April 16th, 2012 | Sports

Yale chess team ties for third in tourney

Robert Hess '15, left, competes in an Ivy League chess tournament this weekend.
Robert Hess '15, left, competes in an Ivy League chess tournament this weekend. Photo by Fairfield County Chess.

Ivy League rivalries come in all shapes and sizes.

This weekend, the battle for campus pride invaded the chess world, as two dozen Ivy Leaguers faced off in the first Ivy League Chess Championship.

The event, sponsored by the Chess Club of Fairfield County, brought four-player teams — representing Yale, Columbia, Princeton and Dartmouth — competing against one another in a two-day chess tournament in Norwalk, Conn. After four rounds of play, Columbia University took home first prize, having won all of its matches; Dartmouth College, with two wins and a tie, took second; while Yale and Princeton finished in a tie for third place.

Yale’s team, led by International Grandmaster Robert Hess ’15 and International Master Bogdan Vioreanu GRD ’12, came into the tournament a solid favorite. But the Elis fell to Dartmouth in the first round and to Columbia in the final round, which pitted Hess against Columbia’s top player, Victor Shen.

Hess, who did not compete against Dartmouth, said that, while the average rating of Yale’s team was the highest, Columbia had realistically the “most well-balanced” team.

“All in all, the event was well-run,” Hess added. “And I enjoyed playing with other Yalies.”

CCFC Club Director Melvin Patrick said the final round capped what had been a very successful competition.

“It took months of planning and coordination to find the right timing for the tournament, and to have it all build to such a thrilling finish – that’s what competitive chess is all about,” Patrick said.

Harvard’s team was scheduled to participate in the chess tournament, but no Crimson players showed up at the event.