The Chess Refinery’s average intelligence quotient (IQ) just went up by at least ten points. And that’s not a slam the chess club, home to many of the brightest and most dedicated chess players in all of Texas. I’m describing an “intervention” where something significant happens and life as we all know it changes forever. In this case the intervention is, not one, but two Grandmasters who made Texas and The Houston Chess Refinery their home.
Their similarities don’t stop there. Both were making an extraordinary impact in international chess circles. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) officials couldn’t help noticing them in a FIDE tournament in Columbia. They struck up conversations. The talks transitioned into scholarship offers. Both then made a great move to Texas. Both became the pillars of some magnificent UTRGV chess teams. Along the way, they earned their bachelor degrees.
When the time came, they both made another good move. They pursued master’s degrees in software engineering at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). Their scholarships enabled them to provide a huge boost for the UTD Chess Team. My dilemma is choosing whom to write about first? Both are profoundly talented and passionate about this game. Do I decide alphabetically? Do I flip a coin? Do I throw darts? Read on please.
Grandmaster Carlos Antonio Hevia Alejanio was born in Cuba in 1991. His father taught him chess at age 8. Besides chess, he loves racquetball and enjoys watching movies. He has enjoyed full chess scholarships, played on the UTRGV and UTD chess teams, and graduated from UTD with a Master of Science in Software Engineering (MSSE) degree.
GM Hevia is currently ranked number 1,088 in the world. He was awarded FIDE titles for FIDE Master (FM) in 2006, International Master (IM) in 2012, and Grandmaster (GM) in 2015. He earned his National Master Certificate from US Chess in 2016. US Chess records also show him as a Life Senior Master (norms-based). He is ranked number 66 for all USA active players (99.9th percentile). He is ranked number 11 for all active Texas players (99.8th percentile).
As for so many of us, the pandemic impacted his playing opportunities. Not counting online play, US Chess credits him with playing in only seven over-the-board (OTB) tournaments since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2000. He has been using this time to focus on his career and developing computer applications in the financial services industry.
GM Hevia stays sharp by study and playing online chess on Li Chess. His plans include opening a chess academy with his friend, GM Ruiz. His hero is Magnus Carlson and, when asked for advice to help young players, he answered with one word.
(A57) English Opening, Symmetrical Variation, Two Knights Line
Hevia Alejano,Carlos Antonio (2465), Gledura,Benjamin (2626)
Pan-Am Intercollegiate (6.4) 30.12.2019
1.c4 g6 2.Nc3 c5 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.g3 Nc6 5.Bg2 d6 6.0-0 e6 7.d3 Nge7 8.Bd2 b6 9.Qc1 h6 10.Rb1 Bb7 11.a3 g5 12.b4 Qd7 13.Nb5 Ng6 14.Bc3 e5 15.Nd2 f5 16.Bd5 Nd8 17.a4 h5 18.bxc5 dxc5 19.Bxb7 Nxb7 20.Nf3 f4 21.Nxg5 Bh6 22.Bxe5 Nxe5 23.Qxf4 Qe7 24.Qe4 Bxg5 25.f4 Ng4 26.Qc6+ Kf7 27.fxg5+ Kg7 28.Nc7 Rhc8 29.Ne6+ Kh8 30.Qd5 Re8 31.g6 Nd6 32.Qxh5+ Kg8 33.Rf7 Nf6 34.Rxf6 1-0
Grandmaster Joshua Daniel Ruiz Castillo was born in Columbia in 1997. His father taught him chess at age 6-½. When not playing chess, he writes chess books and enjoys bicycling and watching movies. He has enjoyed full chess scholarships, played on the UTRGV and UTD chess teams, and will soon graduate from UTD with a Master of Science in Software Engineering (MSSE) degree. He recently got married and he and his wife, Paula, look forward to settling in the Houston area.
GM Ruiz is currently ranked number 1,151 in the world. He was awarded FIDE titles for Candidate Master (CM) in 2007, FIDE Master (FM) in 2009, International Master (IM) in 2012, and Grandmaster (GM) in 2019. He earned his National Master Certificate from US Chess in 2015 and became a US Chess Original Life Master (requires 300 games as a Master) in 2021. US Chess records also show him as a Life Senior Master (norms-based). He is ranked number 95 for USA active players (99.8th percentile). He is ranked number 11 for active Texas players (99.8th percentile).
Despite the pandemic he has stayed active. US Chess credits him with playing in ten over-the-board (OTB) tournaments since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2000. He looks forward to graduating soon from UTD and being a good husband.
“Discipline and Sacrifice.”
(A07) King’s Indian Attack, General
Ruiz C,Joshua D (2503), Otero Acosta,Diasmany (2370)
III Fenamac GpB 2021 (1.3) 21.07.2021
Once again, welcome to Texas and The Chess Refinery Grandmasters Hevia and Ruiz. Texas chess is a much better place because of you both.
About the Author.
Jim Hollingsworth is the Texas Chess Association (TCA) Vice President. He is also a tournament organizer and director. He is Chair of the Military Chess Committee. He played in five Army Chess Championships and made the Army Chess Team in 1989. He is the 2007 Fort Bragg Chess Champion and the 2018 Texas Armed Forces Chess Champion. He won the 1987 Lawton (OK) City Chess Championship and the 1987 Cameron University Chess Championship. He serves as a Chess Journalist of America Judge. He is a member of the Texas Chess Team. He is a Life Member of US Chess and TCA. He is also a fulltime student pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design.
Photos generously provided by Grandmasters Hevia and Ruiz.