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SLU Chess Wins Third Consecutive Collegiate Chess League Title

by Joe Barker on 03/28/2024


For the third straight season, Saint Louis University’s chess team won the Collegiate Chess League (CCL) title. 

SLU beat Webster University in the title match on Sunday, March 24, to claim the 2024 spring title. The win continued the Billikens’ run of success in CCL action after SLU swept the 2023 season by winning both the spring and fall titles. 

A practice board in the chess team headquarters on the ground floor of Saint Louis University's Morrissey Hall. Photo by Sarah Conroy.

Photo by Sarah Conroy

The CCL is the premier online chess competition for college students. The spring season began in January. SLU cruised through the tournament and advanced to the semifinals.

In the semifinals, the Billikens faced off with the University of Missouri. SLU pulled off a narrow 9-7 win to make the finals. In the final round, SLU dominated. The team, comprised of  Nikolas Theodorou, Benjamin Bok, Robby Kevlishvili, and Dambasuren Batsuren, easily dispatched Webster 12.0-4.0 in the finals. 

“This was a very tough season, we defeated Mizzou in the semifinals, and then in the finals, we played absolutely brilliantly and defeated the very strong Webster team,” said Head coach Varuzhan Akobian. “We won our match against Webster with one round to spare.” 

Akobian said the victory was special because it was the last CCL action for two key members of the squad.

"We were very happy for our convincing victory — especially since Grandmasters Benjamin Bok and Nikolas Theodorous are graduating this May,” he said. “They have been absolutely tremendous and instrumental in helping SLU win many titles during their six years here at SLU."