Friday, July 17, 2009

New Chess Champion(s) will be Crowned at TTU

New Chess Champion(s) will be Crowned at Texas Tech University

by Dr. Rich Rice, Texas Tech University

The sixth, annual Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls (SPNI), which is the most prestigious all-girls national championship in the United States, will take place July 26-31, 2009 at the Frazier Alumni Pavilion on the Texas Tech University (TTU) campus in Lubbock, Texas.

To be eligible to play, each state can nominate one talented young female chess player 18-years-old or younger. Winning the Susan Polgar National Open for Girls or the Susan Polgar World Open for Girls also qualifies one to compete at SPNI. The defending champion and current members of the Susan Polgar All-Star Chess Team also receive invitations. Thousands of girls compete annually in a variety of events to gain eligibility.

This is the second year that Texas Tech University will host this prestigious event, and it has an agreement with the USCF to do so until 2017. Thanks to the generous sponsorship from the TTU’s Provost’s office, each qualified player receives free accommodation on TTU’s campus at Gordon Hall, as well as three free meals a day on campus at the “Fresh Plate” for the duration of the six-day event. In addition, TTU will award a four-year academic scholarship each year to the highest-finishing player who has not graduated from high school by August of the year of the tournament.

A record fifty-two players from across the country participated in the main event in 2008. The winner of the 2008 SPNI was Courtney Jamison of Texas. This year, the record will be broken as sixty young and talented young female players have already confirmed their participation.

Previous first-place winners include:

2008: Courtney Jamison (Texas)

2007: Julia Kerr (New York) and Eunice Rodriguez (Florida)

2006: WFM Abby Marshall (Virginia)

2005: WGM Anya Corke (California), WIM Alisa Melekhina (Pennsylvania), and WFM Abby Marshall (Ohio)

2004: WFM Roza Eynullayeva (Massachusetts)

Over $150,000 in scholarship and prizes will be awarded in this national championship annually, and an additional $25,000 is budgeted for housing, meals, and organizational cost. This level of support for chess from a University is unprecedented. For rules and conditions see

Schedule for the Susan Polgar National Invitational for Girls

July 25

5:00pm: “Warm-Up” Quads (G/30), R1 at 6pm (English Building)

July 26

1:30pm-2:30pm: Opening Ceremony (Frazier Alumni Pavilion)

3:00pm-6:30pm: SPNI R1 (Frazier)

8:00pm: Movie Night (English)

July 27

10:00am: Ribbon Cutting/Opening of the new TTU Chess Park (Student Union)

1:30pm-5:00pm: SPNI R2 and Parents/Friends Open R1 (Frazier)

7:00pm: SPNI Chess Puzzle-Solving Championship (Frazier)

7:30pm: Free lecture by Susan Polgar (Frazier)

July 28

10:00am: TTU Campus Tour

12:30pm: Meet and picture taking with the “Masked Rider” (Frazier)

1:30pm-5:00pm: SPNI R3 and Parents/Friends Open R2 (Frazier)

7:00pm: SPNI Blitz Championship (Frazier)

July 29

10:00am: SPNI Fun Basketball (Rec Center)

1:30pm-5:00pm: SPNI R4 and Parents/Friends Open R3 (Frazier)

7:00pm: SPNI Bughouse Championship (Frazier)

July 30

10:00am: TTU Campus Tour with free gift bags (Frazier)

1:30pm-5:00pm: SPNI R5 and Parents/Friends Open R4 (Frazier)

7:00pm-8:00pm: Fun Dance Class (Frazier)

July 31

10:00am-1:30pm: SPNI R6 (Frazier)

2:30pm: Closing Ceremony (Frazier)

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