4th Annual Spring Classics - New Champs
Matthew Kolcz | Joyce Morales

4th Annual Spring Classics - New Champs


We end our fourth tournament since the group's inception back in 2015 with an unprecedented finish.

For the past three years, the University of Central Florida held a slight lead in performance at each event, maintaining the "perpetual trophy" (Pictured middle) at their school.  In 2015, they beat the University of Florida's team 1 by a mere half-point, and again in 2016 the same result!

By 2017, the Spring Classics was becoming an established tournament.  The University students around the state of Florida got to compete as teams of four, and typically just after the Amateur Team South tournaments held in Orlando.  It was determined that UCF would be the host school as it was the center of Florida.

"Believe you can and you're halfway there." - Theodore Roosevelt

The Florida Institute of Technology was attempting to put down all this stops last year against UCF, bringing in very strong players on boards 1 and 2: WNM Shayesteh Taleghani (2297) and Justin Blackman (2174).  Unfortunately, the team aspect of the tournament hurt them the most when their boards 3 and 4 faltered. It was this difference that allowed UCF's A-team to win it all, finishing a full point ahead of FIT.




2018 was a different monster altogether.

Florida International University president Thomas Zerquera was determined. He wanted to win it. UCF's glory went on for far too long. So, he put together the strongest team average our Spring Classics has seen yet:
NM Yan Miellier (2241), CM Juan Pereira (2142), Nicolas Terradas (2067), himself (1925), and an alternate Anjali Manarang (provisional).


The team average did not lie, sitting at a modest 2093. Aside from two games in rounds 2 and 5 by their alternate (which was still great experience for her), FIU's main four boards went undefeated with a Team score of 5/5 and Individual score of 18/20. The bar was set by UCF the former year with 5/5 Team and 15.5/20 Individual.

"I Believe A Change in Decorations are in order!" - Albus Dumbledore
The "perpetual trophy" now has a new home in the land of the Panthers, FIU, Miami, Florida.


I was honored to have been given a few game submissions by the new champions, and I hope my analysis will do their games justice!


Round 3: An extremely important round, FIU v UCF1, both tied at 2 Team points.


 Round 5: When Class D player meets CM.


Round 2: Another case of "your opponent is about 1000 points above you."
However, Mullins did play much better than his rating for a good portion of the game. But one slip up and it was all over.


I have been the assistant tournament director since the inception of this group and it's co-founder along with Arnold Banner and Andrew Smith.  Jasper Zaporteza also had a large impact on the successes of the events, taking over as a host and Cheif TD. I want to thank all of them for their hard work, and I have learned a lot from them.


Congratulations to Thomas and his team for breaking UCF's winning streak, and thank you to all the members for your participation. Without you, none of this would be possible.


As a close, I want to say that College chess can thrive, quickly, with the right people.

All it takes is initiative, development, and strategy. And a good amount of passion.