Svetozar Gligorić Transatlantic Cup: UT Dallas wins for second year in a row


In 2012, the annual match between The University of Texas at Dallas and the University of Belgrade was renamed the Svetozar Gligorić Transatlantic Cup. That change was in memory of Grandmaster Svetozar Gligorić (1923-2012), the best player ever from Serbia. Belgrade is the capital and the largest city in Serbia. This year, the 14th match in the series that began in 2006, was won by The University of Texas at Dallas.

Opening Ceremony - 2019 Transatlantic Cup
Opening Ceremony – 2019 Transatlantic Cup

FIDE Honors Svetozar Gligorić

Just this month, FIDE, the World Chess Federation, announced the creation of the Svetozar Gligorić Fair Play Trophy Award. According to the FIDE announcement, Svetozar Gligorić was known for respecting his opponents, famously stating that he played against the chess pieces, not the man. The Svetozar Gligorić Fair Play Trophy Award recognizes a chess player who exhibits fairness, respect, friendship, team spirit, equality, tolerance, and care; with, additionally, an outstanding sportsmanship demonstration within the past year. Nominations are open until December 19, 2019. The Svetozar Gligorić Fair Play Trophy Award will be given at an Award Ceremony at the FIDE Congress in December of 2019.

2019 Results and Games

The Svetozar Gligorić Transatlantic Cup is played over the Internet, via the Internet Chess Club, with strict rules. For example, no “take-backs” are allowed.

UT Dallas wins 2019 Cup
UT Dallas wins 2019 Cup

In the 2019 match, played on Friday, November 15, The University of Texas at Dallas won with a score of 10.5-5.5. Last year, the 13th in the series, UT Dallas won by the even greater margin of 12.5 to 3.5. Wins count as one point each, draws as .5 points each, and there are 16 students playing for each university’s team. The games are ordered as first board, second board, and so forth, down to board 16. The program lists the students competing for each university. The Svetozar Gligorić Transatlantic Cup is played via the Internet Chess Club and the games are available here.

In last year’s article, I showed a draw by University of Texas at Dallas chess team member International Master Emil Stefanov on board 12. Stefanov played board 11 this year and won his game. The first board for the 2019 Svetozar Gligorić Transatlantic Cup, for The University of Texas at Dallas, was Grandmaster Razvan Preotu, who also won.

Panda Chess Academy

Emil Stefanov and Razvan Preotu
Emil Stefanov and Răzvan Preotu

I am highlighting Stefanov and Preotu because they are appearing later this month at the Panda Chess Academy in Houston. I will be there too. Here is a description of that upcoming event, which I summarize below:

On November 25 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the Panda Chess Academy will host a special event featuring members of The University of Texas at Dallas chess team, Grandmaster Răzvan Preotu and International Master Emil Stefanov. GM Preotu and IM Stefanov will give lectures and simuls, and Dr. Alexey Root, Lecturer at University of Texas at Dallas, will be speaking to parents about chess and education, college scholarships, college team chess competition, and related topics. 

Chess Game Annotated

Preotu won his game from the 2019 Svetozar Gligorić Transatlantic Cup, which follows.

[pgn][Event “Transatlantic Cup on ICC; 40 5”]
[Site “Internet Chess Club”]
[Date “2019.11.15”]
[Round “1”]
[White “*PreotuUTD”]
[Black “*LukovicV-06”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “C97”]
[WhiteElo “2532”]
[BlackElo “2384”]
[PlyCount “101”]
[EventDate “2019.??.??”]
[TimeControl “2400+5”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. d4 Qc7 12. d5 c4

{When Razvan analyzed this game for the audience in the VIP room, he said that 12…c4 is a mistake. The reason is because after 13. b4, Black’s N has no good squares. He recommended 12….Bd7 instead.}

13. b4 cxb3 14. axb3 Bd7 15. Bd3 Rfb8 16. Re2 Nb7 17. b4 a5 18. Rea2 a4

{[#] It is White to move. The commentator for this match, Grandmaster Dávid Bérczes, asked the audience, “What is Black’s weakness? What should White target?” (Answer on move 32.)}

19. Bd2 Nd8 20. Na3 Ne8 21. Qe2 Qb7 22. g4 f6 23. Kh2 Nf7 24. Rg1 g5 25. h4 h6 26. h5 Nc7 27. Ne1 Qc8 28. Nec2 Qe8 29. Ne3 Nd8 30. Rb1 Nf7 31. Rab2

{[#]According to Razvan, this is the last move in what has been a long sequence of moves to prepare the break 32. c4. All White’s pieces are on good squares so it is time to create a passed pawn.}

Bd8 32. c4

{After setting up carefully, White takes aim at the weak b5-pawn. That’s the target White has aimed at since move 18.}

bxc4 33. Bxc4 Nb5 34. Nxb5 Bxb5 35. Bxb5 Rxb5 36. Nc4

{[#]Razvan noted that his knight is perfectly placed to both hinder Black’s a-pawn and support his own b-pawn.}

Qd7 37. Be3 Rab8 38. Na3 R5b7 39. b5 Bb6 40. Bxb6 Rxb6 41. Rc1 Nd8 42. Rbc2 Nb7 43. Rc7 Qd8 44. Qf3 Nc5 45. Rc6 Qd7 46. Nc4 Rxb5

(46… Rxc6 47. dxc6)

47. Nxd6 Rb3 48. Qxf6 Rf8 49. Qg6+ Kh8 50. Qxh6+ Kg8 51. Nf5 {Black resigns} 1-0[/pgn]

Preotu is also the co-author of The Chess Attacker’s Handbook, available from Gambit Publications.

WIM Alexey Root, PhD

Alexey Root is a Woman International Master and the 1989 U.S. Women's chess champion. Her peak US Chess rating was 2260. She has a PhD in education from UCLA. You can find her books on chess on

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