Takes fourth spot at Pan-American team competition

  Monday, January 8, 2024
  Community, Academics, Student Life, Recognitions

By Victoria Brito Morales

UPDATE (1/9/24): Due to updates, the article has been corrected to reflect the announcement released for the Final Four qualifying chess teams. 

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – On to the Final Four, once again! 

The multiple national champion UTRGV Chess Team again has advanced to the national championship of collegiate chess, the Final Four, also known as the President’s Cup. 

The Pan-American Chess Championships – the national qualifier for the Final Four – have been held since 1946.

Since 2009, UTRGV and legacy institution UT Brownsville have had eight successful showings at the Pan-American resulting in qualifying for the national title. Of those victories, the UTRGV Chess Team has three consecutive wins at the national championship of collegiate chess, the Final Four, in 2018, 2019 and 2021. 

This is UTRGV’s ninth time advancing to the Final Four. 

This past weekend, Jan. 4-7, the Pan-American Team Championships was held in the Rio Grande Valley for the first time since 2009. Held at the McAllen Convention Center, the event hosted dozens of collegiate chess teams from across the United States, all vying for a coveted spot in the Final Four.  

UTRGV was represented by nine teams, A, B, C and D were students who make up the UTRGV Chess Team, while teams E - I represented UTRGV Club Chess. The UTRGV Team A earned the fourth spot at the Final Four competition. 

 The Final Four qualifying teams are:

  • University of Missouri.
  • University of Texas at Dallas.
  • Webster University.
  • UTRGV.

Douglas Stoves, associate dean of Students for Student Rights and Responsibilities, oversees the UTRGV Chess Program. He said this weekend’s competition was an exciting show of skills from members of the UTRGV Chess Team. 

“Our teams fought until the very end,” Stoves said. “With 81 teams competing, it was a great accomplishment to be in the top four. And we qualified for the President’s Cup again! My thanks to members of our UTRGV Chess Team, and to Chess Coach Bartek Macieja.”

Macieja said this year showcases some of the strongest opponents the Pan-Americans have had.

It makes me feel even more proud of our students and their achievement knowing how tough the competition was,” Macieja said. They were focused on the event, and they fought hard from the beginning. Now, we will start preparations for the Final Four.”

 Team members taking UTRGV to the national President’s Cup championship are:

  • GM Viktor Gazik, junior economics major from Bojnice, Slovakia.
  • IM Gleb Dudin, freshman psychology major from Moscow.
  • IM Irakli Beradze, computer science graduate student from Tbilisi, Georgia.
  • IM Shawn Rodrigue-Lemieux, sophomore biomedical sciences major from Montreal.

The Final Four dates and location will be announced soon. The winner will be the National Collegiate Chess Champion of 2024. 


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.