Monday, June 4, 2012

SPICE - Knight Raiders Accomplishments



Here are the final accomplishments of the SPICE in four years (2008-2012) at Texas Tech (15 national, 2 state, and 2 regional titles):

National titles

2012 College Chess Final Four (Herndon, VA)

Division I National Team Champion
(GM Meier, GM Moradiabadi, GM Bykhovsky, GM Diamant, GM Boros, IM Neimer)

2012 United States g15 Open Championship (Albuquerque, NM)

National Individual Champion
- GM Georg Meier

2012 United States g15 Open Championship (Albuquerque, NM)

National under 2000 Individual Co-Champions
- Zachary Haskin & Trey Modlin

2011 College Chess Final Four (Herndon, VA)

Division I National Team Champion (GM Bykhovsky, GM Kuljasevic, IM Sipos, GM Diamant, SM Aleskerov)

2011 PanAm Intercollegiate Chess Championships (Fort Worth, TX)

Board 3 Division I National Co-Champion - GM Denes Boros

Board 4 Division I National Champion
- GM Andre Diamant

Texas Tech qualified for the College Chess Final Four for 3rd consecutive year (Meier, Bykhovksy, Boros, Diamant)

2010 PanAm Intercollegiate Chess Championships (Milwaukee, WI)


Division II National Team Champion (Watters, Flores, Lelko, Cassidy, Osbourn)
Division IV National Team Champion (Haskin, Kamphorst, James, Roy)
Board 2 Division I National Champion – GM Andre Diamant
Board 3 Division I National Champion – GM Anatoly Bykhovsky
Texas Tech qualified for the College Chess Final Four for 2nd consecutive year (Kuljasevic, Diamant, Bykhovsky, Sipos)

2009 PanAm Intercollegiate Chess Championships
(South Padre Island, TX)


Board 1 Division I National Champion – IM Davorin Kuljasevic
Board 3 Division I National Champion – IM Gergely Antal
Division IV National Team Champion (Osbourn, Haskin, James, Parkhomenko, Shah)
Texas Tech A qualified for the College Chess Final Four in its first try in Division I (Kuljasevic, Papp, Antal, Watters)

2009 Tournament of College Champions (Irvine, CA)


National Division I Individual Champion – IM Gergely Antal

2008 PanAm Intercollegiate Chess Championships
(Fort Worth, TX)


Board 1 Division I National Champion – IM Gergely Antal

Regional titles

2011 Southwest Collegiate Championship - Regional (Dallas, TX)

Division I team champion (GM Bykhovsky, GM Moradiabadi, GM Diamant, GM Boros, IM Neimer, IM-elect Aleskerov)

2009 Southwest Open – Regional (Fort Worth, TX)
Regional Division I Individual Champion – IM Gergely Antal

State titles

2009 Texas State Collegiate Championships (Houston, TX)
State Division I Individual Champion – IM Gergely Antal
State Division I Team Champion – Texas Tech

Head Coach: GM Susan Polgar
Coach: FM Paul Truong

Starting in July 2012, Texas Tech will have a new Director for Chess, Mr. Al Lawrence, and Head Coach, GM Alex Onischuk. I wish the Knight Raiders the best of luck in future. It has been a wonderful tenure at Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas.

The SPICE program is now at Webster University in St. Louis, MO (www.websterchess.com

My Life Through Pictures and Music


Some of the interesting people I met during my chess career:

President Mikhail Gorbachev, President George HW Bush, World Champion Bobby Fischer, World Champion Boris Spassky, World Champion Anatoly Karpov, World Champion Mikhail Tal, World Champion Vishy Anand, World Champion Mikhail Botvinnik, World Champion Vasily Smyslov, World Champion Veselin Topalov, World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, World #1 Magnus Carlsen, World Champion Alexander Khalifman, Oscar winner Jane Fonda, Oscar winner Michael Douglas, Oscar winner Robin Williams, Oscar winner Meryl Streep, Oscar winner Paul Newman, Grammy winner Josh Groban, Tony winner Sutton Foster, Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Governor George Pataki, Best-selling author Katherine Neville, Grammy nominee Bering Strait, IM Josh Waitzkin, US Champion Lev Alburt, Philanthropist Rex Sinquefield, Grand Slam champion Monica Seles, NBA champion Kareem Abdul Jabbar, World Boxing champion Arthur Abraham, etc.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Adding and subtracting chess excellence


Webster University adding chess excellence
May 2, 2012

ST. LOUIS – Susan Polgar introduced the possibility of change shortly after her chess team's achievement, the choice either to stay or leave each player's decision alone.

On Dec. 30, the grandmaster and Texas Tech coach addressed her 18-member squad in a conference room at a hotel in Fort Worth, Texas. It was minutes after they had competed at the Pan American Intercollegiate Chess Championships and clinched their third consecutive appearance in the college chess Final Four.

An opportunity was available. Webster University, a small private school in suburban St. Louis, had offered Polgar a position to start a chess program. Scholarship funding for her team at Texas Tech was limited, so in recent months she had explored options elsewhere.

During the meeting at the hotel, Polgar stressed the importance of self-evaluation. She told her students there was a chance to create at Webster, but she also advised them to choose what was best for their own futures. As in preparation for a chess game, she told her players to approach the options with logic before making a decision.

More than four months later, Polgar and nine students who were present in that room – including each member of the two-time defending national champion Division I team – are preparing for their transition to St. Louis. With it, they will face challenges involved with change as they attempt to build a program together. With it, they will face opportunity as they grow through shared anticipation and struggle.

Polgar likes to say that change is the only constant in life. Soon, she and the rest of her team will discover what their new chapter will teach them.

"Sometimes, change is good," Polgar, who plans to move to St. Louis in early June, told FOXSports.com. "Sometimes, life creates circumstances that you have to be proactive and look for the change and just go with it. … Circumstances change, and you have to be ready to adapt to the changes. As long as the changes are not going in a negative direction – it's at least comparable or better – there's no reason to feel bad about it. You have to accept it as part of life."

Change has been part of Polgar's life, and it has made her one of the world's most recognized figures in chess. She was born and raised in Budapest, Hungary, and she quickly became one of the game's rising stars. At age 12, she earned her first world title by claiming the World Chess Championship for girls under 16. At age 15, she became the world's top-rated female player. And at age 16, she became the first woman to qualify for the World Chess Championship.

Polgar, 43, moved to New York City in 1994, and she continued to build her reputation within the game. In 2003, the United States Chess Federation named her "Grandmaster of the Year," the first woman to receive the honor. And in 2007, Texas Tech hired her to lead a chess program within a region more known for its passions of oil and football.

With time, though, Texas Tech became a power under her guidance. Her Division I team captured its second consecutive national championship in early April in suburban Washington, D.C., making Polgar the first woman to lead a men's Division I team to consecutive titles.

By that point, though, Polgar knew more change would come for her and her squad. The previous year, shortly after Texas Tech had claimed its first national championship, Polgar had hoped the university would promise more funding for scholarships for her students, some of whom she had recruited from countries such as Brazil, Israel and Azerbaijan. The program had survived with the help of a private donor, but assistance was running out.

As months passed, little changed with the situation. She grew less optimistic that they money would come. So early last summer, Polgar began looking. She spoke to about six schools, with Webster being the last one, about making a switch.

"We love Texas Tech, and we appreciate the opportunity the university gave us here," Polgar said. "We just feel they weren't able to commit timely for the scholarships for our students. I personally thought at least a moral obligation to my students, whom I recruited personally from all around the world. … It seemed about a year ago, it clearly seemed the funding was not there toward their scholarships."

Meanwhile, Julian Schuster, Webster's provost and senior vice president, sensed an opportunity. Last summer, he learned through a grandmaster in Texas that Polgar was considering a move. A former chess player, Schuster became interested in the game's value as a tool to sharpen students' critical and creative thinking skills. He wanted to start a program at Webster.

Late last year, Schuster approached Polgar with an offer to make the 47-acre campus in Webster Groves, Mo., her new home. Her background had intrigued him: He considered her an "educated chess player" and "arguably one of the strongest female players in the history of the game." He promised ample funding for her students, an environment within an urban setting with a strong chess culture and a global reach with international campuses in countries such as Austria, China, Thailand, Switzerland, Great Britain and the Netherlands.

Polgar was pleased with the pitch presented by Webster leadership. By January, an agreement was made: She would lead the school's program.

"Change is never easy," Schuster said. "You go from known to unknown. You know with the unknown there is always an anxiety. … The biggest challenge is with great power comes great possibility. They have repeated as champions in the last two years. We at Webster would expect that they continue the winning streak. It is not easy being first. … The challenge is to continue on the trajectory of success."

There also is a challenge knowing what will be left behind at Texas Tech. Polgar and Paul Truong, an assistant coach, have bittersweet feelings about the move. They are eager for the opportunity at Webster.

But they also realize they created a recognized program in west Texas that made an impact through outreach chess events and by hosting numerous local, regional and national competitions. New routines must be made with their move to St. Louis.

But they also understand change presents a chance for growth. Polgar views the transition as no different than any other life cycle: Visions, like the people who carry them, mature with time. And on occasion, a move is necessary to allow a dream to reach its full potential.

"We can adapt to this very easily, because we are all chess players," Truong said. "As chess players, you have to adapt to constant changes. It doesn't matter how much preparation you put into a game – you can guess your opponent will play a certain opening or prepare something for you and you prepare something to counter that – but when you get to the board, things can change rapidly.

"There are big surprises. You don't have time to go back to the drawing board – you have to make decisions on the board instantly. … For chess players, it's like, OK, you see a problem in front of you, and you have to find a solution."

Polgar anticipates some time will be required to grow comfortable at Webster. There will be small adjustments, like finding new friends and new doctors and even a new hairdresser. But there will be a larger transition as well: She will work to maintain the success her program enjoyed at Texas Tech, all while shaping a new legacy.

After all, anticipation will follow her to the Midwest. The New York Times compared her move to a school previously without basketball hiring Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. Truong has likened the team's depth to having eight Tom Bradys or Michael Jordans on the roster. Polgar will work to meet a standard of her own creation, and observers will anticipate results fast.

But in the process, she will receive help from students who trust her. They value their connection. The Webster announcement surprised some, but others were eager to join what U.S. News & World Report has ranked as a Tier 1 institution.

Both Polgar and her team – she estimates she will have at least 14 players when most students report to campus in mid-August – will live the transition together. Change has taught them to be flexible. Change has taught them to move forward with an open mind.

"It wasn't a tough decision, exactly," said grandmaster Anatoly Bykhovsky, a sophomore from Israel who will join Polgar at Webster this fall. "I just love my coach, and it was pretty much my decision. It didn't take me too long."

Source: http://www.foxsportsmidwest.com

Monday, April 23, 2012

Knight Raiders address rumors, issues regarding move to Webster University


Knight Raiders address rumors, issues regarding move to Webster University
Posted: Monday, April 23, 2012 8:48 pm
By Nicole Molter
Staff Writer
Daily Toreador - Dept. of Student Media, Texas Tech University

Nine of the current Knight Raiders will transfer to Webster University in St. Louis with Susan Polgar, director of Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence, and Paul Truong, director of marketing for SPICE, in June.

The players staying behind said they are sad to see these members go, but are optimistic about the future of chess at Texas Tech.

“I’ve spoken to the group on several occasions,” said Juan Muñoz, vice provost for undergraduate education. “I’ve assured them that chess is going to continue at Texas Tech. We plan to hire very, very highly accomplished people, and we plan to be competitive. We plan to continue to recruit students to play and to attend Texas Tech and to be exceptional students and equally accomplished players.”

There has been some confusion about the continuation of the chess at Tech and funds available to the program, said Brett James, a junior from Richmond with a concentration in pre-med.

“A lot of the papers that have been coming out lately – it got picked up by over 500 ones across the U.S., like ESPN, Yahoo, Associated Press, NPR News, New York Times, Wall Street (Journal), all these big newspaper articles, some even foreign – basically they’re saying the wrong thing,” James said.

There will be a team for the fall, he said. More than half of the current team is staying. A new director, coach and outreach coordinator will be hired. An outreach coordinator is a full-time position the team has never had before.

“I have formed a search committee,” Muñoz said, “which is comprised of staff and students. It’s chaired by our vice provost, former U.S. ambassador, Tibor Nagy. They’ve been meeting for weeks and have already identified three finalists (for coach).”

The team will have more scholarship funds than ever before, Muñoz said. A recent private pledge of approximately $280,000 will be divided during the course of four years. The program also has about $50,000 in annual permanent institutional dollars for scholarships.

The team has a separate operational budget he said, which will be used for transportation, food and hotel expenses.

“The money we have right now is good enough to fill the team that has already won the title twice,” James said. “It’s just not enough for maybe twice the size and more Grandmasters to keep coming, like the team was becoming. So Webster wants to have that, and that’s great but, you know, they’re a private school. They can have a little bit more money than Tech can, but Tech definitely has enough support here to have a championship team just like they did the last two years.”

Trey Modlin, a freshman undeclared major from Shaker Heights, Ohio, is confident about the Knight Raiders growing as a team. People are attracted to the school as much as they are to the chess program, he said.

Modlin visited the campus and the chess team before making the decision to come to Tech.

“I didn’t feel overwhelmed by being there,” he said, “and (the chess team) even let me get in on some training, so I wasn’t just being an observer.”

The interest in the chess program is growing in schools, James said. The Knight Raiders hosted the fifth annual Lubbock Open at the Science Spectrum in January.

“We used rooms that we’ve never had before with like 100 students in there by itself,” he said. “All the tournaments are over 100 students now. When I first got here there were like 70 to 80.”

The team may not be as competitive with the loss of the top players, James said.

“It’s definitely going to be a transition year,” he said, “kind of like the football team where we switched from Mike Leach. Now we have (head football coach Tommy) Tuberville.”

Replacing such a good coach is hard, James said. A lot of people are doubtful right now, but the team has a lot to look forward to in the next year starting with our practices in early September.

“(Susan) has incredible knowledge of chess,” he said. “She’s a good coach, but everybody has their own perspective. There’s all kinds of great coaches out there. We’re going to have another strong coach in the fall and we plan to keep winning titles, too. Basically, we want the campus to be confident and support us, just realize that we’re here.”

Source: http://www.dailytoreador.com

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Texas Tech Repeats at Final Four of College Chess


Texas Tech Repeats at Final Four of College Chess
By Jamaal Abdul-Alim
April 3, 2012

Herndon, Va. – Under any other circumstances, GM Andrew Diamant of Texas Tech would have given up in a lost position such as the one he found himself playing against GM Conrad Holt of UT Dallas here over the weekend.

But when Diamant learned that the only way the Texas Tech Knight Raiders could defend their title as America’s top college chess team was to win or draw, Diamant decided to fight it out for what proved to be an exciting duel that lasted until only seconds remained on both players’ clocks.

“In a normal game, I would resign because my position was terrible,” Diamant said of his Round 3 game against Holt in a three-round tournament known as the Final Four of Chess.

“But when I figured out it was the last game to decide who will be the champion, I knew the pressure was on him, not only me,” Diamant said.

Their hands literally shook as they made their final moves. Diamant’s decision to battle it out under pressure ultimately paid off for Texas Tech, the only team to score a victory against Holt, who was the only player to enter Round 3 with 2 points.

“Sometimes what happens is I start to blunder almost every move,” explained Holt, who had what he described as a “totally winning position” against Diamant.

“I made many mistakes and eventually it’s a draw,” said Holt -- who counted 36. …. Rb2, enabling Diamant to follow with 37. Rxe6 -- as his first in a series of mistakes.

The draw – along with several other factors – ultimately enabled the Red Raiders to emerge with 8 points as the 2012 winners of the President’s Cup, which is awarded to the victor of the Final Four of Chess.

UMBC and UT Dallas, both longstanding contenders in the Final Four, each tied for second with 7.5 points, and NYU came in fourth.

“I’m very proud of my team and it’s a result of hard work throughout the year, the effort that we’ve done,” Texas Tech Head Coach GM Susan Polgar said of her team’s successful defense of her teams back-to-back championships.

“It’s very fulfilling, of course,” said Polgar, who is moving her chess program, known as the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence, or SPICE, to Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, this fall.

The President’s Cup, however, will remain at Texas Tech until whichever team wins it next.

As happened last year, Texas Tech’s victory hinged on another last-round game, this time between NM Evan Rosenberg of NYU and IM Sasha Kaplan of UMBC.

Observers noted that in many ways, the tournament was decided by a team’s ability to sweep NYU, whose collective strength, at least based on ratings and titles, did not rival that of the three other teams.

Consider, for instance, that NYU was the only team that made it to the Final Four with only one IM and without any GMs, while the other teams were able to put GMs on just about every board.

Still, UMBC and UT Dallas yielded a draw each to NYU while Texas Tech swept NYU.

“When Texas Tech swept NYU and the others couldn’t, that was the delta,” said Mark Herman, executive vice president of Booz Allen Hamilton, a strategy and technology consulting firm that hosted and sponsored the Final Four of Chess, using “delta” as a mathematical term for difference.

As it did last year, Booz Allen Hamilton hosted the Final Four not only to support and advance the game of chess, but rather to recruit talent from among the best players in the world of collegiate chess.

Indeed, the firm extended an invitation to members of all four teams to explore internship opportunities with Booz Allen Hamilton – a significant development given the fact that last year the firm only offered internships to members of the team that won the Final Four.

Several players indicated a serious interest in taking the firm up on its offer.

Among them was IM Vitaly Neimer, 24, a freshman majoring in finance at Texas Tech. Neimer noted the similarities between the mathematical and analytical skills used in the game of chess and those required in finance, one of the areas in which Booz Allen Hamilton offers services.

“Many times in a game, you need to change the plan of the game,” Neimer said. “Also in finance, you need to change how you react.”

Herman, the Booz Allen Hamilton executive, said the nation’s top collegiate chess players represent a rich pool of talent.

“I’ve got a room full of the best critical thinkers that you’re going to find anywhere,” Herman said. “Why wouldn’t I want to recruit them?”

Jamaal Abdul-Alim will also be writing an article for Chess Life Magazine on the Final Four.

www.uschess.org

Tech Knight Raiders win second national championship


Tech Knight Raiders win second national championship, prep for move to St. Louis
By Nicole Molter
Staff Writer
Daily Toreador - Dept. of Student Media, Texas Tech University
Posted: Tuesday, April 3, 2012 10:01 pm

Susan Polgar, head coach of the Knight Raiders and director of the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence, led the Texas Tech chess team to a second win at the Final Four national competition in Washington D.C.

Polgar is the first woman in history to lead a men’s Division I team to two straight national championships.

“It feels really good,” Polgar said. “We proved ourselves that last year was not an accident.”

The competition began Friday and concluded Sunday, with the Knight Raiders claiming the title of the country’s top intercollegiate team at the President’s Cup, the main Final Four of College Chess event.

“It was a really close competition between UT Dallas and UMBC,” Polgar said. “We scored eight points and UT and UMBC tied second with seven-and-a-half. We just won by half a point.”

Anatoly Bykhovsky, a sophomore finance major from Israel, said UT Dallas and UMBC were tough competitors, but it felt great to have finished in first place, despite the closeness of the competition.

Andre Diamant, a sophomore economics major from Brazil, competed at nationals with the team last year, as well.

“This year was harder,” he said. “I played the last game and I had a worse position. I needed to draw this game so the team gets to be a champion.”

Bykhovsky, Diamant, Georg Meier, a freshman finance major from Germany, and Elshan Mordiabadi, a business graduate student from Iran, participated in the tournament. Denes Boros, a sophomore psychology major from Hungary, and Vitaly Neimer, a freshman finance major from Israel, were two alternates who also attended.

After this year, all eight members of the “A” team, including Diamant and Bykhovsky, will be transferring with Polgar to Webster University in St. Louis this fall.

“The SPICE team, as you know, many of them are transferring to Webster University, along with the SPICE program,” Polgar said, “but the SPICE team is trying to win, of course, in the future as well. I know we have many competitors in the future.”

According to the Webster University Chess website, the university previously has never had a chess team on campus. Better funding provides opportunities to maintain the high level of the SPICE program and recruitment of student players.

“For the first four years of the program, we basically relied on a large donation from one generous donor to fund a little bit more than four full scholarships which is equivalent to $80,000 per year,” Polgar said.

The money was divided between 21 students currently in the SPICE program, she said. The donation was running out, which would prevent many of the Division I National Championship team members from graduating.

“My family and I are very fond of Lubbock and Texas Tech and we would have loved to have the opportunity to remain with Tech for years to come,” Polgar said. “But the welfare of my students comes first and that is why I had to look for various alternatives for them. They played their hearts out for me and I had to make sure that they all can graduate from school.”

SPICE would have preferred to stay at Tech, Polgar said.

“Only after SPICE and the entire Division I national championship team made a commitment to move to Webster University, we got the news that the donor agreed to continue the funding,” she said. “In addition, Texas Tech also decided to allocate a substantial amount of money for annual chess scholarships. If this would have happened timely, the entire team and the SPICE program would have remained at Texas Tech.”

Polgar said the Knight Raiders would have no trouble securing funding after her leave. She said she currently does not know who will take her place.

“The new director of the Texas Tech chess program and the new head coach will have more institutional scholarship dollars next year than what I had in the entire first four years,” she said. “I hope that with the abundant scholarship budget starting next year, the Knight Raiders will continue to thrive and make the Final Four next year to defend its title and for many more years after that.”

Webster University is located in St. Louis, home to the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, the World Chess Hall of Fame and U.S. Championship Chess. St. Louis is an area rich in chess history, which will provide a welcoming atmosphere for the SPICE program.

Under the coaching of Polgar, the chess team won a total of 15 national, two state and two regional titles in four years, qualifying for the Final Four each year when competing in Division I and winning back-to-back Final Four titles.

“Texas Tech now has a serious reputation of excellence in the chess community,” Polgar said. “This should make the recruiting process of chess stars and superstars much easier than when we began from scratch in the fall of 2007. I am very thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful institution in the past five years. It has been an incredible experience and we made a lot of history together.”

Source: http://www.dailytoreador.com

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Knight Raiders Win Second Straight National Championship


Knight Raiders Win Second Straight National Championship
The Texas Tech chess team claims the President's Cup event in Washington, D.C.
Written by Karin Slyker
April 1, 2012

The Texas Tech University Knight Raiders are national champions – again.

For the second straight year the Knight Raiders won the President’s Cup, a premier event that is known as the Final Four of College Chess and determines the country’s top intercollegiate team.

The three-day event in Washington, D.C. began Friday and concluded Sunday with the Knight Raiders repeating as national champions with eight points. The University of Texas at Dallas and University of Maryland Baltimore County finished second with 7.5 points each, and New York University finished fourth.

Susan Polgar, Knight Raiders head coach and director of the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE), is the first woman in history to lead a men’s Division I team to two straight national championships.

“It was total teamwork. Nothing was decided until the final second,” Polgar said. “We are very proud and happy to bring another Final Four Championship to Texas Tech.”

Knight Raiders who participated in the tournament are GM Georg Meier, a freshman finance major from Germany; GM Elshan Mordiabadi, a business graduate student from Iran; GM Anatoly Bykhovsky, a sophomore finance major from Israel; and GM Andre Diamant, a sophomore economics major from Brazil. Also in accompaniment are two alternates: GM Denes Boros, a sophomore psychology major from Hungary; and IM Vitaly Neimer, a freshman finance major from Israel.

The SPICE program is a unit of the Division of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement.

Over 125 pictures here: https://picasaweb.google.com/116302832360230031699/2012FinalFour

Tech chess wins Final Four second straight year


Tech chess wins national title second straight year
April 1, 2012 - 8:40pm

Texas Tech University’s Knight Raiders can boast a national championship for a second year in a row, even as its head coach and top players prepare to leave the university.

The team won the President’s Cup, an annual competition known as the Final Four of College Chess to determine the country’s top intercollegiate team, according to a Texas Tech news release and coach Susan Polgar.

The three-day event in Washington D.C. began Friday and concluded Sunday with the Knight Raiders repeating as national champions with an eight-point victory after Tech members played four games against each of the three teams also competing in the tournament.

The University of Texas at Dallas and University of Maryland Baltimore County finished second with 7.5 points each, and New York University finished fourth.

Polgar, Knight Raiders head coach and director of the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence, is the first woman in history to lead a men’s Division I team to two straight national championships.

“It was total teamwork. Nothing was decided until the final second,” Polgar said in the Tech release. “We are very proud and happy to bring another Final Four Championship to Texas Tech.”

In February, Polgar announced she plans to transfer her SPICE center along with highly recruited Grand Master-level players to Webster University in St. Louis starting June 1.

Both Polgar and Tech officials said the move came on good terms. Polgar added she wanted to pursue greater opportunities to create a global center for chess excellence in St. Louis.

On Sunday, Polgar, a Hungarian native, said she is proud of the five years she spent working with Tech officials to create the chess program focusing on nationwide team competitions and local outreach programs for area youth.

“I think it certainly created a legacy and history for Texas Tech in chess,” she said.

Knight Raiders who participated in this weekend’s tournament are chess grandmasters Georg Meier, a freshman finance major from Germany; Elshan Mordiabadi, a business graduate student from Iran; Anatoly Bykhovsky, a sophomore finance major from Israel; and Andre Diamant, a sophomore economics major from Brazil.

Also in accompaniment were two alternates: Grandmaster Denes Boros, a sophomore psychology major from Hungary; and International Master Vitaly Neimer, a freshman finance major from Israel.

Tech’s news release said Polgar’s move likely will end her 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.

Source: http://lubbockonline.com

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Knight Raiders to Defend National Title at Final Four


Knight Raiders to Defend National Title at Final Four
Players will compete to be the top intercollegiate team at the President’s Cup in Washington, D.C.
Written by Karin Slyker

Texas Tech’s Knight Raiders will defend their national title March 30-April 1 at the 2012 President’s Cup in Washington, D.C. Often known as the Final Four of College Chess, this premier event will determine the country’s top intercollegiate team.

Susan Polgar, head coach and director of the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE), said the team has prepared many months for this trip.

“We are looking forward to the difficult challenge from the other three universities,” Polgar said. “It will not be easy, but we will do our best to make Texas Tech proud.”

This is Texas Tech’s third consecutive appearance at the President’s Cup. Its opponents in this round-robin tournament are the University of Texas at Dallas, the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and New York University. The team that accrues the highest number of points will win the championship.

“We already know who we play,” said Paul Truong, director of marketing for SPICE. “The only thing we do not know is who will be black and who will be white.”

The competition is sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton, a leading provider of management and technology consulting services to the US government in defense, intelligence and civil markets.

Because the skills of a great chess player are also among the characteristics for success in business, the Booz Allen Hamilton is offering summer internships to the nation’s top players. The positions will be in Cloud Analytics, in the firm’s Washington, D.C. area offices.

The Texas Tech Chess program is a unit of the Division of Institutional Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement.

Source: http://today.ttu.edu/2012/03/knight-raider-to-defend-national-title-at-final-

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The heavy underdog of the Final Four


L to R: GM Bykhovsky, GM Boros, GM Moradiabadi, GM Meier, GM Diamant, IM Neimer, IM-elect Aleskerov

The College Chess Final Four will take place this weekend in Washington, DC. The four teams which will compete in the most prestigious National Collegiate Chess title are:

TTU - SPICE (defending champion)
UTD
UMBC
NYU

Even though the SPICE warriors are the defending champion, we are the underdog for several reasons. Teams like UTD and UMBC are heavily supported by their respective universities with scholarships while the Knight Raiders relied on donations in the past to even exist.

A pro-chess university like UTD threw a big pep rally with VIPs attending to send their team off to the Final Four. On the other hand, very few administrators at Texas Tech are even aware that that we are trying to defend our National Championship title this weekend.

Most importantly, while the other three teams were busy preparing for this very important event, the SPICE warriors were busy helping me pack the SPICE office to move to a new location on campus. This directly took away our valuable time for preparation. The school administrators decided that right before the Final Four is the "right" time to move instead of waiting after the Final Four.

What our players have is sheer determination and strong faith in each other. It may be a big mountain to climb but they will give it everything they have. Win, lose, or draw, I am very proud of my players.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

College Chess Final Four Set



The College Chess Final Four will take place on March 30 - April 1 in Herndon, Virginia. It is sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton.

The defending champion and #1 ranked team in the nation is Texas Tech - SPICE Knight Raiders.

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 27, 2012

United States g/15 Open Championship


Final standings
United States g/15 Open Championship
Albuquerque, New Mexico

1 | GM GEORG MEIER |6.0 TX | 14508324 / Q: 2646P23 - 2691 (SPICE - Knight Raider)

2 | BENJAMIN CORARETTI |5.0 NM | 12705539 / Q: 2018 - 2079

3 | GM ALEX YERMOLINSKY |4.5 SD | 12534917 / Q: 2670 - 2658

4 | GM MELIKSET KHACHIYAN |4.5 CA | 12827326 / Q: 2548 - 2542

5 | IM JUSTIN SARKAR |4.5 NY | 12561884 / Q: 2321 - 2316

6 | IM - elect FAIK ALESKEROV |4.0 TX | 13669090 / Q: 2300 - 2303 (SPICE - Knight Raider)

7 | STEPHEN M SANDAGER |4.0 NM | 10424101 / Q: 2181 - 2176

8 | LIOR LAPID |4.0 NM | 12563733 / Q: 2140 - 2135

9 | MARK W DEJMEK |4.0 TX | 12350320 / Q: 2071 - 2063

10 | BRYON DOYLE |4.0 UT | 12905977 / Q: 1895 - 1903

11 | TREY MODLIN |4.0 OH | 12803731 / Q: 1855 - 1881 (SPICE - Knight Raider)

12 | ZACHARY JOHN HASKIN |4.0 TX | 12827624 / Q: 1865 - 1876 (SPICE - Knight Raider)

13 | CURTIS COOPER |4.0 NM | 12485868 / Q: 1747 - 1832

14 | OSWALDO LUIS OLIVO |4.0 TX | 14243006 / Q: 1754 - 1831

Full standings here: http://www.uschess.org/msa/XtblMain.php?201202269462

SPICE - Knight Raiders win US g/15 Open Championship


Grandmaster Georg Meier went 6-0 to win the 2012 US g/15 Championship! The event was held on the campus of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque.

In October 2011, Meier won the SPICE Cup Blitz Championship and finished 2nd in the SPICE Cup A group, the highest rated International Invitational round robin tournament in U.S. history.

In November 2011, he helped his German National Team win their first ever European Team Championship. In December 2011, Meier helped the Knight Raiders qualify for their third straight Final Four appearance.

On March 30 - April 1, he will lead the Knight Raiders in their Final Four title defense in Washington, DC.

Tech senior Zachary Haskin (Wichita Falls, TX) and freshman Trey Modlin (Ohio) tied for first in the United States g/15 Championship, under 2000 section. They both scored 4 points in 6 games.

Congratulations to Georg, Zach, and Trey!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

SPICE wins 2012 Southwest Collegiate Championship


SPICE wins 2012 Southwest Collegiate Championship
Posted: February 21, 2012 - 9:06am

The Texas Tech Knight Raiders clinched another first-place chess victory Sunday at the 2012 Southwest Collegiate Championship in Fort Worth.

Team members include Grandmaster Anatoly Bykhovsk of Israel, Grandmaster Elshan Moradiabad of Iran, Grandmaster Andre Diamant of Brazil, Grandmaster Denes Boros of Hungary, International Master-elect Faik Aleskerov of Azerbaijan and International Master Vitaly Neimer of Israel.

The University of Texas at Dallas finished second, followed by UT Brownsville and Texas A&M, respectively.

Source: http://lubbockonline.com

Knight Raiders earned top spot at Southwest Collegiate



Chess team earns first place in Southwest tourney
Posted: Monday, February 20, 2012 11:51 pm
dailytoreador.com

The Texas Tech Knight Raiders, under the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence, claimed the top spot at the 2012 Southwest Collegiate Championship on Sunday in Dallas.

The University of Texas at Dallas placed second, with the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas A&M following.



This was the teams first Southwest Collegiate Team Championship title.

Participating team members included Faik Aleskerov, international master-elect, of Azerbaijan; Denes Boros, grandmaster, of Hungary; Anatoly Bykhovsky, grandmaster, of Israel; Andre Diamant, grandmaster, of Brazil; Elshan Moradiabadi, grandmaster, of Iran; and Vitaly Neimer, grandmaster, of Israel.

Bykhovsky scored two wins and three draws to earn second place on tiebreaks for individual honor. Moradiabadi finished in third place on tiebreaks, Diamant in fourth and Boros in seventh. Overall, none of the grandmasters were defeated, helping the Knight Raiders earn first place.

Source: http://www.dailytoreador.com

Monday, February 20, 2012

The SPICE warriors 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

The Texas Tech SPICE - Knight Raiders have just captured the 2012 SW Collegiate Championship in Dallas, Texas. Hometown team and top seed UT Dallas finished second while UT Brownsville finished third. Texas A&M finished in a distance fourth.

This is a surprise victory for the Knight Raiders as two of the team members (Grandmasters Andre Diamant and Denes Boros) were in emergency care Friday morning shortly before leaving for Dallas. This was not the end of the story. After arriving to the event on Friday evening, another Knight Raider, Grandmaster Elshan Moradiabadi did not feel well.


At Lubbock Airport

In spite of the serious health issue, the players fought very hard as true warriors for the prestigious title. At the end, they topped all their rivals to earn another major title for the Texas Tech and SPICE.

Friday, February 17, 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

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

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