News, University News

U. chess team brings home second Ivy League Championship

Ivy Championship hosted at Columbia, features teams from Yale, Penn, Columbia

By
Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Members of the championship team are selected from the Brown Chess Club and are chosen based on their United States Chess Federation ratings.

Last month the Brown University Chess Team won the Inter-Ivy League Chess Championship for the second year in a row. The tournament, which was held at Columbia, featured teams from Yale, Columbia and Penn. “We were well-practiced and confident in our abilities,” said Ariel Shusterman ’18, a member of the team, noting that the team tends to place first or second at the event every year.

Another player, Matthew Owen ’18 said he felt that the team’s second win at the tournament confirmed its hard work over the course of the season, adding that  “it just feels good to be able to win.”

The chess team consists of select members from the Brown Chess Club, who are chosen based on their United States Chess Federation ratings, Shusterman said.

“The guys who are on the team, before they get here, are already strong players. These guys have played at nationals,” said Jorge Sammour-Hasbun, the team’s coach. Both Shusterman and Owen said they have played chess for 15 years, while their teammate Daniel Kostovetsky ’21 said he has been playing since the age of five.

The chess community at Brown tends to be self-forming, Owen said. “When people who are interested in playing chess competitively go to (the Student Activities Fair), they will usually seek (the club) out,” he said.

The most challenging part of playing competitive chess while in college is finding the time to practice, said Amador Delamerced ’18. “Chess requires a lot of preparation time as well as preparing tactics, studying endgame and playing in tournaments, which are at least a one-day commitment,” Shusterman added. While the team practices every week, players also compete in local tournaments to challenge themselves.

Given the group’s collaborative nature, there is no captain for the chess team, Shusterman said. But the team’s seniors help organize events for the rest of the members, Owen added.

Members of the chess team enjoy spending time competing against and practicing with each other, Kostovetsky said. Even after the tournament, team members still want to continue playing chess. “I want to … keep having fun and keep using my brain,” Kostovetsky said.

“Chess is a lifelong sport, I’ll be playing this when I’m very old — like 80. … I just want to keep improving throughout my life,” Owen said.

By playing chess at Brown and being a member of the chess team, Delamerced said he felt like he found a second family for himself. “I really love the community here — I just want to spend our last semester enjoying our time together.”

After winning the Inter-Ivy League Championship, Delamerced added that the moment for senior members of the team was a “great way to cap off (their) experience with chess at Brown.”