A Match Made at Mason: Chess Club Players Top Russians

Posted: December 2, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Robin Herron

When he graduates later this year, senior Jeff Brown can say that while he was at Mason his team beat the Russians – that would be in chess, not some other sport.

President of Mason’s chess club, which he founded in 2003 with vice president Jonathan Bode, Brown considers a recent match against star chess players from Kazan University in Russia one of the club’s high points.

The mathematics students, Maxim Galiev and Albert Davletov, traveled from the Russian city of Naberezhnye Chelny to the United States along with champion Russian International Master Lenar Murzin. When they got to Washington, D.C., a couple of weeks ago, they were looking for a game, and Mason Chess was pleased to oblige.

Mathematics PhD student and Mason Chess team captain Andy Samuelson and freshman film and video studies major Daniel Clancy took the challenge, meeting the Russians in the Johnson Center Bistro for a friendly match.

“We won every board,” Brown says proudly.

Students playing chess
Albert Davletov, left, from Kazan University in Russia and Mason freshman Daniel Clancy played a chess match in the Bistro.

While the match was going on, Mason Chess’ faculty advisor, Professor of Mathematical Sciences Walter Morris, joined the Russian team’s coach for a casual game.

Winning an “international match” is not the team’s only achievement over its short life. Mason Chess has held the Virginia Collegiate State Championship for three years, Brown points out. And for the past four years, its volunteer student coaches have shared their knowledge of the game with hundreds of children at nearby Fairview Elementary School.

But even as he prepares to graduate, Brown, a Spanish major, has higher hopes for the club. He considers chess a competitive sport and would like to see an academic scholarship established to help recruit top talent to the Mason team. And he’d be thrilled if the team could travel to Russia next year for a return match at Kazan University.

For more information on Mason Chess, see the web site or contact Brown at gmuchess@gmu.edu.

chess players
The coaches and players got Mason T-shirts as souvenirs of the match. From left, Mason advisor Walter Morris; Mason Chess members Jonathan Bode and Daniel Clancy; Russian coach Lenar Murzin; Russian students Albert Davletov and Maxim Galiev; and Mason Chess members Andy Samuelson and Jeff Brown.
Photos courtesy of Jeff Brown

Write to at