COLUMBIA, Mo. – In the International Chess Federation’s inaugural World University Online Championships, the University of Missouri Chess Team won the world championship in the Blitz Cup team competition and also took home second place in the Rapid Cup team competition. This global virtual tournament featured more than 1,300 players from 84 different countries and represented more than 200 universities.
“This is a huge milestone for our program,” said Cristian Chirila, the coach of MU’s chess team. “Since I arrived on campus more than two years ago, we’ve had our eye on winning a national championship. Now being able to win a world championship is huge for our program, and it’s a testament to our players on and off the board. We’re a young program that’s now cementing its place among the elite universities for chess. We’re proud to represent Mizzou and take the program and university to new heights in the world of collegiate chess.”
The main difference between a game of chess in the blitz competition versus the rapid competition is the total time a player has to play the game against an opponent. In the blitz competition, players have a total of three minutes, and can gain two additional seconds for every move made on the chess board against an opponent. In the rapid competition, players have a total of 10 minutes, and can gain five additional seconds for every move made on the chess board against an opponent.
In addition to the team awards, three of MU’s players also took home individual awards. They are:
Mikhail Antipov, a freshman from Russia, won a silver medal in the individual rapid competition and a bronze medal in the individual blitz competition.
Olga Badelka, a freshman from Belarus, won a silver medal in the individual blitz competition and a bronze medal in the individual rapid competition.
Grigory Oparin, a graduate student from Russia, won a bronze medal in the individual rapid competition.
The tournament was held over a three-week span in March. The first two weeks featured the individual competitions, and the last weekend featured the team competitions. A total of seven players on MU’s chess team competed in the team competitions.
“It is incredible that our Mizzou Chess Team achieved this major victory a mere two years after its creation,” said Pat Okker, dean of the MU College of Arts and Science, which serves as the home for the MU Chess Team. “All of the players, along with Coach Cristian Chirila, deserve our sincere congratulations. Their hard work put Mizzou Chess in the international spotlight. Congratulations to our world champions!”