Texas Connects Us: The UTD Chess Team

The chess team at the University of Texas at Dallas is one of the best teams in the country.

"Chess is very big, it's our football," joked Jim Stallings, director of UTD's chess team. "We're typically ranked number one or number two, almost every single year."

Stallings recruits players from all over the world, and not just any player.

He goes after Grand Masters. That's the highest title you can achieve in chess.

"We actually give out scholarships for chess," Stallings added.

The captain of UTD's chess team is David Berczes, a Hungarian student who picked up chess because his big brother played.

"He encouraged me to start this game when I was around 6 or 7," Berczes said. "I've been doing it ever since. I became very strong at a very early age and I just kept doing it."

But he never thought his love of chess would lead him to the United States.

"I know, it's crazy," Berczes said. "I'll always be grateful to chess because it brought me here and this great opportunity."

Leaving his family behind wasn't easy, but UTD keeps Berczes connected to family and friends by streaming his matches online, complete with move-by-move commentary.

"My girlfriend and my chess player friends are following me and cheering for me," he added.

For more information on the UTD chess program, visit its website.

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