Collegiate Chess League Season 4: Playoffs

Collegiate Chess League Season 4: Playoffs

| 2 | Chess Event Coverage

After nine weeks, the Collegiate Chess League's fourth regular season has finally come to an end, and the playoffs have begun! The teams' standings have been finalized, and they have been placed in single elimination brackets to fight for their share of the $25,000 prize pool. Be sure to tune in and watch the ultimate conclusion to our biggest season yet!

How to watch?
Matches are broadcast live at with commentary by the league's commissioner, Joe Lee, with surprise guests to be announced.

Round 7 Highlights

The University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley was the only team in the top division with a perfect 6-0 record going into the seventh round, and they only had UChicago standing in their way from a perfect season. UChicago was 5-1 going into the match having only lost to the UC Berkeley team the week before. The Texas team brought their full-strength lineup with two grandmasters and two international masters, and they were able to beat the defending champion Chicago team who was missing their board two GM Praveen Balakrishnan. Here is a highlight game between UTRGV's board two GM Arman Mikaelyan and Chicago's board four Christoph Eichinger.

Mikaelyan finished 3/4, only losing to Chicago's top board GM Awonder Liang, but Texas avenged Mikaelyan's loss in the following round with their top board GM Kamil Dragun, giving Liang his only loss of the match. Overall, UTRGV beat Chicago 10.5-5.5 to complete their perfect 7-0 season. 

In group B, Mizzou and Saint Louis University played for the first time since the finals of the inaugural season. SLU won that match and claimed the CCL's first championship title. Both these teams were 5-1 with their only losses coming at the hands of Yale, and the winner of this match would clinch a spot in the quarterfinals. The loser would end up in third place in their group and need to play in a wildcard match in the first round of the playoffs. For the first time of the season, SLU brought on three grandmasters in their lineup to take on the Mizzou roster of four grandmasters. Here's a highlight game from SLU's GM Robby Kevlishvili against Mizzou's star GM Grigoriy Oparin

Kevlishvili took down Oparin with a fancy rook sacrifice and went on to sweep the talented Mizzou team 4-0. His performance helped them win the match 10.5-5.5 and earn a spot in the quarterfinals. 

Yale would hold onto their number one spot by narrowly beating the University of Michigan 9-7. Here's a game from Yale's GM Nicolas Checa against Michigan's captain Kevin Hass

Checa's 4-0 performance was clutch in this close win and helped Yale finish the season with six wins and one draw, good enough for first in their group and a spot in the quarterfinals. 

Game of the Week

Liang is known for playing some crazy chess games, and this one against UTRGV's Mikaelyan is certainly one of them. 

We've seen Liang play crazier openings like the Bongcloud before, but getting away with this opening against another GM is something else.

Clip of the Week

This week's clip was our live reaction to Liang's opening in his match against UTRGV. 

Live broadcast of the Collegiate Chess League is available at; commentary provided by @JoeBruin.

Group Leaders

This table shows the number one team from their group in each division. The top team is from group A and the bottom team is from group B. Schools are placed into groups based on their location. These teams, along with the number two team from each group, will automatically qualify for the quarterfinals. Congratulations to all these teams for winning their group in the regular season, and good luck to them in the playoffs as they try to hold on to their number one spot and win their division's championship. 

Division 1 Division 2 Division 3 Division 4 Division 5
UTRGV ASU Duke B UIUC B George Mason University
Yale Duke Indian Institute of Technology BHU Université de Franche Asia Pacific University
Division 6 Division 7 Division 8 Division 9 Division 10
UNLV UCSB B UIC B UC Berkeley F University of Arizona B
University at Buffalo King Fahd University Bangladesh University Kalinga George Mason University B
Division 11 Division 12 Division 13 Division 14
Mizzou B Ohio University UCSD F UNLV C
Boston University C Northeastern University C PDPM IIITDM Jabalpur Lviv State University C

Playoffs Preview

With the last round concluding the regular season and finalizing the standings, the playoffs can begin. There will be four single-elimination rounds: wildcard, quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals. Wildcard matches were played Saturday, April 23, and the winners moved on to face their quarterfinals opponents on Saturday, April 30. The semifinals will be the weekend after Mother's day on Saturday, May 14, and the third-place match and finals will be played on Saturday, May 21.

Each division has 12 teams in the playoffs with the top two from each group already qualified for the quarterfinals. This leaves eight teams to play in the wildcard match to determine the remaining quarterfinals teams. The brackets for each division are linked below. 

Division 1: Can Chicago, Mizzou, or SLU win their second championship, or will UTRGV finish their perfect season and be a new CCL Champion?

Division 2: Can Duke hold onto their top spot, or will they fall short like last season?

Division 3: Can one of the three Boston schools win, or will it go to the number one seed Indian Institute of Technology?

Division 4: This division has teams from five different countries, France, the USA, Russia, Canada, and Mexico. Who will take home the championship?

Division 5: Can the new Asia Pacific University hold onto its top spot?

Division 6: Can the 7-0 Vegas team win the championship, or will there be an upset?

Division 7: Will the championship go to one of the five California schools, or somewhere else?

Division 8Is Bangladesh going to be defeated after their 7-0 season, or are they going undefeated all the way?

Division 9Can anyone beat Kalinga after their undefeated season?

Division 10Can the University of Arizona's B team continue the perfect season after going 7-0?

Division 11: Can Mizzou's B team get their first championship?

Division 12Will Northeastern C bring a title to Boston?

Division 13Is UCSD F the favorite from group A, or is it Jabalpur B from group B?

Division 14Can Ukraine bring a championship home to Lviv with their C team?

Many of the playoff matches will be streamed live on Twitch, so be sure to check them out!

The full list of division standings and playoff brackets are available here after you navigate to Collegiate Chess.

For any league-related questions, please email Commissioner Joe Lee at


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