Final Four Chess Championship features game-changing new rule



The President’s Cup has a twist this year. For the first time in its history, there could be more than one team crowned national champion of college chess.

Webster’s assistant coach Paul Truong said he did not care for a new rule which allows for the possibility of two or more teams to place in first should there be a tie. He said he could accept the new rule if there happened to be a tie but that he was not in favor of it in terms of competition.

“You’re not trying to be a co-champion,” Truong said.

Grandmaster Ray Robson has won five straight national championships with Webster. This year the Webster senior, who is also the highest ranked player on Webster’s team, said he is more anxious this year than ever before since it is his last final four.

“If [I] lose a game, that really puts pressure on the rest of my teammates,” Robson said.

Robson said he was not too worried about losing this year’s championship because of the team’s history of victories.

“I have confidence in our team, obviously we are still the favorites but we have won in the past even when we weren’t supposedly our strongest team, we’ve still always been able to win,” Robson said. “That does definitely give me confidence that we can win again.”

The Susan Polgar Institute of Chess Excellence (SPICE) has won every national championship since 2011. The first two were with Texas Tech University and the last five with Webster.

Webster’s order of lineup will start with Vasif Durarbayli, Aleksander Shimanov, Ray Robson, Peter Prohaszka, Illia Nyzhnyk and Jorge Cori.

The first match will begin tomorrow at 10 a.m. ET (9 a.m. CST), the second match will start at 5 p.m. ET (4 p.m. CST) and the final match will start at 9 a.m. ET (8 a.m. CST) on Sunday.


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