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Rio Grande Ospreys Fly From Across The Globe

Rio Grande Ospreys Fly From Across The Globe

Jan 7, 2017, 12:33 PM 1

The Rio Grande Ospreys is one of the few teams in the PRO Chess League that is, strictly speaking, not representing a city. The players, who come from around the globe, have one thing in common though: the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Like e.g. Webster, this university in Texas has a chess program that includes a team led by GM Bartlomiej Macieja. In 2015, the program was recognized by the House of Representatives of the State of Texas and by the Senate of the State of Texas for its accomplishments.

Bartek Macieja is also one of the team members. The two-time Polish champion is also a former European Champion and represented the Polish Olympic team seven times. He's the winner or co-winner of 27 international tournaments.

Here's an excellent game by Macieja against Teimour Radjabov from the second round of the 2007 FIDE World Cup.

The top seed in this team, however, is GM Anton Kovalyov. Born in Ukraine, he moved to Argentina and later to Canada, the country he now represents. The team did rather well in the 2016 Baku Olympiad, where Kovalyov won the individual silver medal.

With even more grandmasters to be lined up, Rio Grande is a serious candidate in this first season of the PRO Chess League. There's GM Kamil Dragun, another Polish grandmaster and a former European and World Champion U14. He has joined the Rio Grande chess program very recently.

Kamil Dragun. | Photo Ray Morris-Hill.

There are GMs Andrey Stukopin and Vladimir Belous, both of Russia. The latter finished (tied for) first in three open tournaments in the U.S. in 2016: the Lone Star Open, the Chicago Open and the Houston Open. Stukopin finished (tied for) first in the Golden State Open, the Space Coast Open, the Chicago Open, the U.S. Chess Masters, the Washington Chess Congress and the Houston Open.

The remaining team members make the Ospreys a truly international squad: GM Carlos Hevia (Cuba), IM Guillermo Vazquez (Paraguay), IM Felix Ynojosa (Venezuela), IM Joshua Ruiz (Colombia), and FM Yannick Kambrath (France).

The PRO Chess League welcomes the Rio Grande Ospreys! 

Read up on everything you need to know about the PRO Chess League:

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