Baltimore Ravens Offensive Lineman John Urschel & U.S. Chess Champion Fabiano Caruana Face Off in First-Ever “LSC World Blitz Chess Title Bout” at the Science Center’s 5th Annual Genius Gala on May 20

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Jersey City, NJ – May 17, 2016 – Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel is typically found protecting his quarterback. However this Friday, May 20, at the Liberty Science Center’s Genius Gala 5.0, Urschel will be protecting his king.

Indeed, Urschel, also an accomplished mathematician, will face off against Fabiano Caruana, the strongest American-born chess player and the current U.S. National Champion, in the first “LSC World Blitz Chess Title Bout.”

The intellectual and physical competition, dubbed Blitz Chess, allows the players just seconds to move. Caruana will have only two minutes to complete all his moves, while Urschel will get an extra minute. The event ends when someone checkmates their opponent or runs out of time.

Coming in at 5’7” and 125 pounds, Caruana serves as the Visiting Grandmaster and Ambassador for the Center’s scholastic Chess Works! program. At age 23, with a US chess rating of 2870, he is the third highest rated chess player of all time.

His opponent, Urschel, coming in at 6’3” and 308 pounds, is no stranger to the Liberty Science Center’s Genius Gala. With a US chess rating of 1601, the 24-year-old scholar athlete returns for the Genius Gala for the second year. The offensive lineman graduated with 4.0 in mathematics from Penn State and published two important mathematical results in academic literature. Off the field, he is pursuing his PhD at MIT in the fields of Spectral Graph Theory, Numerical Linear Algebra, and Machine Learning.

“I’m thrilled to welcome John and Fabiano to the Genius Gala for this exciting Blitz Chess competition,” said Paul Hoffman, President and CEO of Liberty Science Center. “This unique event speaks to the magical night of science and creativity we look forward to every year at the Center.”

Hoffman will be joined by two-time chess champion of Canada and New Jersey hedge-fund trader extraordinaire Pascal Charbonneau to officiate the unique competition.

About Liberty Science Center

Liberty Science Center ( is a 300,000-square-foot not-for-profit learning center located in Liberty State Park on the Jersey City bank of the Hudson near the Statue of Liberty. Dedicated to bringing the power, promise, and pure fun of science and technology to people of all ages, Liberty Science Center houses 12 museum exhibition halls, a live animal collection with 110 species, giant aquariums, a 3D theater, the world’s largest IMAX Dome Theater, live simulcast surgeries, a tornado-force wind simulator, K-12 classrooms and labs, and teacher-development programs. More than 250,000 students visit the Science Center each year, and tens of thousands more participate in the Center’s offsite and online programs. LSC is the most visited cultural institution in New Jersey with more than 650,000 visitors annually and the largest interactive science center in the NYC-NJ metropolitan area.

Media Contact:
Mary Meluso