Wednesday, February 29, 2012

No. 1-Ranked Chess Institute in the Nation Moving to Webster Groves


No. 1-Ranked Chess Institute in the Nation Moving to Webster Groves

The Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence will make Webster University its new home after five years at Texas Tech University.

By Carlos Restrepo
Email the author
5:55 am

Susan Polgar, world and Olympiad champion of chess, will move her Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE) from Texas Tech University to Webster University, effective June 1.

Polgar was recruited by Texas Tech in 2007 to lead the new SPICE chess institute. However, Polgar said the university there did not have the resources to sustain the fast-growing chess program.

“The program grew very fast,” said Polgar, who is a winner of four world chess championships and five Olympic gold medals. “We are very thankful for our partnership with Texas Tech. We had many great accomplishments there, but it was time to move on.”

Julian Schuster, provost of Webster University, said he has been playing chess for most of his life and has befriended several professional chess players throughout his career in academia. Schuster said a friend had told him that Polgar was planning on leaving Texas Tech, so he saw an opportunity for Webster.

“All my life I’ve thought chess is a great educational tool,” Schuster said. “I always have had an idea to form a chess club, but never sought the opportunity. When one my friends told me Susan Polgar was contemplating leaving Texas, I put two and two together and moved the initiative forward with the university.”

In addition to Polgar, 10 students from Texas Tech, who are part of the chess institute’s “A” team, will also relocate to Webster. At least six of them will receive full-ride scholarships to attend their new home campus, Schuster said.

Schuster said he is not sure of the total cost to the university for bringing the SPICE institute, Polgar and the 10 students to Webster. Schuster said he sees it as a good investment.

“Everyone — the New York Times, the other newspapers — ask me this question, ‘How much will it cost?’” Schuster said. “This is not important. What’s more important is how many direct and indirect benefits this will have for Webster University, Webster Groves, St. Louis, Missouri and even the United States. We are convinced that we will emerge as one of the best universities and we will become an attractive place for the best students to come and to join us. In that regard, it will put Webster Groves on the world map.”

Polgar said it may be difficult to adapt from being at a large university such as Texas Tech, with a population of about 32,000, to Webster University, which has an enrollment of about 4,500 students. However, Polgar said Webster’s campuses abroad and its global mission are a perfect fit for her program.

“Chess is an international game, and anyone can play it,” Polgar said. “We hope to attract students from other countries to come to Webster.”

Both Polgar and Schuster said the institute will serve not only students at the university, but also residents of Webster Groves and surrounding areas.

“We still have to iron-out the details, but there will be opportunities to make it accessible to anyone interested in chess,” Polgar said. “That’s the beauty of chess; it is available to everyone. It doesn’t matter how tall you are, how old you are, how fast you are, what background you come from, it’s available and accessible to everybody. And it will be that way at Webster, too.”

Source: http://webstergroves.patch.com

Monday, February 20, 2012

SPICE - Knight Raiders win SW Collegiate Championship


L to R: GM Elshan Moradiabadi, GM Denes Boros, IM-elect Faik Aleskerov, GM Andre Diamant, IM Vitaly Neimer, GM Anatoly Bykhovsky at Dallas Love Airport


Final game: Moradiabadi - Boros

No fears, no tears, and no excuses!
On site reporter
February 19, 2012

High fever, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, teary eyes, and sometimes hallucination, none of this could stop the SPICE warriors from intense battles and giving 150% of everything they had in Dallas at the SW Collegiate Championship.

Led by Grandmaster Anatoly Bykhovsky, a (finance major) sophomore and co-captain of the Knight Raiders, the team captured its first ever SW Collegiate Team Championship title. As a freshman last year, he occupied board 1 and helped the Knight Raiders capture its first ever Final Four Championship, ending the dominance of UTD and UMBC.

But he could not do it alone without the heroic effort of his teammates. Just prior to heading to the airport for Dallas, two members of the Knight Raiders, Grandmasters Denes Boros and Andre Diamant were in emergency care. They almost did not make the trip but at the end, they did not want to let their teammates and university down and decided to suit up for the tough event, the strongest ever with 7 GMs, 6 IMs, and 2 WGMs. Competing against top level competition is hard enough. But to do it with this severe handicap made it even tougher.


L to R: Arbiter Sneed, GM Boros, GM Moradiabadi, IM Aleskerov, GM Bykhovsky, IM Neimer

Things did not get better after the team got to the hotel. Two other team members, Grandmaster Elshan Moradiabadi and International Master elect Faik Aleskerov, started to physically feel bad as well. That brought the team down to just two healthy players out of six, Bykhovsky and International Master Vitaly Neimer!

But they did not give in to their illness and less than perfect physical condition. No fears, no tears, and no excuses! They fought hard each round to win as a team. Facing the toughest schedule, Bykhovsky scored 2 wins and 3 draws to earn 2nd place on tiebreaks for individual honor, while Moradiabadi finished 3rd, Diamant 4th, and Boros 7th, on tiebreaks, all with identical scores. In fact, none of the grandmasters suffered defeat, while scoring an outstanding +8 to help the team win first place.

Congratulations to the SPICE warriors! They will be missed at Texas Tech and we all wish them the best of luck next year at Webster University.


At Lubbock Airport

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chess Institute To Transfer To Webster University In June



Chess Institute To Transfer To Webster University In June
February 17, 2012

Building on St. Louis' growing reputation as a world-class chess center, Webster University is making some chess moves of its own.

The university announced that chess Grandmaster Susan Polgar, World and Olympiad Champion, and her Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE), will relocate to Webster from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, on June 1, 2012.

In addition, all members of the reigning national collegiate champion Texas Tech "A" chess team will transfer to Webster and be enrolled at the University in the 2012-2013 academic year.

The chess players who will either transfer to Webster from Texas Tech or enroll as incoming freshmen include eight Grandmasters and two International Masters, and the team is expected to rank No. 1 in the nation in Fall 2012.

Polgar is the winner of four world championships and the only world champion in history - male or female - to win the Triple-Crown (Rapid, Blitz and Classical Chess world championships).

She is the first woman to qualify for the Men's World Championship Cycle, earn the Men's Grandmaster title, and to receive the Grandmaster of the Year Award. In 2011, Polgar became the first female head coach to lead a men's Division 1 team (Texas Tech University) to the national title.

For more information on SPICE at Webster University, go to www.webster.edu/spice.

Source: http://www.websterkirkwoodtimes.com

Thursday, February 16, 2012

This is the chess equivalent of the entire championship University of Alabama football team and coaching staff up and transferring



Sinquefield should focus on chess, not public school, boards
By BARB SHELLY
The Kansas City Star

Before Rex Sinquefield became a multimillionaire and a political kingmaker, he was a chess player.

And whatever you think of Sinquefield’s libertarian views and shameless flaunting of his fortune to influence Missouri government, know this: He is revered as a chess patriarch.

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, a sparkling chess palace that Sinquefield renovated out of a 1897 building, has 700 active members and is host to the nation’s top tournaments. It has a grandmaster in residence and it helped persuade the nation’s top-rated player, Hikaru Nakamura, to move to St. Louis.

Sinquefield, a retired investment fund manager, engineered the move of the World Chess Hall of Fame from Miami to St. Louis. He and his wife, Jeanne, purchased the chess library of the brilliant recluse, Bobby Fischer, which includes notebooks Fischer used to prepare for his legendary match against Russian Boris Spassky.

Because of Sinquefield, dozens of schoolchildren in the St. Louis area play chess. And now the nation’s top-rated chess team has announced it is moving from Texas Tech University in Lubbock to Webster University in St. Louis.

This is the chess equivalent of the entire championship University of Alabama football team and coaching staff up and transferring to Creighton University in Omaha.

Hungarian-born chess champ Susan Polgar, who coaches at Texas Tech, says she is bringing five grandmasters and two international chess masters with her, and an additional three grandmasters are expected to join the team next year as freshmen.

I emailed a news clipping about this to my son, who plays on a chess team at a university that happens to be where Sinquefield did his graduate work.

“Wow,” he emailed back. “That is huge news.”

It’s rare that I am able to tell my son something he doesn’t know, much less get a “wow” out of him. So I thank Sinquefield for that.

Polgar told me Sinquefield wasn’t instrumental in arranging the move, but he was a factor. “We felt it was a nice coincidence,” she said. “We will be in the Mecca of chess in America that grew out of nowhere thanks to the generosity of Mr. Rex Sinquefield.”

Julian Schuster, the provost at Webster, a private, non-profit university, said the school aspired to become a “truly international university,” and chess, being an international sport, fits with that mission.

The school will at first provide scholarship aid for chess players out of its merit scholarship pool, Schuster said.

“We will also approach donors and other interested organizations and foundations,” he added.

Source: http://www.kansascity.com

Could chess become the hottest collegiate sport?



Dastardly Doings in Chess World: Webster U. Poaches Texas Tech's Coach, Team
By Aimee Levitt
Thu., Feb. 16 2012 at 1:40 PM

Since we know now that chess is a sport, maybe it shouldn't be surprising that the chess community is resorting to sports-like behavior: boosterism, trash-talking and now wholesale poaching of the best collegiate players.

Case in point: This school year, Webster University has no chess team. Next year it will have the number-one ranked team in the country, thanks to its recruitment of Susan Polgar, former women's world champion and current chess coach at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Nearly half of the Texas Tech team has decided to follow its coach: Eight grandmasters and two international masters have already committed to study at Webster starting this fall.

Polgar cites Texas Tech's lack of financial support as her reason for leaving. When she arrived in Lubbock in the fall of 2007 to start up the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (known as SPICE), the university allotted her $15,000 for scholarships. When the chess team won the national championship last year, that amount was doubled, but, as Paul Truong, Polgar's husband and team manager, told KCBD News in Lubbock, many top-tier chess schools offer $30,000 per player.

"A grandmaster is the highest title in chess, and around the world there is maybe 1,200. Tech could potentially have eight grandmasters next year if we would have enough funding," he said. "Imagine having eight Michael Jordans or eight Tom Bradys...it would be insane. Unfortunately we don't have funding, and if we don't have funding they go elsewhere."

The exact terms of the deal haven't been worked out yet, says Webster spokeswoman Susan Kerth, but all the money will be coming out of the university's operating budget and each of the ten players transferring from Texas Tech will be receiving a scholarship.

There are other attractions, of course, notably the St. Louis Chess Club, which lured Hikaru Nakamura, one of the world's top-ranked players to relocate here and which helped get us named the United States Chess Federation's Chess City of the Year for 2011. Not to mention the deep pockets and generosity of local chess-loving billionaire Rex Sinquefield. Lindenwood University, meanwhile, has announced it will be starting up its own team, but from scratch, coached by Ben Finegold, the Chess Club's grandmaster-in-residence and chess correspondent for the St. Louis Beacon.

Polgar was never officially on the hiring block. Webster's provost, Julian Z. Schuster, learned through mutual friends that Polgar was considering leaving Texas Tech and initiated an e-mail conversation; eventually Polgar came to St. Louis for a visit and the deal was done.

Texas Tech is trying to put on a brave face. "With the most recent rounds of budget cuts, we're all experiencing a little tightening in the purse strings so to speak," Chris Cook, a university spokesman. "We have other national championship programs. We did see the importance of the chess program, but you have to meet the needs of all programs while staying in the overall budget."

Webster, solidly in the NCAA's Division III, has no such conflicts. (Quick, do you know the team nickname?) Could chess become the hottest collegiate sport in Webster Groves? (It's the Gorlocks, after Gore and Lockwood Avenues, two streets that border the university.)

Source: http://riverfronttimes.com

Daily Debriefing


Daily Debriefing

By Lindsay Ellis, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Thursday, February 16, 2012

Texas Tech University chess grandmaster Susan Polgar will transfer her leadership and her best 10 players to Webster University later this year with the goal of establishing a chess program, The New York Times reported Tuesday. Polgar started Texas Tech’s chess program — which is named for her — in 2007, but decided to leave due to the institution’s “lack of financial resources,” Polgar said in an interview with NBC affiliate KCBD. While one chess player can receive up to $30,000 in scholarships at rival programs, Texas Tech gave $30,000 to the entire program last year, even after winning the 2011 Final Four Championship, KCBD reported. Webster’s team, which will rank first nationwide on paper in its first official year, will also be named for Polgar, The Times reported.

Source: http://thedartmouth.com

CBC Radio Interview


COLLEGE CHESS TURMOIL. All's fair in love and war... and chess. A Texas chess coach moves to a St. Louis university. And takes her star players with her.

Time:Interview starts at 17:30:01 and ends at 23:49:00
Move the lever to the right toward the 17:30 mark to skip other parts of radio show.

Listen to Part Three: (Pop-up)

Show:AS_IT_HAPPENS
Date:2012/02/15

New York Times on SPICE Chess Move to Webster



New York Times on SPICE Chess Move to Webster

Feb 15, 2012

Webster University recently announced that champion chess Grandmaster Susan Polgar and her Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE) are relocating to Webster University along with a champion chess team.

The St. Louis Beacon called it “a major coup” for Webster, and now The New York Times has covered the move.

The Times talked with Webster Provost and senior vice president Julian Schuster, who helped recruit and hire Polgar:

Mentioning that Webster has campuses in more than 100 places around the world, Mr. Schuster, who grew up in the former Yugoslavia, where chess is popular, said: “I did not grow up in this country. I do not play football. I do not have this connection from the old country. Chess is a global game, and we live in global times. And Webster is a global university.”

The coverage on the National page of the Times also drew the notice of Deb Peterson in her gossip column at stltoday.com, the website for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Webster University attracts Susan Polgar, top ranked chess coach


Webster University attracts Susan Polgar, top ranked chess coach
9:50 PM, Feb 15, 2012
By Ann Rubin
NBC TV - St. Louis (KSDK)

Webster Groves, MO (KSDK) - They've never had a team before. But next year, Webster University will have the top ranked chess team in the nation.

So how did they pull it off?

Texas Tech had that top ranked team, but apparently not the funding to keep them.

So Webster University offered the head of the program, the manager, and many of the players a new home.

"Imagine if you would have like 8 Michael Jordan's or 8 Tom Bradys on a team. It would be insane. But unfortunately there's no funding. And if we don't have funding they would go elsewhere," said manager Paul Truong.

And now that's exactly what's happening.

The head of the Texas Tech chess team is moving to Webster University and taking her best players with her.

Susan Polgar, a grandmaster and former women's world champion, says Webster provided not only the right funding, but the right fit.

"Because they are a global university, because of the location, that it's in the Midwest right in the middle of the country and also, not less importantly that St. Louis is the chess center of America today," said Polgar.

The city is home to both the World Chess Hall of Fame, and the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, places which have already attracted international attention.

"They said it's the Mecca of chess. So for us it was really exciting to hear that international players from half a world away have already heard about the club and St. Louis," explained Tony Rich, Executive Director of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis.




Call it a strategic move. They're counting on the fact that having top level players will attract more top level players to the area.

In fact, Lindenwood University announced it too will be starting a chess team in the fall, complete with scholarships.

They're recruiting from Iceland to India and are looking forward to some stiff collegiate competition.

"We're really glad Webster is starting a chess program so we can make us work harder to make ours stronger. And the players know each other so there will be some friendly competition in the area. If it can be friendly," said Grandmaster and new Lindenwood coach Ben Finegold.

The top ten players from Texas Tech will all be starting at Webster in the fall. Susan Polgar will start June 1st, in time for a summer tournament.

Source: NBC TV - St. Louis KSDK

Making the right move


GM Bykhovsky, GM Meier, IM Neimer, IM-elect Aleskerov, GM Boros, GM Diamant, GM Moradiabadi (missing is GMs So, Robson, and Hoyos)

Chess Coach to Leave Texas Tech With Her Team’s Best in Tow
By DYLAN LOEB McCLAIN
New York Times
Published: February 14, 2012

Imagine if a university without a basketball program recruited Mike Krzyzewski, the legendary coach at Duke University, and not only managed to hire him but also persuaded most of his team to switch with him. In essence, that is what Webster University in St. Louis has done by hiring Susan Polgar, the head of the Texas Tech chess program.

Ms. Polgar, a grandmaster and a former women’s world champion, was hired by Texas Tech University in 2007 to create an elite chess program. The university even named the program after her, calling it the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence, or Spice.

Last April, Texas Tech won the Final Four of Chess, a competition in Herndon, Va., among the top collegiate teams in the country. It was Texas Tech’s first championship since Ms. Polgar arrived at the university.

Now Ms. Polgar and her husband, Paul Truong, the manager of the chess team, are leaving Texas Tech, which is spread over more than 1,800 acres in Lubbock and has more than 32,000 students. They are heading to Webster, a university mostly geared toward postgraduate students around the world, whose main campus in St. Louis is 47 acres. The chess program at Webster will be called Spice.

The top 10 players at Texas Tech — eight grandmasters and two international masters, some of whom had just committed to the university — are also switching. They are scheduled to start in the fall; Ms. Polgar is to begin on June 1. On paper, Webster will have the No. 1 ranked team in the country.

In an interview with KCBD, NBC’s local affiliate in Lubbock, Mr. Truong said the switch was caused by a lack of financial resources at Texas Tech. Ms. Polgar told KCBD that the program grew too quickly for the university to accommodate it.

Chris Cook, a spokesman for Texas Tech, said that budget cuts had affected several teams but that they were still adequately financed. “We are giving the programs what they need to compete,” Mr. Cook said. He said the university intended to hire a new coach and a new manager to succeed Ms. Polgar and Mr. Truong.

Julian Z. Schuster, the provost of Webster University, said he was responsible for recruiting and hiring Ms. Polgar and establishing the team. Mr. Schuster said that he and Ms. Polgar had mutual friends and that he had learned she was thinking about leaving Texas Tech. They exchanged e-mails, and Ms. Polgar went to visit.

“Technically, I don’t know who winked first,” Mr. Schuster said. “You know the old expression: it takes two to tango.”

Mr. Schuster said Webster had an endowment of about $80 million and was financing the new program, including the cost of scholarships, entirely on its own. The financial commitment would run at least long enough for the students who are matriculating, some of whom are freshmen, to graduate. Mr. Schuster said that having a top team would eventually more than pay for itself by raising Webster’s profile and stimulating interest in the university.

Mentioning that Webster has campuses in more than 100 places around the world, Mr. Schuster, who grew up in the former Yugoslavia, where chess is popular, said: “I did not grow up in this country. I do not play football. I do not have this connection from the old country. Chess is a global game, and we live in global times. And Webster is a global university.”

Distinguishing itself from other universities was one of the primary reasons Texas Tech created its chess program five years ago. Other universities — including the University of Texas at Dallas and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County — have made similar decisions.

James A. Stallings, the director of the Dallas chess program, said Webster’s recruitment of such a top team was “unprecedented,” pointing out that most programs start from scratch.

(Coincidentally, just three days before Webster made its announcement on Feb. 3, Lindenwood University, a liberal arts institution just outside of St. Louis that has 17,000 students, said it was starting a chess program and had hired a local grandmaster named Ben Finegold as its coach.)

Mr. Stallings said he was a little concerned from a fairness standpoint about Webster recruiting so many of Texas Tech’s players as well as its coaching staff, but he welcomed the creation of another top program.

“It validates the concept,” Mr. Stallings said. “It is a good thing for scholastic youth in this country.”

Mr. Schuster at Webster said simply, “To use the chess analogy, I think we made the right move.”

Source: http://www.nytimes.comLink

Chess grandmaster Susan Polgar bringing her all-star chess team to Webster


Chess grandmaster Susan Polgar bringing her all-star chess team to Webster
by Andrea Sisney
February 15, 2012

Webster University will advance into a new competitive field next year with the help of a game-changing legend.

In June, chess Grandmaster Susan Polgar will transfer her collegiate program, the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE) and all members of her Division I team from Texas Tech University to Webster.

“We started the SPICE program at Texas Tech five years ago, and the program grew very rapidly,” Polgar said. “We felt it would be a good match to expand and grow our program better at Webster for several reasons.”

Polgar was the first woman in history to qualify for the Men’s World Chess Championship, eventually leading the World Chess Federation to change the tournament’s name. She won a gold medal in the 2004 Chess Olympiad (10 overall with 5 gold in her career), and is the only chess player to have won a Triple Crown — besting competitors at rapid, blitz and classical (women's) chess world championships.

In a press release, President Elizabeth Stroble said Polgar’s move to Webster would improve the university’s global reputation and academic standards, as chess is being recognized worldwide for its benefits. Chess can teach important values like strategic problem solving and the consequences of actions.

“I believe chess is an exciting educational tool,” Polgar said. “That’s probably the most important for me. It is growing by the day around the country, around the world. More and more superintendents, school districts or governments recognize the value chess can give to young people in the skills they develop.”

St. Louis has become a chess center in the United States in recent years. In 2007, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis (CCSCSL) was established in the Central West End. The club, now recognized as one of the premier chess facilities in America, boasts two grandmasters and hosts the U.S. Championship Chess tournament. Its efforts in school programs and national competitions have earned St. Louis a ranking of “Chess City of the Year” by the United States Chess Federation for two consecutive years.

Mike Wilmering, CCSCSL communications specialist, said he’s excited that St. Louis is starting to draw major attention from the chess world.

“We’ve demonstrated a real commitment to promote chess at a national level by hosting tournaments each year,” Wilmering said. “When (players) look around the country and see who’s putting focus and energy into promoting chess, St. Louis is the first thing that comes to mind. We’re working really hard to foster great chess culture all across the greater St. Louis area, and it’s really resonating with other chess communities.”

Wilmering said CCSCSL was not involved in Polgar and Webster’s collaboration. The club has recently worked with Lindenwood University to launch a collegiate chess program. Wilmering said the school came to them last year looking for a chess table, and the beginnings of a team took off from there.

“They (Lindenwood) kind of approached us; we said there is a collegiate chess scene, and we think St. Louis is a fit for it,” Wilmering said. “We’re glad other universities recognize that as well. I hope it creates a positive competitive environment.”

Admissions counselor for Lindenwood, Lauren Nystrom, said the team is only starting to come together.

“We’re just in our recruitment stages right now for chess players,” Nystrom said. “We’ve launched a news release and gotten really positive feedback. We have hired (CCSCSL’s grandmaster-in-residence) Ben Finegold to start a chess team here. We’re excited about this new opportunity. We’re still kind of in the works.”

Polgar is bringing her “A” team from Texas Tech with her to Webster. Chris Cook, managing director of Texas Tech’s office of communications and marketing, said the school will continue having a chess pro.

Source: http://websterjournal.com

Should chess be considered a sport?


A sport of sorts: Should chess be considered a sport?
by The Journal
February 14, 2012

Webster University recently announced it would be the new home of the nation’s No. 1 chess team. The team relocated from Texas Tech University, and the chess program will begin during the 2012-2013 academic year. Two Journal writers debate on whether or not the “gentleman’s game” should be considered a true sport.

No physical activity means the game is not a sport — Andy Arb
Andy Arb is a senior journalism major and staff writer for The Journal

To a die-hard sports fan such as myself, it may seem obvious that chess is not considered a sport. It’s played on a board while sitting in a chair and only requires lifting a one-ounce chess piece a couple inches after 15 minutes of strategic thought.

It takes zero athletic ability to play chess. I am not calling someone an athlete who doesn’t even move when they play their game. I consume more physical activity getting up from the couch for a bathroom break while watching a real sport on television than someone does playing chess.

In various discussions about why chess should be considered a sport, one has argued that it is physically demanding to sit for five-hour chess contests. Sitting through an hour-long lecture class can be as well, but that doesn’t make it a sport.

Don’t get me wrong. I have a lot of respect for those who play chess. It takes some serious mental preparation and strategic thought put into every move. But if I can play against a computer, it’s certainly not a sport.

On May 11, 1997, IBM’s chess computer Deep Blue defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov in a six-game match. Deep Blue won two games while Kasparov won one. Three matches ended in a draw.

I’d like to see a computer on a baseball diamond, basketball court, football field or hockey rink. If the very best in your “sport” cannot defeat a computer, then your “sport” clearly doesn’t require any physical or athletic ability at all.

Chess does require a lot of strategy and planning ahead, which is why a computer is capable of playing and defeating a chess champion. The strategy required to play chess is also a counter argument for those considering chess as a sport.

A lot of other games played on a board require strategy as well, but I don’t see people debating whether or not Battleship, Monopoly or Life should be considered a sport. Checkers, the closest equivalent to chess, doesn’t get nearly the amount of attention in debate over what is considered a sport.

The rules of chess are rather difficult, so not anyone could sit down at a chess table and start playing. It requires sophistication and intelligence, but that doesn’t justify the reasoning for why this board game should be considered a sport.

While sports affiliates like ESPN and Sports Illustrated may report on the next chess prodigies and who is the world champion, it doesn’t automatically mean it’s a sport. While it is entertaining, ESPN broadcasts the National Spelling Bee every year. I’d like to hear the reasoning for why people believe that is a sport.

Some define a sport as having a clear offense and defense, which chess does have. However, it lacks the physical and athletic ability that defines a sport.

Now, if chess was played similarly to the end of the “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” movie, then I’d be more likely to define chess as a sport. Sadly, it is not.

Chess just doesn’t have the physical aspect of the game to be seriously considered as a sport. In fact, it probably took more physical activity for me to write why chess isn’t a sport than for chess players to complete a match.


Unique characteristics define chess as a sport — Joshua Coppenbarger
Josh Coppenbarger is a sophomore journalism and film production major and assistant multimedia editor for The Journal

There seems to be tension when it comes to defining what can be a sport and what can’t. Women get enthusiastic when it comes to curling. Men find it baffling. Americans get angered when the Olympics won’t let American football into the games.

Chess is more than just a game — it’s a sport.

I wouldn’t recommend playing chess to lose weight, but where athletic skill lacks, chess utilizes patience, strategy and accuracy to win the game.

Oxford dictionary defines a sport as, “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.”

The only problem here is chess lacks the ability to be athletic, yet some still consider it a sport.

Like all rules, chess is an exception. The International Olympic Committee believed chess was a sport, so they added the game to their list. It’s not practiced in the actual Olympic games, but chess has its own international league held bi-annually called Fédération Internationale des Échecs — or World Chess Federation.

After all, there’s only so much drama you can create to televise someone capturing the opponent’s queen. It’s more exciting to play than to watch.

Last December, Rex Sinquefield was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. No, the 62-year-old businessman can’t slam dunk, but he did help fund and establish the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, and the World Chess Hall of Fame — both of which are right here in St. Louis.

Even ESPN covers chess. In 2003, they showed a match between Grandmaster Garry Kasparov and computer-based chess board X3D. They also continuously profile players of the game.

So far, internationally and locally, these sports organizations consider chess a sport.

Athletes get up early in the morning to stretch, exercise and train so they can be in their best shape for their competitions. Chess players are no exception. When I used to play — more in elementary school than now — I often woke up early on the weekends, stayed after school to practice, and learn new ways to defeat an opponent for the upcoming tournament that weekend.

Chess is also taken so seriously that players all have their own rankings and are matched depending on the wins and losses of the player. I was never fantastic — I held a 710 for a little bit — though I did manage to snatch more than 10 trophies and plaques in my day.

The lack of physical activity seems to be the common argument against chess being a sport. Good thing chess doesn’t need to be played sitting down or even with a board.

In 2009, Jefferson County in New York held a chess biathlon where skiers raced to different parts of a hill to solve different chess problems, trying to be the first to finish without missing a problem or getting it wrong.

It may take a 3-D board such as one in “Star Trek” for players to move pieces from different levels to be more “active” to qualify as athletic. Perhaps bringing the pieces to life and having players be the chess pieces would suffice for them (see: “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”).

There’s a multitude of ways for chess to be played and still be engaging enough for the sports fanatics to consider it a part of their league. We can’t help but to continue to play in its own traditional way.

So when Webster University announced it will be hosting the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence and all of its “A”-team members will attend school here, I couldn’t help but get excited.

Maybe now Webster students, and hopefully most of the world, can begin to see that chess is much more than a game and as more of a competitive sport.

Source: http://websterjournal.com

Webster U. Snags Texas Tech’s Chess Coach and 10 Top Players



Webster U. Snags Texas Tech’s Chess Coach and 10 Top Players
February 15, 2012, 11:09 am

Big-time college sports teams routinely pluck coaches from smaller programs with fewer resources. Today The New York Times reported on a different sort of coaching raid: Webster University, a private institution in suburban St. Louis, has hired away the head of Texas Tech University’s elite chess program. Susan Polgar, a grandmaster and former women’s world champion, has been at Texas Tech since 2007. Last April her team won the Final Four of Chess. Now she is taking her husband, who manages the team, along with Texas Tech’s top 10 players to Webster, which previously had no chess program. Ms. Polgar told the NBC television affiliate in Lubbock, Tex., that Texas Tech’s chess program had grown too quickly for the university to accommodate it, but a university spokesman disputed that characterization. Webster will finance the new program from its endowment.

Source: http://chronicle.com

Webster’s new chess clubbers get New York Times nod


Webster’s new chess clubbers get New York Times nod
St. Louis Business Journal by Matthew Hibbard, Reporter
Date: Wednesday, February 15, 2012, 5:49pm CST

An article from The New York Times yesterday mentioned the relocation of Texas Tech University ’s chess club in Lubbock, Texas to Webster University in St. Louis.

The move will bring Susan Polgar, head of the Texas Tech chess program, her Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence and its top 10 chess players — eight grandmasters and two international masters, to the city. The students as well as Polgar will join Webster, with Polgar beginning June 1 and the students starting classes in the fall.

Paul Truong, Polgar’s husband, told Lubbock’s NBC affiliate KCBD that the move northward was due to a lack of resources available at Texas Tech. Webster University, on the other hand, has enough resources to fund its chess program due to an $80 million endowment, according to the article.

Polgar is the winner of four world championships and the only world champion in history to win the Triple-Crown (Rapid, Blitz and Classical chess world championships).

Sounds like a well-played move for Webster.

Source: http://www.bizjournals.com

Elsewhere in the news


Your morning roundup for Feb. 15.
Got any stories or photos for us? Tip your editors.

"Imagine if a university without a basketball program recruited Mike Krzyzewski, the legendary coach at Duke University, and not only managed to hire him but also persuaded most of his team to switch with him. In essence, that is what Webster University in St. Louis has done by hiring Susan Polgar, the head of the Texas Tech chess program. Susan Polgar will soon leave to be the coach at Webster University.

Ms. Polgar, a grandmaster and a former women's world champion, was hired by Texas Tech University in 2007 to create an elite chess program. The university even named the program after her, calling it the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence, or Spice. Last April, Texas Tech won the Final Four of Chess, a competition in Herndon, Va., among the top collegiate teams in the country. It was Texas Tech's first championship since Ms. Polgar arrived at the university.

Now Ms. Polgar and her husband, Paul Truong, the manager of the chess team, are leaving Texas Tech, which is spread over more than 1,800 acres in Lubbock and has more than 32,000 students. They are heading to Webster, a university mostly geared toward postgraduate students around the world, whose main campus in St. Louis is 47 acres. The chess program at Webster will be called Spice." [New York Times]

Source: http://deadspin.com

Missouri and St. Louis figure prominently in today's NYT


Missouri and St. Louis figure prominently in today's NYT
BY DEB PETERSON
STLtoday.com
Wednesday, February 15, 2012 11:49 am

The other story, which is on the paper's National page, is about chess grandmaster and former women's world champion, Susan Polgar, moving her chess institute from Texas Tech University to Webster University (which was reported in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Feb. 4).

The move helps solidify St. Louis' growing profile as the top chess city in the nation.

The story leads off by likening the move to a university without a basketball program recruiting Mike Krzyzewski, the legendary coach at Duke University, and persuading most of his team to switch with him.

It says Polgar's institute (saucily known as SPICE -- the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence) will bring the top 10 players at Texas Tech with her and that they will be provided scholarships at Webster that will continue until they graduate.

The article also quotes the director of the University of Texas at Dallas chess program of saying that Webster's recruitment of such a top team was "unprecedented," and that most chess programs start from scratch.

It concludes with a quote from Julian Schuster, Webster's provost, saying: "To use the chess analogy, I think we made the right move."

Read more: http://www.stltoday.com

SPICE on the move to Webster University

New York Times on SPICE Chess Move to Webster
Feb 15, 2012

Webster University recently announced that champion chess Grandmaster Susan Polgar and her Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE) are relocating to Webster University along with a champion chess team.

The St. Louis Beacon called it “a major coup” for Webster, and now The New York Times has covered the move.

The Times talked with Webster Provost and senior vice president Julian Schuster, who helped recruit and hire Polgar:

Mentioning that Webster has campuses in more than 100 places around the world, Mr. Schuster, who grew up in the former Yugoslavia, where chess is popular, said: “I did not grow up in this country. I do not play football. I do not have this connection from the old country. Chess is a global game, and we live in global times. And Webster is a global university.”

The coverage on the National page of the Times also drew the notice of Deb Peterson in her gossip column at stltoday.com, the website for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

By MoSs

Big move to the heartland of America


College poaches chess team, coach
By Dylan Loeb McClain
The Columbus Dispatch
Wednesday February 15, 2012 6:27 AM

Imagine if a university without a basketball program recruited Mike Krzyzewski, the coach at Duke University, and managed not only to hire him but also to persuade most of the team to switch schools. In essence, that is what Webster University in St. Louis has done by hiring Susan Polgar, the head of Texas Tech’s chess program.

Polgar, a grandmaster and former women’s world champion, was hired by Texas Tech University in 2007 to create an elite chess program. The university even named the program after Polgar, calling it the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence, or SPICE.

In April, Texas Tech won the Final Four of Chess in Herndon, Va. It was Texas Tech’s first championship since Polgar arrived.

Now Polgar and her husband, Paul Truong, who is the chess team’s manager, are leaving Texas Tech, which is in Lubbock, Texas, and has more than 32,000 students. They are going to Webster, a university mostly geared to postgraduate students around the world. Its main campus in St. Louis is only 47 acres.

Texas Tech’s top 10 players — eight grandmasters and two international masters, some of whom had just committed to Texas Tech — also are switching universities. They are set to start in the fall. Polgar is to begin on June 1. On paper, Webster will have the top-ranked team in the country.

In an interview with KCBD, NBC’s affiliate in Lubbock, Truong said that the switch was caused by a lack of financial resources at Texas Tech.

Chris Cook, a spokesman for Texas Tech, said that budget cuts had affected several teams but that teams are still adequately financed.

He said that the university intends to hire a new coach and manager to succeed Polgar and Truong.

Julian Z. Schuster, the provost of Webster University, said that he was responsible for recruiting and hiring Polgar and establishing the team at the school. Schuster said that he and the coach have mutual friends, and he learned that she was thinking about leaving Texas Tech. They exchanged emails, and Polgar visited the campus.

“Technically, I don’t know who winked first,” said Schuster, but he added, “You know the old expression: It takes two to tango.”

Schuster said that Webster has an endowment of about $80 million and is financing the new program, including the cost of scholarships, entirely out of its coffers. The financial commitment would run at least long enough for the students who are matriculating, some of whom are freshman, to graduate.

Schuster said that having a top team eventually would more than pay for itself by raising Webster’s profile and stimulating interest in the university.

Mentioning that Webster has campuses in more than 100 places around the world, Schuster, who grew up in the former Yugoslavia, where chess is popular, said, “I did not grow up in this country. I do not play football. I do not have this connection from the old country. Chess is a global game, and we live in global times. And Webster is a global university.”

Source: http://www.dispatch.com

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Költözik Polgár Zsuzsa sakkiskolája


Költözik Polgár Zsuzsa sakkiskolája
WL
Forrás: MTI
2012. február 10., péntek 12:36

Idén júniusban új helyre költözik a Polgár Zsuzsa nevével fémjelzett, egyesült államokbeli egyetemi sakkiskola: a lubbocki Texas Tech University után a következő tanévtől a St. Louis-i Webster University lesz az intézmény székhelye.

A Chess.com internetes szaklap beszámolója szerint a költözést bejelentő legidősebb Polgár nővér azt is közölte, hogy a csapat nyolc vezető tagja is vele tart. A honlap megjegyzi, hogy St. Louis egyre inkább az Egyesült Államok sakk-központjává válik, s ez a mostani lépés is ezt támasztja alá.

Az olimpiai és világbajnok Polgár Zsuzsa azzal indokolta a költözést, hogy a Websteren szélesebb eszköztár áll majd rendelkezésre oktatásai programja, a SPICE (Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence) fejlesztéséhez.

A Texas Tech csapata egyébként címvédő az amerikai egyetemi bajnokságban, s még a költözés előtt – március elején, április végén – megpróbálja megvédeni elsőségét Washingtonban.

„Köszönöm az elmúlt öt évet a Texas Tech Egyetemnek. Olyan valaki vagyok, aki folyamatosan, lassan negyven éve próbálja emelni a lécet, és áttörni a korlátokat a sakkban, így nem mehettem el a Webster egyetemen kínálkozó lehetőség mellett” – írta Polgár Zsuzsa, hozzátéve hogy a közeljövőben több oktatási intézményben is beindítják a SPICE-programot.

Címkék

Source: http://mno.hu/sport

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

St. Louis: the new home of collegiate chess


St. Louis: the new home of collegiate chess
By Ben Finegold, Grandmaster, special to the Beacon
Posted 4:02 pm Wed., 2.8.12

...Webster University stepped into the national chess spotlight after pulling off a major coup by luring GM Susan Polgar and the SPICE program (Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence) to St. Louis. Susan is bringing her championship chess team from Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas, to Webster, along with a number of top players. The Webster team will feature eight grandmasters and two international masters, which creates two formidable teams.

Susan said she felt that this would be a perfect location for her chess team as the Chess Club and Scholastic Center and World Chess Hall of Fame have already made St. Louis the center of chess in the U.S. Susan, her husband Paul Truong, and their family will move permanently to the St. Louis area in June, and the strong grandmasters will soon follow for the fall 2012 semester.

The city of St. Louis is the big winner here, as many of the students in these programs will be able to play in strong events at the Chess Club, and the development of both of these programs will continue to bring international attention to our city. Prior to these monumental announcements, St. Louis was clearly the center of chess in the U.S., and starting in the fall of 2012, I think it would be safe to call us the chess center of the world!

Source: http://www.stlbeacon.org

Polgar leaving Texas Tech, taking championship chess team with her


LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - NBC TV

Texas Tech's chess team, the Knight Raiders, are ranked #1 in the nation, but their head coach and director Susan Polgar is moving to Webster University, and she's taking some of Tech's best players with her. Polgar says the main reason for the move is not enough funding.

Polgar said her goodbyes in a blog post on Friday, praising Texas Tech for their "incredible support" and offering to help them continue the program.

An internationally known, Polgar was named the #1 chess player in the world at age 15, and is described as one of the strongest female chess players in history.

She came to Texas Tech in 2007 to establish SPICE, the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence. "We started from the ground up," said Polgar. "We had just a few students, but we now have 21 students in the SPICE program."

Recruiting players from around the world, Polgar built an unstoppable team that beat top universities like Yale and Harvard. In 2010 Knight Raiders division one made it to the Final Four Championship. In 2011 they won the championship, and this year they've once again made it to the Final Four and are expected to take the trophy home.

Polgar says it's that success that's causing the problem. "We kind of became the victims of our own success. The program grew so fast that the university had difficulty accommodating the fast growth of the program," said Polgar.

Her husband and professional business manager Paul Truong says with the fast growth, SPICE can't keep up with recruiting the best with the funding Tech allots to the chess program.

"A grandmaster is the highest title in chess, and around the world there is maybe 1,200. Tech could potentially have eight grandmasters next year if we would have enough funding," said Truong. "Imagine having eight Michael Jordans or eight Tom Bradys… it would be insane. Unfortunately we don't have funding, and if we don't have funding they go elsewhere."

Originally Tech gave SPICE $15,000 for scholarships, but after they won the championship last year the amount was doubled to $30,000. Polgar says that's simply not enough, and most rival schools will give $30,000 to one player alone. She says the only way the team was able to stay afloat for as long as it did was because of a very generous donation.

"It's not that they didn't want to support the program. I think being a state institution their hands were tied and they weren't at liberty to give as much as perhaps they wanted to," said Polgar.

Tech communication and marketing managing director Chris Cook says that's exactly the case. "With the most recent rounds of budget cuts, we're all experiencing a little tightening in the purse strings so to speak," said Cook. "We have other national championship programs. We did see the importance of the chess program, but you have to meet the needs of all programs while staying in the overall budget."

In addition to Polgar and her husband leaving, eight of the A-Team, or division one, players are following her to Webster University in St. Louis. Polgar says many of them came to Tech solely for the SPICE program, so it's not surprising they're making the move.

"For many of them it was a pretty natural and logical decision. For others who are closer to their graduation here at Tech it was logical to stay," said Polgar.

Polgar says Webster has international campuses and is a private institution that can give more money to the chess program. While her students are going with her – she still says the move is bitter sweet. "It was a very difficult decision I must say," she said. "We love Texas Tech. We love Lubbock and had a lot of support.

The following students have been accepted / committed to Webster University for the Fall 2012 (August):

Grandmaster Georg Meier - Germany - Sophomore
Grandmaster Elshan Moradiabadi - Iran - Graduate student
Grandmaster Anatoly Bykhovsky - Israel - Junior
Grandmaster Andre Diamant - Brazil - Junior
Grandmaster Denes Boros - Hungary - Junior
International Master Vitaly Neimer - Israel - Sophomore
International Master - elect Faik Aleskerov - Azerbaijan - Graduate student

Polgar will continue coaching the Knight Raiders for the Final Four Championship in March.

After she leaves in June, Tech officials will be looking to hire a new coach and director for the chess program.

Source: http://www.kcbd.com

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Leave our meat judging team and Law School moot court team alone


Tech gets checkmated
Submitted by Jon Mark Beilue on Tue, 02/07/2012 - 2:07pm

Hard times for us Texas Tech alums. First, the Red Raiders suffer their first losing football season since 1992. Then the men’s basketball team may not win a Big 12 game — and is proving it each time the Raiders take the court.

Now this. Tech is suffering the indignation of losing its entire national championship chess club. You read it right. The reigning national collegiate champions, and their coach, former world champion Susan Polgar, are leaving for Webster University in St. Louis.

Somehow I feel like I’ve been rooked.

But last Friday, Webster University smugly announced that the Hungarian-born Polgar is moving her Susan Polgar Institute of Chess Excellence (SPICE to the great uninformed) to Webster, and furthermore, taking the whole darn team with it.

Yes, exactly. Goodbye to eight grandmasters -- Georg Meier, Wesley So, Ray Robson, Manuel Leon Hoyos, Elshan Moradiabadi, Anatoly Bykhovsky, Andre Diamant, and Demes Boros, plus international masters Vitaly Neimer and Faik Aleskerov. Gone, just like that. They’re all transferring with Polgar.

This is an outrage. This is like Sul Ross stealing not only Nick Saban, but the rest of the Alabama football team. Call the NCAA. Call Interpol. Call Bobby Fischer (scratch that, he’s dead), but call someone.

It’s bad enough that St. Louis ripped my heart out in the World Series. Now the city is stomping on it. Unbeknownst to me and the rest of America, St. Louis is home to the U.S. Chess Championships, the country’s No. 1 rated player, the World Chess Hall of Fame, and a state-of-the-art chess club.

Retired St. Louis businessman and philanthropist Rex Sinquefield built the multimillion-dollar Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis a few years ago. The club prompted Hikaru Nakamura — the top-rated player in the country and No. 6 in the world — to move to St. Louis.

Mike Wilmering, a chess club spokesman, said the club wasn’t involved in discussions to bring Polgar to St. Louis but was thrilled with the development.

I just bet you are. Why don’t you go ahead and take the iconic Will Rogers statue while you’re at it?

Next year’s Webster team will include those eight ex-Tech grandmasters — something no other collegiate team has ever had, Polgar said. Pouring more salt in Red Raider wounds, the team is expected to be ranked No. 1 in the nation this fall.

Polgar is a five-time Olympic champion. In 1986, she was the first woman to qualify for the Men’s World Championship Cycle. She holds world records for most simultaneous chess games played — 326 — and for most consecutive games played — 1,131.

Polgar said she was grateful for her team’s stint at Tech, where it grow from “literally nothing” in 2007 to its status today. But in the end, she felt that St. Louis was a better home.

I’m not sure we’ve heard the last of this. While many ex-students feel like a pawn in this sordid mess, I wouldn’t expect Tech chancellor Kent Hance to take this lying down. Hance hails from another U.S. chess hotbed, Dimmitt, and may have one or two unexpected moves up his sleeves.

Normally, I would say let’s get Webster on the football schedule and exact some revenge, but the way the 2011 season ended, I’m not so sure that’s a wise move. But, please, Webster, leave our meat judging team and Law School moot court team alone. Right now, that’s about all we got.

Source: http://amarillo.com

Monday, February 06, 2012

TTU a little bland without SPICE


Champion chess team leaving TTU
Reported by: Brittany Price
Last Update: 11:21 pm
FOX 34 TV

The SPICE program is named for coach and founder Susan Polgar. It has brought the university international attention during its four-year run, fielding numerous grandmasters and national champions. Now Polgar and several of her best will head to Webster University near St. Louis.

"We live like one big, happy family," said Vitaly Neimer, Texas Tech student and International Chess Master.

Neimer's devotion to this close-knit group, known as the Knight Raiders, is the reason he will transfer to Webster.


"We were all kind of surprised at first but for me it was very important ...," Neimer said.

It's no surprise that (scholarship) money is at the root of the move.

"We felt like we became the victims of our own speedy success. Tech wasn't able to accommodate the sudden growth of the program," said Susan Polgar. She established the SPICE program four years ago at Texas Tech.

Polgar said Webster University is a private school that is able to offer her players heftier scholarships than Texas Tech.

"In the best interest of the students we felt like we had no choice but to listen to other offers and opportunities for them so they can graduate," Polgar said.

There are 21 players on the Knight Raiders team. Polgar said eight of them (all members of the A team) have already chosen to transfer to Webster.

"Coming to Webster with Susan is very good for us," Neimer said.

Polgar said it was a tough decision to uproot her championship-winning chess team.

"On one hand we love Lubbock and we love Texas Tech University. We built something historic here, a legacy that nobody can take away regardless of the future," Polgar said.

Polgar will transfer to Webster on June first. She will leave behind her one regional, two state, and 12 national titles in Tech's honor.

Source: http://www.myfoxlubbock.com

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Heading to Webster University in St. Louis


Polgar leaving Texas Tech, taking championship chess team with her
Posted: Feb 04, 2012 2:20 PM CST
Updated: Feb 04, 2012 2:57 PM CST
By Michael B. Duff

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Susan Polgar and her national champion chess team are leaving Texas Tech, headed to Webster University in St. Louis.

The Wall Street Journal quotes a Texas Tech representative who says, "We're disappointed that they've chosen to transfer rather than continue their education here but we do wish them the best in that. They've represented us well in chess."

Polgar said her goodbyes in a blog post on Friday, praising Texas Tech for their "incredible support" and offering to help them continue the program.

Polgar brought the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE) to Texas Tech in 2007 and recruited players from all over the world.

Now these A-team players are set to follow her to St. Louis.

The following students have been accepted / committed to Webster University for the Fall 2012 (August):

Grandmaster Georg Meier - Germany - Sophomore
Grandmaster Wesley So - Philippines - Freshman
Grandmaster Ray Robson - USA - Freshman
Grandmaster Manuel Leon Hoyos - Mexico - Freshman
Grandmaster Elshan Moradiabadi - Iran - Graduate student
Grandmaster Anatoly Bykhovsky - Israel - Junior
Grandmaster Andre Diamant - Brazil - Junior
Grandmaster Denes Boros - Hungary - Junior
International Master Vitaly Neimer - Israel - Sophomore
International Master - elect Faik Aleskerov - Azerbaijan - Graduate student

"No team in the long and prestigious history of college chess has had eight Grandmasters before," Polgar said.

A press release from Webster University describes Polgar as "one of the strongest female chess players in history."

Polgar is the winner of four world championships and the only world champion in history - male or female - to win the Triple-Crown (Rapid, Blitz and Classical Chess world championships).

She is the first woman to break the gender barrier to qualify for the Men's World Championship Cycle, earn the Men's Grandmaster title, and to receive the Grandmaster of the Year Award. In 2011, Polgar became the first female head coach to lead a men's Division 1 team (Texas Tech University) to the national title.

Source: http://www.kcbd.com

Chess queen to St. Louis


Chess queen to St. Louis
February 4, 2012 By Mike Lear

St. Louis is already a chess Mecca, and it is about to add to that reputation.

Four-time world chess champion Susan Polgar is bringing her Institute for Chess Excellence from Texas Tech to Webster University, and that includes her 2011 collegiate championship team.

Next year’s Webster team will boast eight grandmasters; a collegiate first.

St. Louis is already home to the U.S. Chess Championships, the country’s top rated player and the World Chess Hall of Fame.

Source: http://www.missourinet.com

Polgar, SPICE to leave Tech, cites lack of resources for move


Cover story

Polgar, SPICE to leave Tech, cites lack of resources for move
Posted: Sunday, February 5, 2012 5:29 pm
By Summer Chandler
Contributing Writer

Susan Polgar and the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence will relocate from Texas Tech to Webster University in St. Louis, Mo., in June.

Polgar said eight students, all members of the “A” team of the 20-person Tech chess team have transferred or have committed to Webster University for the 2012-2013 academic year.

“One of the big elements and attractions was — obviously beyond the commitment of Webster to support chess and the chess program — is their global aspect,” Polgar, director of SPICE and head coach of the Knight Raiders chess team, said. “They are a global university. They already have numerous campuses worldwide, from Europe to Asia, and plan to expand that even further. And chess, being perhaps the most international game there is, I think it is a perfect match from that perspective. I think it’s a wonderful fit for SPICE.”

Polgar and her husband Paul Truong, coach and director of marketing and public relations for SPICE, said Webster University’s commitment to growing the SPICE program was one of the primary motivators for the move. Truong said he believes the chess program grew faster than officials with either SPICE or Tech anticipated, which led to insufficient resources to grow the program.

“We are, in a way, the enemy of our own success. I don’t think anybody — us or the administrators of the university — could ever expect how fast the program grew,” he said. “And, unfortunately, when you are a state institution, you know, the president, or let’s say the provost or the chancellor, cannot just make a decision that, ‘OK, tomorrow I am going to give you a million dollar budget for chess.’ It doesn’t work that way.”

However, Truong said he believes the unavailability of resources led to an unfortunate situation that limited the program’s ability to recruit players.

“From the previous president, to the provost, to the vice-provost, to the current administration, they are all very supportive,” he said. “The problem is, their hands are tied. When we have a list of so many students that out of all the universities in the world, they want to choose this location — we don’t have enough scholarships to offer everybody.

“And it’s one of those very unfortunate situations. If we like the status quo, if we are OK with, say, 20 players on the team or in the program, or let’s say having a few Grandmasters, it’s OK. But, we get to the point where we are the No. 1 program in America — and probably in the world — and everyone wants to come here. Something has to give.”

While Truong said Tech, as a state university, was limited in scholarships and methods to recruit world-renown chess players, Chris Cook, managing director of communications and marketing said Tech’s chess foundation is fully focused on recruiting excellent chess students.

“We have — and are still going to have a great chess program,” he said, “that will recruit students not just nationally but internationally as well. We’re focused on our future and toward expansion.”

Cook said the chess program at Tech would not end with Polgar’s transition to another university.

“You have to commend Susan for all she has done for Texas Tech,” he said. “One of the reasons why our chess program is so strong is because of her involvement and we hope to build on that strength.”

Cook said the university will work to hire a new director, a new coach and a new outreach coordinator for the team.

While he did not know if Tech is going to keep the SPICE program in name, keeping a high-quality chess program is a goal for Tech.

“As to a high-quality chess program that is representative of what Susan established is definitely on the radar,” Cook said. “She does leave big shoes to fill, but what she has built here isn’t something we’re going to just let go away. First and foremost, we want the Tech name attached to it, and that’s what were going to do.”

On average, Truong said chess team members maintain between a 3.35 and 3.4 GPA and have a diverse range of backgrounds and majors.

“As a group, it’s a very high score, very high grades,” he said. “Our students are very diversified when it comes to majors, from math, to law, to engineering, to psychology, English, Spanish, finance, business. I mean, you name it, we have it.”

When asked why such a program — a national-champion team with a roster of academically achieving and diverse students — did not receive the resources Polgar and Truong thought necessary to grow SPICE, Cook said the university has to balance the needs of its many successful programs.

“We have a lot of successful programs and they all deserve more, they all do,” he said. “I can’t answer that question on chess accurately without knowing the exact figures. We have other national championships across the board: moot court, livestock judging, meat judging. There are a lot of them. We have a lot successful programs and I think they are all treated very fairly.”

Polgar said announcing the move now does not mean her job at Tech is finished.

“We’re still here and we’re still here until the end of May,” she said. “We still have big challenges ahead of us. Our team will compete in the Southwest Collegiate Championship in two weeks, and then of course we have another big event in Chicago for them gearing all of them up for the (College Chess) Final Four, where we hope to defend our title.

“So, we’re not done yet; we’re still here. Our heart is fully here with Texas Tech and with the students, and to bring more pride to Texas Tech.”

The Tech Division 1 chess team is the current reigning national collegiate chess championship team and will defend the title at the College Chess Final Four, March 31 through April 1 in Washington, D.C.

Source: http://www.dailytoreador.com

Susan Polgar makes a move to St. Louis


Susan Polgar makes a move; Texas Tech chess coach and grand master leaving for St. Louis university

Posted: February 4, 2012 - 9:34pm
By Adam D. Young
AVALANCHE-JOURNAL


Polgar, a world and Olympic chess champion, will transfer her Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence to Webster University starting June 1.

Chess Grandmaster Susan Polgar is making a move, uprooting the chess institute created in her name at Texas Tech and her national-championship-winning chess team to a private university near St. Louis, Polgar and officials for both universities confirmed.

Polgar, a world and Olympic chess champion, will transfer her Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence to Webster University starting June 1, likely ending the institute’s five years in Lubbock.

In addition, all members of the reigning national collegiate champion Texas Tech “A” chess team will transfer to Webster and be enrolled at the university in the 2012-2013 academic year, Polgar said.

Polgar called the planned move to Webster a “tough decision” based in part on Webster’s enthusiasm and commitment to hosting a world-class chess institute and obstacles SPICE has encountered with Tech being limited as a state university, including budgetary constraints and other problems.

“We love Lubbock and we love Texas Tech, and we’ll always feel a connection,” she said. “I’m definitely proud of our record from making it to the final four of the national championship in our first year in division one to winning the championship last year.”

Polgar praised Tech administrators for their support of SPICE, but said problems at Tech were hindering the program from expanding as she would prefer, especially in scholarships.

She mentioned SPICE recently was interested but struggled in recruiting a handful of young, international and U.S. championship and grand master chess players.

“We simply weren’t in a position to say, ‘Yes, we have a scholarship for you here,’ ” she said. “Administrators did the very best they could do. However, Texas Tech, being a state institution, they had some constraints they couldn’t step over.”

Chris Cook, a spokesman for Tech, praised Polgar for her achievements at the university, but said the university is committed to expanding its chess program, even as the grand master departs.

“We’re excited about the future of our program,” he said, adding the university plans to begin the process of recruiting a new coach and director and to fill a newly created outreach coordinator position. Cook said the university also planned to increase permanent staff and scholarship funds for its chess program, though he did not have specific numbers late Saturday.

Webster, a university with an enrollment of about 21,000 students, was eager to attract SPICE as part of the university’s efforts to develop several worldwide centers for excellence, Julian Z. Schuster, Webster University provost and senior vice president, told The Avalanche-Journal on Saturday.

“Our mission is to become a premiere global university,” he said.

He said SPICE’s mission to serve as the nation’s premier center for chess education, research, technology and outreach would work well at Webster.

“Our partnership with Susan Polgar and SPICE at Webster will allow us to support and promote competitive chess at the college level,” Schuster said in a Webster news release. “Chess has always been a global game and this important step brings a global game in these global times to a truly global university. We are excited to further enhance the image of St. Louis as a global chess center.”

Polgar said she was impressed with Webster’s vision to invest in her program promoting excellence in a game more than 1 billion people play around the world.

“SPICE, therefore, is a perfect fit for Webster University’s global vision and presence, and I am extremely impressed with Webster’s commitment to excellence in chess and education,” she said in a statement on her blog. “I am also very excited to be in the St. Louis area, near the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, the hot spot for chess in the United States.”

On Saturday, Schuster denied Webster initiated efforts to recruit Polgar from Tech, but said his university was in talks with her over the course of several months as she considered pursuing several options to advance SPICE.

Polgar said the move to Webster started as casual conversations with leadership at the private school that developed into her believing Webster and St. Louis would be the best fit for her program.

She said she plans to continue as head coach of Tech’s Knight Raiders chess team in its efforts to win a national title for the second year in a row later this month and in March.

Source: http://lubbockonline.com