While much of the Princeton University campus was empty for winter break, nearly 175 chess players from across North America gathered in Frick Chemistry Laboratory Dec. 27-30 to compete in the 2012 Pan American Intercollegiate Chess Championship — known as the World Series of college chess.
Hosted this year by the student-run Princeton Chess Club, the 66-year-old tournament is chess’ premiere collegiate team event. Grandmasters, international masters and other titled players, including Princeton sophomore Michael Lee, competed as part of 44 teams representing schools such as Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, the University of Toronto and Yale. The weekend ended in a five-way split for first, with the University of Texas at Dallas given top honors on a tiebreaker.
University of Texas at Austin student Avinash Thangirala (left) concentrates on a move while playing Princeton freshman Andrew Ng.
“It’s quite an experience to see all the top college players from across the country competing in one room,” said Princeton junior Leo Kang.
The championship, conducted by the United States Chess Federation, was last played in Princeton in 1960. Princeton senior and chess club co-president Jack Hutton said he was heartened by this year’s turnout.