Chess Team Brings Home Silver & Gold Medals
Mizzou’s Chess Team won gold and silver at the 2019 World Prestigious University Chess invitational in Tianjin, China. The tournament was organized by the Nankai University in honor of the institution’s 100th anniversary.
Grigory Oparin, a graduate student in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, scored 10.5 out of 11, allowing only one draw, which earned Oparin the title of “Best Tournament Performer” and the individual gold medal for the first board, the most competitive board in the tournament.
First, a little explanation for the uninitiated: In a team competition, each team lines up three players on three boards, and there are three games going on during each match. Generally, the highest-rated player plays on the first board, the second highest on the second board, etc. If a team were to win on the first two boards and lose on the last board, that team would win the match with a 2–1 score.
Twelve teams from all over the world gathered to compete in the 11-match, round-robin tournament. The five teams representing the United States were from Mizzou, Saint Louis University, Harvard, Yale, and Princeton.
Members of the Mizzou Chess Team on China's Great Wall: Dmitry Gordievsky, Cristian Chirila, and Christopher Repka.
The MU team tied with the host, Nankai University. The tie breaks favored the latter, and Mizzou finished as the runner-up, taking home the team silver medal.
The format of the event was unique in that three players, a captain, and a coach traveled with each university’s delegation. The teams were composed of three individual boards, and two of Mizzou’s Chess Team members took individual gold medals on their respective boards.
Dmitry Gordievsky, a pre-engineering undergraduate freshman, scored 10 victories and one loss. This dominant showing secured the gold medal on the second board and helped the team fight for the top position until the last moments.
While the student-players are currently focused on finals, the team will reunite at the end of the week to begin preparation for the Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Championship, which will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina, Dec. 27–30. This will be Mizzou’s first participation at the Pan-Americans, and the team looks forward to competing against the best teams in the world!