Check Mates

The players on UMBC’s chess team are board-certified masters.

By Amy Mulvihill - April 2015

UMBC Competes in Final Four of College Chess

The players on UMBC’s chess team are board-certified masters.

By Amy Mulvihill - April 2015

-Photography by Mike Morgan

There are a number of successful Athletic programs at University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), but none can compare to the school's most successful squad—its chess team.

In play in some capacity since the university's founding in 1966, the team blossomed in the mid-'90s and has since racked up more national championships than any other collegiate chess team. And, by the time you read this, they may have added another win to their record by competing in the "final four of college chess" at the President's Cup in New York City the last weekend in March.

Repping the Retrievers at the competition will be junior and captain Niclas Huschenbeth, freshman Tanguy Ringoir, second-year grad student Akshayraj Kore, and junior Levan Bregadze—all of whom are either international grandmasters or international masters and are at UMBC on chess scholarships.

Also traveling to New York as an alternate is junior Nazi Paikidze, who is an international master and ranked sixth in the nation among female players. "Anyone who thinks women cannot play chess should play her," notes the program's director Alan T. Sherman. (Historically, competitive chess has been a male-dominated field.)

The team will square off against frequent rivals University of Texas at Dallas, Webster University, and Texas Tech University, but the fearsome fivesome are excited, not daunted.

"This is the crème de la crème, the absolute best four teams," says Huschenbeth, a German native who is studying psychology and uses the handle "Dark Knight" during games. "This year, literally everybody can beat everybody."

Win or lose, there is still fun to be had. "I'm excited to visit New York," says Ringoir, a financial economics major from Belgium who plays under the name "Belgium Butcher." "I love traveling, and playing in the New York Athletic Club across from Central Park sounds great."

You May Also Like

Travel & Outdoors

Crazy Train

Is the proposed 300-mile-per-hour maglev train Baltimore’s future? Or fantasy?

Food & Drink

Cameo: Nancy Cohen

We talk to the owner of Eddie’s of Roland Park

The Chatter

The Book Thing Starts Next Chapter Under New Management

Here’s what to know when planning a visit to Baltimore’s free-to-all bookshop.

The Chatter

Pimlico Renovations Will Impact More Than Just Preakness

Agreement between city and track officials aims to revitalize Park Heights as a whole.

The Chatter

Hogan Says He Supports Trump Impeachment Inquiry

Maryland Governor joins small but increasing number of Republicans distancing themselves from the president.

News & Community

Next Man Up

A local nonprofit celebrates ten years of providing for local student athletes.

-Photography by Mike Morgan

Connect With Us

Most Read

A New Production of 'The Phantom of the Opera' Is Headed to the Hippodrome: Go behind the mask with the tour's Phantom, Derrick Davis.

What the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s One-Year Agreement Means For its Musicians: After a tension-filled absence, the BSO’s 104th season will open this weekend.

New City Council Bill Could Ban Plastic Bag Use Across Baltimore: A vote next week could set in motion a bill that reaches the mayor’s desk.

The Book Thing Starts Next Chapter Under New Management: Here’s what to know when planning a visit to Baltimore’s free-to-all bookshop.

History of Baltimore's Bygone Synagogues Captured in New Plein Air Art Exhibit: Collection of oil paintings on view at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation through October 28.