The UMBC chess team, one of the winningest college chess teams in the last two decades, placed second in the U.S. Chess Federation's annual championship Friday.

The four-member team — who are all attending University of Maryland, Baltimore County on chess scholarships — were within striking distance of the top spot until the final match of the four-day tournament, according to the club.

Leonid Kritz, Giorgi Margvelashvili, Sasha Kaplan and Sabina Foisor lost the Pan-Am Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship by one point to University of Texas at Dallas. UMBC, which won the event five years in a row from 1998 to 2002, last won in 2009.

The UMBC club will move on to the 2012 President's Cup, held from March 31 through April 1 in Herndon, Va.

steve.kilar@baltsun.com

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