Sunday, November 11, 2007

Chess or football?

Chess Or Football... Which One's Getting More Attention?
Nov 10, 2007 05:41 PM CST

The SPICE Cup has brought competitors from across the globe to duke it out on the chess board. At Saturday's football game between Texas Tech and UT the 500,000 people watching will cheer loudly for their team. As for the SPICE Cup, the millions of people watching this event will do so in silence.

Some of the best chess players in the world have converged on Texas Tech's campus for the invitational SPICE Cup. SPICE stands for The Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence and Paul Truong is the director of marketing for SPICE at Tech - the first program of its kind in the world.

"The idea of the SPICE Cup is to bring attention to the university and what we do in terms of our program," said Truong.

"Chess is a combination of being a sport, science and an art," added Susan Polgar the institute and tournaments namesake. And Polgar has quite the chess resume herself. She holds five Olympic gold medals and is the current world chess champion, four times running. Now she shares her wisdom of chess as a Texas Tech professor.

"People have played chess for over 2000 years and still every game is different from another," said Polgar.

This sport draws nearly 700 million people across the globe to chess boards. Whether it's a table top version or the human sized edition, Polgar says this game has a following for good reason.

"It's a great tool for children. It's also a great tool for older people to prevent or delay Alzheimer's disease," said Polgar.

"Everybody from the age of 4 to 94 are playing chess," added Truong.

"It also teaches me multiplication cuz because the chess board is 8 divided by 8," said Tom Shutzman, The second grade national champion.

I asked, "Do you think you'll play chess the rest of your life?"

He replied, "Yeah."

Here is the full story on video.

* A note of interest: I am not the current women's world champion and Tommy is not the current 2nd grade world champion. He is the national 2nd grade champion. Errors like this do happen when dealing with many non-chess reporters.
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