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Collegiate Chess League Season 4: Semifinals

Collegiate Chess League Season 4: Semifinals

JoeBruin
| 8 | Chess Event Coverage

The first two rounds of the Collegiate Chess League Season 4 playoffs have concluded leaving only four teams remaining in each division, and these teams are now fighting for a spot in the finals. The teams that have made it this far are guaranteed to finish in the top four of their division, which earns them part of the $25,000 prize pool. Be sure to tune in this weekend and see who will move on to the finals!

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

Playoffs Round One Highlights

In the first round of the playoffs, there were no upsets in division one. The most lopsided match was a dominant performance from number five Mizzou against the lowest seed, number 12 UCLA. Mizzou had two players with a perfect 4/4 score and two players with 3.5/4 for an overall score of 15-1. The most exciting game of the match came from UCLA's bottom board Kyle Webster who played the Vienna gambit against Mizzou's GM Chris Repka

Repka was able to navigate the tricky opening and get the win, finishing with a perfect 4/4 score and helping Mizzou advance to the quarterfinals where they would face another California school, UC Berkeley. 

The round one matchup between the University of Waterloo and UC San Diego was also a lopsided affair with Waterloo convincingly beating San Diego 12-4. San Diego's team won the division two championship last season but could not replicate their success in the top division this year. Here is an exciting game from the match between Waterloo's top board FM Richard Chen with the white pieces against San Diego's FM Vatsal Singhania.

Chen swept the San Diego team 4-0 and helped his team move on to the quarterfinals where they would play the undefeated University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley. 

The 11th seed University of Michigan fell to the defending champions and sixth seed UChicago team, which had GMs Awonder Liang and Praveen Balakrishnan combine for seven points out of Chicago's 10.5 total score. Liang was back to his usual ways with unorthodox openings, like in this game he played against Michigan's NM Alex Jian

Awonder had a perfect sweep of the Michigan team to help them win 10.5-5.5.

UT Austin had a close match against the University of Virginia. UT Austin's board one GM Ruifeng Li had a nice miniature with the black pieces against Virginia's captain Mahin Ganesan

This win was part of Ruifeng's impressive 3.5/4 run that was crucial in their 9.5-6.5 win over Virginia. UT Austin would move on to face the undefeated number two seed Yale in the quarterfinals. 

Quarterfinals Highlights

The quarterfinals are a particularly important round in the playoffs because winning in this round guarantees some prize money for making the top four in the division. Making the semifinals in division one is a guarantee to win $750 for finishing at least fourth and chances to win more for placing higher. Here's a list of the prizes for all the divisions.

After defeating UC San Diego, Waterloo's season came to an end at the hands of the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley. The number-one seeded team from Texas made swift work of the number eight seed from Canada. The top board from UTRGV GM Kamil Dragun had this nice win against IM Michael Song from Waterloo. 

Dragun's 3-1 performance helped the Texas team move on to the semifinals where they have high hopes of continuing their perfect season and moving on to the finals. 

After defeating UCLA, Mizzou moved on to face UC Berkeley in the quarterfinals. Berkeley finished second in their group only behind UTRGV, but Mizzou handily beat the California team despite being a lower-seeded team. There were many exciting games in this match that you can see from the stream here, but one of the main highlights comes from Mizzou's star player GM Grigoriy Oparin against Berkeley's IM Ladia Jirasek

Oparin finished the match with 3/4 and Mizzou's board two GM Mikhail Antipov had a flawless 4/4 score to help lead Mizzou back to the semifinals for the first time since they won the championship back in season two. Now they'll move on to face their toughest opponents yet at the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley. 

Meanwhile, the other team from Texas at UT Austin had to take on Yale led by GM Nicolas Checa. In round four Checa played against Austin's GM Ruifeng Li and handed him his only loss of the match. 

Yale had three of their four players go 3/4 including Checa for a convincing 10-6 final score. This ended Austin's season and advanced Yale to the semifinals where they'll take on defending champions UChicago. 

Game of the Week

The game of the week goes to UTRGV's IM Viktor Gazik in his match against Yuanchen Zhang from Waterloo. The highlights of the game are Gazik's back-to-back piece sacrifices leading to an advantage. This game was featured on Chess.com's twitter after catching the attention of hundreds on social media thanks to David Llada sharing the game in a post

Clip of the Week

This week's clip comes from IM Viktor Gazik's game of the week in the division one quarterfinal match between UTRGV and Waterloo.

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

Semifinals Preview

Only four teams remain in each division, and they are each guaranteed to play this weekend as well as the next weekend either in the finals match, if they win in the semifinals, or in the third-place match if they lose. Semifinals are set to start on Saturday, May 14 and the finals and third-place matches are set for the following weekend, on Saturday, May 21. The brackets and remaining matches for each division are below. The time of the match is indicated if it is being streamed

Division 1: #2 Yale vs #6 UChicago May 15 at 1 p.m. Pacific and #1 UTRGV vs #5 Mizzou May 16 at 10 a.m. Pacific. 

Division 2: #3 Temple vs #7 CentraleSupélec-Université Paris-Saclay May 14 at 8 a.m. Pacific and #1 Duke vs #5 University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign May 15 at 11 a.m. Pacific.

Division 3: #1 Indian Institute of Technology BHU vs #12 Boston University May 14 at 9:30 a.m. Pacific and #2 Duke B vs #11 Northeastern University May 15 at 9 a.m. Pacific.

Division 4: #1 Université de Franche-Comté vs #5 Duke C and #3 University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign B vs #7 University of Toronto May 16 at 2 p.m. Pacific.

Division 5: #1 Asia Pacific University vs #5 University of Illinois Chicago and #2 George Mason University vs #11 Yale C. 

Division 6: #2 University at Buffalo vs #6 University of Ottawa and #9 University of Waterloo C vs #12 American University of Armenia. 

Division 7: #1 UC Santa Barbara vs #5 UC San Diego C and #3 Santa Clara University vs #7 University of Florida B May 14 at 11 a.m. Pacific. 

Division 8#1 Bangladesh University vs #4 California Institute of Technology and #2 University of Manchester vs #3 University of Illinois Chicago B. 

Division 9#1 Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology vs #5 Washington University in St. Louis C and #3 UC Berkeley F vs #7 UChicago D

Division 10#1 University of Arizona B vs #5 University of Florida C May 15 at 4 p.m. Pacific and #6 University of Mississippi vs #7 Indiana University B.

Division 11: #2 Mizzou B vs #3 Baylor B and #5 Louisiana State University vs #8 Georgia Tech C.

Division 12#1 Northeastern University C vs #4 University of Waterloo D and #3 UT Austin C vs #7 Wilfrid Laurier University C.

Division 13#1 PDPM Indian Institute of Information TDM Jabalpur B vs #4 Baylor C and #3 Boston University D vs #7 UCLA E May 15 at 8 p.m. Pacific. 

Division 14#2 UNLV C vs #3 Baylor D May 15 at 2 p.m. Pacific and #4 Northeastern University D vs #8 George Mason University D. 

Many of these matches will be streamed live on Twitch and YouTube, 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 ccl@chess.com.


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