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SLU Chess Team 2021 FIDE World University Rapid Champions

Saint Louis University's chess team clinched the International Chess Federation's (FIDE) 2021 World University Rapid Cup Championship over the University of Missouri team following a weekend tournament.

View the FIDE World University Team Online Rapid Cup match-up between Saint Louis University and the University of Missouri (Mizzou).

SLU's World Champion team was composed of:

Due to COVID-19, the event was played virtually. The championship, which attracted more than 1,300 students representing more than 200 universities from 84 countries, was organized by FIDE and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Qualifiers were held on the Tornelo tournament platform and the finals were played on internet chess server Chess24.  The event was played in two formats: rapid and blitz (different events played in different time controls).

"In both formats, the rapid and the blitz, and after a two-week qualification period and a subsequent knock-out tournament, the finals were University of Missouri vs. Saint Louis University," said Saint Louis University Chess Team Coach Alejandro Ramirez." Despite barely losing in the tiebreak match for the Blitz World Cup, SLU managed to take their revenge in the Rapid World Cup, and crowned themselves as the 2021 FIDE World University Cup Rapid Champions. " 

Match Results

Professional chess is played in all three formats (rapid, blitz and classical) but rapid and blitz are the prevailing formats in University events, Ramirez said.
The matches were played on duels of 4v4, he said. The blitz semifinals and finals had four duels each of 4v4 and the rapid two duels each of 4v4. Teams got a full point for a duel victory, zero for a loss, and the teams split the point for a 2-2 result.

The match results were:
Blitz Semifinals
SLU 2.5-1.5 UTRGV
Mizzou 3-1 Armenian State Institute of Physics
Blitz Finals
Mizzou 2.0-2.0 SLU (Mizzou won the tiebreaker duel 2.5-1.5)
Rapid Semifinals
SLU 1.5-0.5 UTRGV
Mizzou 1.5-0.5 Shanghai University of Finance and Economics
Rapid Finals
SLU 1.5-0.5 Mizzou



Ramirez broke down the weekend's events, saying that:

  • Nikolas Theodorou's victory over Mizzou's GM Grigoriy Oparin (World #93) paved the way for the final 2.5-1.5 match result.
  • Benjamin Bok went undefeated in the finals and semifinals, with a crucial win in the first round of the finals against GM Mikhail Antipov (World #201).
  • Stavroula Tsolakidou showed incredible resilience in her last game against GM Christopher Repka to give the team its victory margin.
  • Cemil Can Ali Marandi was instrumental to the team's victory, scoring 3.0/4 in the final rapid day (1.5/2 vs. UTRGV and 1.5/2 vs. Mizzou).
  • Robby Kevlishvili and Akshat Chandra's performance in the qualifiers put the team in a great position, each scoring a massive 10 points out of 12 possible to secure SLU's spot in the top four.
  • Gabriela Antova also had a great result in the qualifiers with 8.0/12.

What's Next?

The upcoming Final Four of Collegiate Chess (the USA National Championships) will be held in rapid format this weekend. SLU will face off against Webster, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Texas Tech for that title.

About SLU Chess

Since its founding in 2016, SLU’s chess team has become a nationally known team, and it is considered one of the most competitive collegiate chess teams in the country. 

Learn More About SLU's Chess Team