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Caltech Chess Team Scores Division Win Second Year Running

The Caltech Chess Team repeated as division winners at the 2020–21 Pan-American Intercollegiate Chess Championship, finishing as the top school with fewer than 5,000 students.

Caltech was represented by 13 graduate and undergraduate students on three teams, competing in a field of 59 teams from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In all, 273 players, including 29 grandmasters, participated.

The A-team narrowly missed out on the Division 2 title outright, finishing just behind Yale in a tiebreaker and ahead of other contenders, including Harvard, UCLA, UC San Diego, and Georgia Tech.

Hosted by the San Francisco-based Mechanics' Institute, the tournament was held online this year for the first time. The tournament format was also modified to nine rounds of rapid games (25 minutes per player) instead of the six rounds of classical games (90 minutes per player) seen in previous years.

Highlights from the Caltech team's performance included a convincing win by World Chess Federation master Jason Shi over grandmaster Carlos Hevia Alejano of the University of Texas at Dallas and a 3–1 final-round victory over UCLA. Tony Kukavica, Caltech's A-team captain, led Caltech scorers with 6.5 points out of nine.

The winning team overall was the all-grandmaster Webster University A-squad, finishing with an 8–1 score.

The Caltech A-team was represented by graduate student Adriano Testa, Shi, Kukavica, Michael Bregar, and Hannah L. Chen. The B-team included Dillon Holder, Vignesh Varadarajan, Ryan Clark, and Raffey Iqbal; and the C-team by Dan Rostovtsev and graduate students Pranav Kulkarni, Henry Peterson, and Duncan Chadly.

The Caltech Chess Club is open to all members of the Caltech community. Meetings are held online Thursdays from 7:30–8:30 p.m., with occasional tournaments and other special events. For more information visit or contact

Written by Jon Nalick