MU Chess Team wins national title in online tournament and starts year on positive trend

Roger McKinney, Columbia Daily Tribune
Mizzou Chess team photo

The University of Missouri Chess Team's performances at major online collegiate chess tournaments pleased coach Christian Chirila.

In the 2022 U.S. Online Collegiate Rapid and Blitz Championships, junior Mikhail Antipov won first place as an individual, allowing him to claim the title of 2022 U.S. Collegiate Blitz Champion. The team also finished in first place over Webster University and the University of Texas - Dallas.

In the Rapid Championship, Antipov and MU graduate student Grigory Oparin finished second and third place, respectively. MU finished in second place behind Webster University in the team competition.

At the 2022 finals of the Collegiate Chess League playoffs, Oparin defeated Antipov to win first place. Six students from MU qualified.

And another big tournament started the year, Chirila wrote in an email.

"We just finished one of our marquee competitions of the year, the Pan American Intercollegiate Championships, which was held in Seattle between January 5-8," Chirila wrote "Mizzou finished with a 5-1 score and took the silver medal. For the first time in our program's young history, we qualified to the President's Cup, also known as the Final Four of collegiate chess. This is a great result for us to start the year, and I hope the positive trend continues throughout the season."

Antipov is one of the team's strongest players, Chirila wrote.

"Mikhail Antipov has been training very well the whole season and I am very pleased to see these results shine through for him," Chirila wrote. "Mikhail brings a positive attitude to every team training, which helps all his teammates perform at their best. He is and will continue to be one of our strongest players, and I believe we will see many more national and international titles brought to Mizzou by him. The team’s win in the Blitz Championship is the first national team title won by our program. This brings a great boost of confidence to all of us, and more importantly sets a powerful precedent of what can be achieved when consistent hard work is done throughout the season."

The Collegiate Chess League tournament, with Antipov and Oparin playing against each other, was interesting, Chirila wrote.

"The Collegiate Chess League is a very important competition for us and each semester it has a different format," Chirila wrote. "During the spring semester, it was held under a team format, which we won. In the fall semester, the competition had an individual format. This opened the possibility that players from the same institution will be facing each other along the way. I was very pleased to see both Grigory and Mikhail made it to the finals, and their match was a great battle that could have been won by either of them."