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SLU Wins Collegiate Chess League Fall Title

by Joe Barker on 11/21/2023


The Saint Louis University Chess team are once again champions.

The Billiken squad finished the 2023 Collegiate Chess League (CCL) fall season with a dominant win. In the finals on Sunday, Nov. 19, SLU topped the University of Texas at Dallas 11.5-4.5.

A chess board at SLU.

Photo by Sarah Conroy.

The win means the Billikens claimed both the spring and fall CCL titles. Head coach Varuzhan Akobian was pleased with the big win that clinched back-to-back CCL titles.

“This is a big success for us,” he said. 

The SLU squad was made up of Benjamin Bok, Batsuren Dambasuren, Robby Kevlishvili and Nikolaos Theodorou. Bok picked up 3.5 out of 4 points in the final, and named him the tournament’s MVP.

The CCL fall season began at the end of September. Every week chess players from universities across the country participated in the online chess tournament. 

SLU made the finals after knocking off Columbia University 12.5-3.5 in the quarterfinals on Saturday, Nov. 11. In the semifinals on Saturday, Nov. 18, the Billikens beat the University of Missouri 10.0-6.0 to punch their ticket to the finals. The Mizzou squad eventually rebounded to take third place. 

With a day of rest, the Billikens were back in action on Nov. 19 for the championship final. The final was broken up into four rounds, with SLU dominating each one. The Billikens opened with a 3.5-0.5 edge thanks to quick wins from Bok and Theodorou. SLU never looked back and had victory clinched by the time round four began.