Monday, May 16, 2011

Baseball, like chess, is a game of strategy, mental focus and concentration and physical stamina

College scholarship? Check: It's no surprise that Texas Tech recruiters love the way Charles Modlin III, aka Trey Modlin, plays the game and went after him hard, offering him lots of scholarship money to play for them.

The Shaker Heights High School senior, after all, led his baseball team last year in batting average, was voted varsity offensive player of the year and earned All Lake Erie honors. He was Channel 3 athlete of the week. He hits clean-up, plays just about any position and is tough to hit on the mound.

But baseball has nothing to do with the Red Raiders' interest.

Modlin was recruited by for his mastery at chess.

No kidding. International Chess Grandmaster Susan Polgar recruited Modlin to play chess as part of the Texas Tech University Chess Team and the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence there for his mastery at chess.

No kidding.

He's Bobby Bonds meets Bobby Fischer.

"They're serious about chess there," said Trey's dad, Dr. Charles Modlin, a Cleveland Clinic kidney transplant surgeon. His mom, Dr. Sheryl Modlin, is a pediatric anesthesiologist at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital.

Trey's chess dominance all started as a 4-year-old playing checkers.

"Then he wanted me to teach him how to play chess," said his dad.

Then he got private lessons from Michael Joelson and later was mentored by International Grandmaster Maurice Ashley, a role model because he is the first black chess player to achieve that top ranking.

"He's a lot better than me," Trey's dad admitted. "I haven't beaten him in years."

Dad's not alone. Trey beats a lot of competitors, racking up two national titles and four state championships (in grades 2, 10, 11 and 12). He's also a great trumpet player in the marching band and jazz ensemble.

Said Trey: "Baseball, like chess, is a game of strategy, mental focus and concentration and physical stamina. Many chess matches are 3 or 4 days long, 12 hours a day and require the player to be physically and mentally strong. Chess and baseball both require more practice and preparation off the field before the player enters the field."


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