BROWNSVILLE, RGV – The UT-Rio Grande Valley chess team pulled off a stunning win over five-year reigning national champions Webster University, of St. Louis, Missouri, in the annual President’s Cup.

Webster University was fulsome in its praise of UTRGV as a story in the university’s student newspaper, The Journal, shows. Click here to read the story.

The President’s Cup is the Final Four of College Chess competition. The Final Four event, featuring St. Louis University, Webster University, Texas Tech and UTRGV, was held March 31-April 1 at the Marshall Chess Club in New York City.

World Chess Federation arbiter Mike Hoffpauir said the tournament was “the strongest Final Four in the history of this tournament.”

The UTRGV Chess Team comprised Vladimir Belous, Kamil Dragun, Andrey Stukopin, Carlos Antonio Hevia Alejano, and Hovhannes Gabuzyan.

The Final Four is decided on game points, so each win or draw contributes to the team’s overall score for the tournament. UTRGV scored 7.5 to Webster’s 7.0.

UTRGV’s victory follows on the success of its legacy institution, UT-Brownsville, which spurred interest in chess in Brownsville.

UTRGV President Guy Bailey congratulated the Vaqueros team.

“We are extremely proud of our chess team and admire the hard work and effort they put into every competition,” Bailey said. “Winning the President’s Cup is indeed a great honor for our chess team, for UTRGV and for the Rio Grande Valley. We congratulate them on their win.”

The victory is the Vaqueros’ first national championship.

“We have been chasing this goal since the program began at UTRGV,” said UTRGV Coach Grandmaster Bartek Macieja. “The team stayed strong and kept fighting, and I am very proud of them.”

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above story shows Bartek Macieja displaying the President’s Cup trophy.