Since 1946, the Pan American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship (Pan-Am) has attracted college chess teams from North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. Since 2001, the top four U.S. schools at the immediately previous Pan-Am qualify for the President’s Cup, also known as the “Final Four of College Chess,” to determine the best U.S. chess college.
Although the Pan-Am used to be held between Christmas and New Year’s Day, in recent years it has occurred at the start of January. The 2024 Pan-Am is scheduled for January 4–7 in Texas, at the McAllen Convention Center. Chess rates at nearby hotels must be reserved by mid-December, according to the organizer’s website.
For both the Pan-Am and the President’s Cup, the time control is Game in 90 minutes plus a 30-second increment per move (90m + 30s). Each competition features teams of four players, with up to two alternates per team.
2024 President’s Cup
The location of the President’s Cup often depends on which schools qualify for it. For example, the 2023 President’s Cup was hosted by Webster University, which was one of the qualifying schools. Two of the other qualifying schools were from Missouri: Saint Louis University and the University of Missouri, nicknamed “Mizzou.” Only The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley team had to travel from another state to the President’s Cup. The President’s Cup usually happens on the same weekend as the Final Four of College Basketball, which in 2024 is scheduled for April 6 and 8.
2023 President’s Cup
In the last round of the 2023 President’s Cup, Webster faced Mizzou. As reported by JJ Lang on Chess Life Online, “A win would secure victory for Webster, but a loss could lead to a traffic jam atop the standings. Chaos appeared to be on the way when Gledura lost to GM Grigoriy Oparin on the top board.”
Oparin played on Board 1 for Mizzou, while GM Benjamin Gledura led Webster.
On Board 2, GM Aram Hakobyan from Webster won against GM Mikhail Antipov from Mizzou.
With its Board 3 winning and Board 4 drawing, Webster won the match 2.5 to 1.5 over Mizzou. By winning the 2023 President’s Cup, Webster University tied the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s record of six President’s Cup victories.