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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media


While it may be unknown, UMass Boston has a chess club and it is pretty darn good this year. Dan Korsunsky, president of the chess club here at UMass, sat down with me on Friday so that we could all get a better glimpse of the team.

Started three semesters ago, the club has held tournaments all over the UMass campus, including several at the student-run Wit’s End Cafe. Most recently the team played in the Eastern Class Tournament in Sturbridge, MA, coming out on top and taking home the championship trophy, now on display at the Office of Student Life on the third floor of the Campus Center.

Each team sends players to the tournament and for every win the player gains one point and for every draw he or she gains half a point. At the end of the tournament the top four players from each team have their points added up and the team with the greatest number of points wins.

Tournaments are composed of a mixture of clubs and teams from both high schools and colleges. The United States Chess Federation (USCF) is the organization responsible for networking and hosting events. Collegiate tournaments are also played and while the UMass team has not participated in any such competitions thus far, Korsunsky sees the UMass chess club playing some in the future.

The composure of the team fluctuates as the program continues to develop throughout the semesters and at this point there is no membership fee. Anyone interested in playing competitively can join the team for free and participate in upcoming tournaments.

The team is soon heading to Foxwoods Casino and Resort, the world’s largest casino, for the Sixth Annual Foxwoods Open. The tournament itself is a U.S. Championship Qualifier and the players compete for cash prizes. The tournament is split into three sections according to how many days a teammate will be playing. The UMass team has players that will be playing on the four-day split, April 8-11, and the three-day split, April 9-11, spending two nights at the Foxwoods Hotel. The entry fee is a whopping $227 if paid online, plus transportation and hotel fees, but thankfully the trip is being subsidized by the Student Senate and will only cost players $70.

With a total pot of $100,000 in cash prizes for the winners of the competition, players have the chance to take home prizes that range from $10,000 to $300, if you’re a “grand master” or “master.” The team has spaces for up to ten players on this trip to Foxwoods where 650 players of all ages from all over the country will be competing. UMass will not have any “grand masters” or “masters” at the competition. They will, however, have players competing in the Under 2200 Section (10 prizes from $5,000-300), the Under 1600 Section (10 prizes from $4,000-$300), the Under 1400 Section (10 prizes from $3,000-$300), the Under 1200 Section (10 prizes from $2,000-$300), and players in the Unrated Section (5 prizes from $1000-$200).

When asked how the team was going to fare over the weekend, Korsunsky stated, “I think we’re gonna kick some ass. We have a strong team.”

The tournament will give the team a chance to showcase the UMass chess team to high school students who will be playing and may be interested in attending UMass Boston and continue playing chess on a team.

The team will continue playing in tournaments after Foxwoods and players at UMass are encouraged to contact Dan Korsunsky at [email protected] if they want to join the team.