UTRGV Chess Team adds the international Kasparov Chess Foundation University Cup to its list of triumphs.

The KCF University Cup, held in February this year, is an international online event open to teams from post-secondary schools.

More than 500 students on 125 teams from 24 countries participated virtually, using the online chess platform lichess. The two-day tournament consisted of nine rounds with rapid time control. 

UTRGV Chess Coash Bartek Macieja said this was an unofficial world championship, but a good indication of the strength of the UTRGV team.

“We are feeling good,” he said of the win. “There were teams from all over the world, from all continents, so winning that event means a lot and is a recognition of our successes.”

UTRGV’s Team A came in first overall, while Team B placed 18th, procuring both teams in the top 15 percent of the competition.

Legendary world chess champion and grandmaster Garry Kasparov's Tweet
Legendary world chess champion and grandmaster Garry Kasparov, from Russia, congratulated the UTRGV winning chess team via Twitter in February. (Kasparov63. (2021, Feb. 8). Congrats @UTRGVChessTeam. Don't mess with Texas! [TWEET].

Representing UTRGV Team A were:

  • Vladimir Fedoseev, grandmaster from Russia.
  • Sanan Syugirov, grandmaster from Russia.
  • Mateusz Bartel, grandmaster from Poland.
  • Ildar Khayrullin, grandmaster from Russia.
  • Irakli Beradze, international master from Georgia.


The first-place team not only takes the KCF University Cup, but also earns an exclusive online team training session with legendary world chess champion and grandmaster Garry Kasparov, from Russia.

Upon hearing of UTRGV’s win in this tournament, Kasparov congratulated the team via Twitter.

Congrats,” Kasparov tweeted. “Don’t mess with Texas!”

“Garry Kasparov is the best player of all time,” Macieja said. “So, spending even 15 minutes or half an hour with him, that is amazing, that is what every chess player dreams of.”

The training session is expected to take place virtually later this month.

Next, the UTRGV Chess Team will co-organize the first FIDE World University Online Chess Championship in March.

Then, in April, the team will compete for the President’s Cup, known as the Final Four of U.S. collegiate chess.


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.