News from Montgomery College

900 Hungerford Drive, Suite 200, Rockville, MD 20850 

Date: January 3, 2003 (03-03)
Contact: Dave Willingham, 240-567-7970; Pager: 301-930-0972
               Steve Simon, 240-567-7952

Montgomery College Chess Team Among the Collegiate Elite
Miami Performance Features #2 finish/Upset of International Master  

            The chess aces from Montgomery College placed ahead of their peers from Princeton, Stanford, Duke, and many other prestigious teams at the recent Pan American International Team Championships in Miami, regarded as the super bowl of collegiate chess. 

            The team of Ray Kaufman and Charles Willis of Potomac, Artem Gulish of Montgomery Village, and Khine Kyaw of Germantown finished 15th in the overall standings; second among community colleges to the host school, Miami-Dade CC.  But Montgomery College picked up the trophy as top community college because Miami-Dade took fourth-place hardware and, under tournament rules, a team can’t win two trophies.

            “I’m thrilled,” said Faculty Advisor David Lott, an English professor on the College’s Rockville campus.  “I grew up with the game and it’s exciting just to see a performance like this.”

            One of the most memorable moments of the tournament came when Montgomery College’s Ray Kaufman defeated International Master Irina Krush of NYU, the top female collegiate player in the nation.  Kaufman had lost to Krush in three straight matches and told his advisor after the victory, “enough is enough.”

 An MC sophomore who won the Maryland high school championship as an eighth grader, Kaufman says he plans to accept a full scholarship to perennial powerhouse UMBC, the overall champion of the Miami event.

            This is the second time in three years that Montgomery College has positioned itself as one of the nation’s foremost community college chess powers.  Lott says the broad diversity of the Montgomery College community is a factor in his team’s success.  For example, Kyaw is from Myanmar (formerly Burma) and studied chess under a Buddhist Monk, while Gulish’s home country, Ukraine, is noted as a prominent chess power. 

Nearly 170 countries of origin are represented among the Montgomery College student body.

            All students, as well as members of the community at large, regardless of level, are welcome to participate in the Montgomery College Chess Club, from which team members are selected.  For more information, call 240-567-7413 or e-mail

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