Evelyn Duskey

Miami University’s Chess Club will be taking part in the 2008 Pan American Intercollegiate Chess Championships in Dallas for the first time from Dec. 27 to Dec. 30.

Miami’s Chess Team will be represented at the international competition by junior Marc Serve, junior Seth Seward, sophomore Chris Dobbs and first-year Jerry Towns.

According to the tournament Web site, the competition is open to college and university teams from North and South America, including the Caribbean. At least two players must represent each team, but the customary format for each team is four players.

The tournament will consist of six rounds spanning four days.

The first place team receives $1,250, the second place team $750 and the third place team $600. There will also be awards for the Top International Team and Top Individual Board.

According to Serve, the Pan American Championship is probably the biggest tournament out of the four or five that they will be attending this academic year.

Serve said that the biggest different between recreational chess and chess tournaments was the amount of time it takes to make moves.

“The games can take hours,” Serve said.

According to Towns, each member of the team is ranked board one through four.

“The highest rated player is board one,” Towns said. “I’m rated board two, so I’ll be playing the other team’s board two.”

In order to win a match, Serve said, a player must get at least two and a half points out of four, allowing for several different winning combinations.

“Each board has an individual score, and there are four boards being played at the same time,” Towns said.

Both Serve and Towns have been attending the weekly practices in anticipation of the tournament since the club was re-established this fall.

“I just found out about it a few weeks ago,” Serve said.

Towns discovered the group recently, while on Facebook.com.

“I saw that Chris had made a chess-related comment (on a friend’s profile),” Towns said. “And then I saw that he was from Miami, and I was going there, so I contacted him for more information.

Dobbs organized the trip, obtaining funding from Associated Student Government to cover flight cost, hotel and registration fees. According to Dobbs, the final amount of cash received after funding cuts totaled $3298. The team members must cover their food costs and extras such as souvenirs.

Upon arriving to Dallas, Serve plans to get a feel for the tournament, and perhaps the area as well.

“It would be cool to check out Dallas,” Serve said.