Monday, February 20, 2012

SPICE - Knight Raiders win SW Collegiate Championship

L to R: GM Elshan Moradiabadi, GM Denes Boros, IM-elect Faik Aleskerov, GM Andre Diamant, IM Vitaly Neimer, GM Anatoly Bykhovsky at Dallas Love Airport

Final game: Moradiabadi - Boros

No fears, no tears, and no excuses!
On site reporter
February 19, 2012

High fever, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, teary eyes, and sometimes hallucination, none of this could stop the SPICE warriors from intense battles and giving 150% of everything they had in Dallas at the SW Collegiate Championship.

Led by Grandmaster Anatoly Bykhovsky, a (finance major) sophomore and co-captain of the Knight Raiders, the team captured its first ever SW Collegiate Team Championship title. As a freshman last year, he occupied board 1 and helped the Knight Raiders capture its first ever Final Four Championship, ending the dominance of UTD and UMBC.

But he could not do it alone without the heroic effort of his teammates. Just prior to heading to the airport for Dallas, two members of the Knight Raiders, Grandmasters Denes Boros and Andre Diamant were in emergency care. They almost did not make the trip but at the end, they did not want to let their teammates and university down and decided to suit up for the tough event, the strongest ever with 7 GMs, 6 IMs, and 2 WGMs. Competing against top level competition is hard enough. But to do it with this severe handicap made it even tougher.

L to R: Arbiter Sneed, GM Boros, GM Moradiabadi, IM Aleskerov, GM Bykhovsky, IM Neimer

Things did not get better after the team got to the hotel. Two other team members, Grandmaster Elshan Moradiabadi and International Master elect Faik Aleskerov, started to physically feel bad as well. That brought the team down to just two healthy players out of six, Bykhovsky and International Master Vitaly Neimer!

But they did not give in to their illness and less than perfect physical condition. No fears, no tears, and no excuses! They fought hard each round to win as a team. Facing the toughest schedule, Bykhovsky scored 2 wins and 3 draws to earn 2nd place on tiebreaks for individual honor, while Moradiabadi finished 3rd, Diamant 4th, and Boros 7th, on tiebreaks, all with identical scores. In fact, none of the grandmasters suffered defeat, while scoring an outstanding +8 to help the team win first place.

Congratulations to the SPICE warriors! They will be missed at Texas Tech and we all wish them the best of luck next year at Webster University.

At Lubbock Airport

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