Chess Team Heads to National Championship

Jan. 4, 2016

Chess Team Heads to National Championship
Webster is only the second school in the history of the PanAm to take first place in four consecutive years.

ST. LOUIS – For the fourth consecutive year, Webster University’s chess team has qualified for the Final Four national chess championship tournament in April. Webster’s team earned the honor when it tied for first place in the annual PanAm Intercollegiate Chess Championship last week.

Webster University is only the second school in the history of the PanAm tournament to take first place for four consecutive years.

“It was a grueling tournament, but our players were focused on their games and ended up on top,” said Susan Polgar, coach of Webster’s team. “The team is now training for the Final Four national championship as we will defend our title as the number one ranked team in the country.”

The PanAm tournament was held Dec. 27 - 30 in Cleveland, Ohio. Forty-two teams from across the United States and Canada competed. Webster’s team played nearly 30 hours through six rounds of chess. When the tournament ended, Webster earned:

  • PanAm Intercollegiate Division I Co-Champions. This is the fourth consecutive year Webster has earned first place.
  • PanAm Intercollegiate Division I Women's Champions. This is the first time Webster University entered an all-women’s team. That team also tied for seventh place in the overall competition.
  • PanAm Intercollegiate Board 1 Champion. This is the second time that Webster student and chess Grand Master Manuel Leon Hoyos earned this individual honor.
  • PanAm Intercollegiate Board 4 Champion. This is the third year that Webster student and chess Grand Master Ray Robson earned this individual honor.

These weren’t the only new titles earned by members of the team in the past week. The day before the competition started, Vasif Durarabayli captured the Ohio State Rapid Championship title while Illia Nyzhnyk captured the Ohio State Blitz Championship title. Both are chess grand masters.

The Final Four tournament – also known as the President’s Cup - will be held April 2 and 3 in New York City. Webster University will compete against Columbia University, Texas Tech, and University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Overall, Webster finished 2015 as the #1 ranked division I chess team in the nation. This is the fourth consecutive year the team has finished the year on top.

For more information about Webster University’s chess program, visit

With its home campus in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, Webster University ( comprises an action-oriented global network of faculty, staff, students and alumni who forge powerful bonds with each other and with their communities around the globe. Founded in 1915, Webster is a private non-profit university with almost 20,000 students studying at campus locations in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa and in a robust learning environment online. The university is committed to delivering high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.

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