Saturday, April 30, 2011
United Supermarket, the largest supermarket chain in West Texas, hosted a celebration with the Texas Tech Knight Raiders at their flagship Market Street store on 50th Street and Indiana.
Behind the A team members is Mr. Jodey Arrington, chief of staff for Chancellor Kent Hance.
Friday, April 29, 2011
The Knight Raiders Chess Club just won the 2010-11 Texas Tech University Most Improved Student Organization and the Texas Tech Student Organization of the Year Awards!
In addition, Dr. Hal Karlsson also won the 2010-11 Texas Tech University Most Outstanding Student Organization Advisor of the Year Award!
Congratulations to the Knight Raiders and Dr. Hal Karlsson!
Meet the Texas Tech Knight Raiders, 2011 National Collegiate Chess Champions, at Market Street Supermarket on 50th & Indiana this Saturday (April 30th ) between 3 - 3:45pm!
This announcement is represented by a registered student organization.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
The golden coaches of the Knight Raiders about the Final Four success
Susan Polgar and Paul Truong in a large interview
The Knight Riders were successful at this year's Final Four. The team led by Susan Polgar and Paul Truong managed to win a title in what can be viewed as the Final Four with largest mass media coverage.
After the success, coaches Polgar and Truong gave an extensive interview to Dr. Hal Karlsson, Associate Professor of GeoSciences at Texas Tech University.Dr. Hal Karlsson: Susan and Paul, first of all, congratulations! This Final Four victory is simply fantastic and quite unexpected. How did it happen?
Susan Polgar: Thank you. I think the team did great, and even though we were the lowest seed, as a team, we believed that we could win. I also think we were more unified and working together more as a team than our competitors. I’m very proud of our guys that they gave their all.
Paul Truong: It is a good feeling for the entire team because they’ve worked very, very hard to be able to accomplish this. As Susan said, they gave it their all and they deserve it.
SP: They were also fearless. They were not intimidated facing much stronger opponents, even ones they had bad records against in the past. In the first round, Grandmaster Timur Gareev of UTB, the highest rated player in Texas, offered our top board, Grandmaster Anatoly Bykhovsky, a draw in a very complicated position. Bykhovsky just lost to Gareev in an earlier encounter in Berkeley. Even with that in mind, Bykhovksy refused the draw offer against a much higher rated opponent and went all out for the win.
In the critical final round, a similar thing happened. Grandmaster Leonid Kritz of the defending champion UMBC, the highest rated player of the entire Final Four, offered our team captain Grandmaster Davorin Kuljasevic a draw with the white pieces. In the same matchup last year's Final Four, Kuljasevic lost to Kritz. Just as Bykhovsky, Kuljasevic refused the draw offer and went all out for the win. Both of them succeeded and they gave our team two vital points toward the national title. As their coach, I could not be more proud of this.HK: Clearly all the teams must prepared very hard for the Final Four given what was at stake here. But what accounted for Texas Tech's success. What was the secret?
PT: I believe the secret is quite easy. We simply worked harder. We not only studied the games of our opponents just as everyone else, but we also study our opponents' demeanor, body language, movement, facial expression, pattern of thinking and decision making, etc. We dissected every inch of every possible aspect of the game. We put countless hours into the preparation. Even after our players were asleep, Susan spent hours double checking all the analysis to make sure there was no error. We were lucky to even get a few hours of sleep.
It does not mean that we will succeed every time. It just means that we will put our team in the best possible position to win. We had a similar approach when Susan and I ran the 2004 U.S. Women's Olympiad program which brought home the first four ever Chess Olympiad medals (2 gold and 2 silver) for the United States. If you want to win, you have to be willing to work harder than everyone else. No one will just hand the title to you. If you want it, you have to get it.
Another thing we did different than other teams is our approach before the start of the Final Four. The team arrived in Washington, D.C. very late Thursday night. We had Friday free until about 6 p.m. Other teams stayed in the hotel to do some last minute preparation. Being a world class competitor herself, Susan realized that the players were under tremendous pressure. So she decided to give them two choices:
1. To stay in the hotel like other teams to cramp in last minute preparation. 2. Go for a tour in Washington, D.C. to relax, stay fresh, and build further team chemistry.
The players voted to go to D.C. So we spent the day on the famous Double Decker bus tour to visit the White House, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, the Capitol Building, and other landmarks. The players had plenty of good times and good laughs. It worked out great. But if it did not work as planned, I am sure others would be quick to criticize her decision. But as a coach, you need to make tough decisions.HK: That is impressive. But Susan also accomplished something else in this Final Four.
PT: Yes. Last year, Susan became the first female head coach to take a men’s division I team to the Final Four. This year, she is the first female to take a men's division I team all the way. You cannot even imagine, let’s say, a female coaching a men’s basketball team or men’s football team to the national title, but in chess, she showed that it can happen.
And the success was not only in division I. In just in the past two years, the Knight Raiders also won the national division II, III, and IV titles, in additional to many other individual honors. This is simply another gender barrier that she was able to break. What is even more amazing is this is only our second year competing in division I.
UTD and UMBC have been ruling the collegiate chess world for the past decade. For us to catch up with them on this level, this fast, was pretty amazing. I am sure the competition will be a lot tougher next year as all the schools will try to improve their rosters.
Susan now has done it all. She won Olympiad gold, five of them. She won the Women's World Championship Triple-Crown (Rapid, Blitz, and Classical). Her students have won National Scholastic Championships and now Collegiate Championships. But don't worry, she'll find more barriers to break, I am sure.HK: Was there any particular player who stood out for Texas Tech in this Final Four?
SP: No. It was total team work. They fought hard as a unit and a different player came through for us in each round. It was Bykhovsky in the first round, Sipos in the second, Kuljasevic in the final round. Diamant was solid all the way through. And Aleskerov, as a reserve player, was the biggest cheerleader for his teammates the whole time. Just like the famous song by Sister Sledge, "We Are Family", the Texas Tech Knight Raider family.HK: I saw the Final Four chess boards the Knight Raiders were holding up. Those look unique. Did you make those and how can one get one of them?
SP: Those are very special Final Four commemorative boards. They are not for sale. Only twenty of them were done and they were made by our friends at GLOSgames.com. This is an American company out of Kansas City, Missouri. They have done a lot of good things to promote chess and bring kids into the game. When I told them about Final Four, they immediately designed and produced these twenty special boards to give out to each of the four teams and the sponsor, Booz Allen Hamilton. They also sponsored other scholastic events of mine in the past. It is a good company and good people and I am proud that they support chess and the Knight Raiders. You cannot buy these boards but you can design your own chess board with them or use one of their over 110,000 designs.HK: That is pretty neat. So what is the next step? A long celebration or vacation? I understand the team is going to Vegas (not Disney World like football players). What was that all about?
SP: There is no time to rest. Winning it is hard. But defending it is even harder. We already started to prepare for next year with recruiting. We have a tradition of excellence at Texas Tech and we hope to win many more championship titles.
We are lucky to have strong support from Chancellor Hance, President Bailey, Provost Smith, our supervisor Vice President and Vice Provost Dr. Juan Munoz, our donors, and so many other people at Texas Tech and in Lubbock. To have people waiting to cheer the chess team on at the airport when they returned at midnight was pretty incredible. The media also prominently covered the team success. Everyone believes in us and we want to continue making all of them and this university proud. We will do everything in our power to help Texas Tech become a Tier One university. Through chess, we will attract some of the greatest minds to this university.HK: What other goals does SPICE have in mind?
SP: As the chairwoman for the FIDE (World Chess Federation) Commission for Women's Chess, I am working with SPICE to promote women's chess and help raise the playing level of the next generation through various important initiatives. SPICE is also actively working to get chess in more schools. This is a very important part of our goal.
University Interscholastic League (UIL) of Texas, the largest inter-school organization of its kind in the world, has approved the proposal from SPICE to include chess puzzle solving as a statewide competition. This can potentially be the biggest scholastic chess initiatives in the United States as more than 2,000 schools in Texas are competing in a number of UIL competitions each year.
I am also hoping to work closer with FIDE to enhance various chess in the schools and chess in education projects in the United States. The future of chess is very bright.HK: Thank you, Susan and Paul, for your time. Once again, congratulations and Go Tech! Check'em Knight Raiders!
SP and PT: Thank you, Hal.
Dr. Hal Karlsson is original from the chess loving country Iceland. He is an Associate Professor of GeoSciences at Texas Tech University. He is also the founder of SPICE as well as a student advisor for the Knight Raiders.
Friday, April 15, 2011
Highest Quality Vinyl Chess Boards (made in the USA)
Create your own customized Board
Here are a few custom designed GLOS boards which I have framed in my SPICE office at Texas Tech University:
Monday, April 11, 2011
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Cinderella brought home the glass slippers
Heavy underdog Knight Raiders win the biggest national collegiate chess title
In only our second year competing in Division I chess, the Texas Tech Knight Raiders achieved the improbably by winning the 2011 College Chess Final Four, besting University of Maryland at Baltimore County (UMBC) and UT Dallas (UTD), the two teams which dominated college chess in the past decade. In the last 10 years, UMBC won the Final Four six times while UTD won it four times.
Even though the Knight Raiders have won nine national titles in the past two years, they were either individual division I titles or team division II, III and IV. This time, it is the most prestigious title in college chess, equivalent of the NCAA Final Four basketball.
The Knight Raiders entered the tournament as the 4th seed with an average rating of 50 points lower than the other three teams. It is like David facing Goliath three times. But in spite of the steep odd, they emerged as champions after three intense and grueling round-robin matches.
It is a consensus in the chess world that this is the strongest College Chess Final Four in history as each team fielded at least 3 Grandmasters and 1 International Master. The average USCF rating of the four teams is about 2580! There was no easy or lopsided match. Every battle came down to the last move, one way or another. If the tournament starts over again tomorrow, there is no telling which team will win. A tiny mistake could prove fatal, and a single move could decide the fate of the entire tournament.
The difference at the end came down to the clutch victory by Knight Raiders' team captain grandmaster Davorin Kuljasevic against the highest FIDE rated player in the Final Four, grandmaster Leonid Kritz, in the last match. This crucial win gave us a 2.5 - 1.5 match win against the defending champion UMBC and College Chess National Title!
Last year, Susan Polgar became the first female head coach of a men's division I team to make the Final Four. This year, she broke another gender barrier by becoming the first female to win it.
When the team got back to the Lubbock Preston Smith International Airport at around midnight on Monday, a nice crowd was on hand to greet the newly crowned national champions. It is an amazing feeling to be able to bring this major title to Texas Tech and Lubbock, especially when we receive so much support from Tech and the community. This is truly a team effort.
The College Chess Final Four was organized and sponsored by Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. for sponsoring this spectacular event. The entire Final Four was first class all the way.
Here are the members of the national championship team:
Board 1: Grandmaster Anatoly Bykhovsky
Board 2: Grandmaster Davorin Kuljasevic (Captain)
Board 3: International Master Istvan Sipos
Board 4: Grandmaster Andre Diamant
Reserve: Senior Master Faik Aleskerov
Head Coach: Grandmaster Susan Polgar
Assistant Coach: FIDE Master Paul Truong
1. Texas Tech 7.0 points
2. UTD 6.5 points
3. UTB 6.0 points
4. UMBC 4.5 points
Photos from the 2011 College Chess Final Four in Washington, DC: https://picasaweb.google.com/SPICEChess/2011FinalFourInWashingtonDC
Photos from the heroes' welcome at Lubbock International Airport:
Saturday, April 9, 2011
Here is the link to 40 pictures from the special banquet this afternoon to honor the Texas Tech Knight Raider Chess Team, 2011 National Champion.
Texas Tech Chancellor Kent Hance, President Dr. Guy Bailey, Provost Dr. Bob Smith, Vice President/Vice Provost Dr. Juan Munoz, Lady Raider Basketball Coach Kristy Curry, Deans, Department Chairs, and many other VIPs came to congratulate the Knight Raiders.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Knight Raiders win national championship
Posted: Thursday, April 7, 2011 9:58 pm
Knight Raiders win national championship Rocio Rodriguez
Staff Writer Daily Toreador - Dept. of Student Media, Texas Tech University
An organization of three years, the Knight Raiders have managed to rise from a low-ranking team to the best college chess team in the United States.
“It’s fantastic,” said Hal Karlsson, senior faculty adviser for the Knight Raiders. “We didn’t expect for it to happen this soon.”
The Knight Raiders’ A-team competed in the President’s Cup: The Final Four of College Chess competition against University of Texas at Dallas, University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College and the University of Maryland at Baltimore County, on Saturday and Sunday in Washington, D.C., Karlsson said.
“We’re the national champions now,” Karlsson said. “We’ve had a competitive team now for three years, and the year before we won this, we were ranked fourth coming in, the bottom, so I figured we’d get second (this year and) we’d be very happy.”
The Knight Raiders competed in the Pan American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship in December, qualifying them for the Final Four competition, as the fourth highest ranked team, he said.
This is the second time the Knight Raiders have qualified for the Final Four and beat out 24 other teams to get there, including Stanford and Yale.
“It’s a good feeling for the entire team because they’ve worked very, very hard to be able accomplish this,” said Paul Truong, assistant coach.
The Knight Raiders have won 10 national titles, two state titles and one regional title since their start, Truong said.
Susan Polgar, Grand Master and head coach for the Knight Raiders, said the team is excited and overwhelmed by the unexpected win but hope it brings more pride to Tech.
“I think the team did great, and I think that was different; that we were confident at winning,” said Polgar. “That perhaps we were more unified and working together more as a team than our competitors, and I’m very proud of our guys that they gave their all.”
Truong said Polgar proved herself as a head coach, taking the Knight Raiders to the championships.
“Susan (not only) became the first female head coach to coach a men’s Division I team, but a national championship,” Truong said. “You cannot even imagine, let’s say, a female coaching a men’s basketball team or men’s football team to the national title, but in chess, she showed that it can happen.”
The Knight Raiders Final Four team consisted of Grand Master Anatoly Bykhovsky, Davorin Kuljasevic, Andre Diamant, and International Master Istvan Sipos, Faik Aleskerov.
“I think that now we have to start preparing for next year because winning is great but defending the title is even more important now since we have a tradition and we hope to win many more championship titles,” Truong said.
Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Texas Tech Wins Final Four of Chess
Posted: 04/ 4/11 08:38 PM ET
International Chess Grandmaster
You don't see spectacular hoops and dunks and scoring is not done in twos or threes. No chest-pounding, no cheerleaders. The four-corner offense or zone defenses are not parts of the game either. There are brilliant moves, but they are done quietly. And yet, the Final Four in college chess could be a dramatic experience.
Played at the Booz Allen Hamilton building in Herndon, Virginia, over the last weekend, the event - also known as the President's Cup - featured three teams from Texas and the defending champion University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC). With students from 20 different countries, this year's Final Four was the strongest: each team had three grandmasters in the line-up. It was also the toughest competition, the final result hinging on a single game.
In the end, the lowest-rated team, Texas Tech (TTU), beat the odds and finished first, scoring 7-5. University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) took second place with 6.5-5.5. The combined team, University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College (UTB/TSC) came third with 6-6. The UMBC lost all three matches and ended with a 4.5- 7.5 score.More here.
Many more articles about the 2011 College Chess Final Four here: http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com/search/label/College%20Final%20Four
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Texas Tech prevails in Final Four of Chess
By Jamaal Abdul-Alim
April 3, 2011
Herndon, VA-- In a groundbreaking victory that literally hinged on the last match of the last round of a collegiate tournament known as the "Texas Tech Prevails in Final Four of Chess," underdog Texas Tech University clinched the title over the weekend for best college chess team in the nation.
Comprised of three GMs and one IM and coached by GM Susan Polgar, the Texas Tech Knight Raiders Chess Team bested long time exclusive dominators of the tournament -- the University of Maryland, Baltimore County(UMBC) and the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) -- in a two-day, three-round tournament held here April 2 and 3.
The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) came in second place with a total of 6.5 points, followed by the University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College (UTB-TSC) with 6 points and defending champions, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, (UMBC) with 4.5 points.
The upset win not only means that Texas Tech gets to bring home the Final Four tournament's prestigious President's Cup and all that it symbolizes home to Lubbock, TX.
It also means the players -- GMs Anatoly Bykhovsky, of Israel, Davorin Kuljasevic, of Croatia, Andre Diamant, of Brazil, IM Istvan Sipos, of Hungary and Faik Aleskerov, of Azerbaijan -- will be given top consideration for any summer internships for which they might qualify at international strategic and technological firm Booz Allen Hamilton, a Virginia-based defense contractor that sponsored and hosted the Final Four tournament, as well as a simul by GM Ray Robson and a scholastic chess tournament for area students.
The firm's decision to support and host the chess tournament was not mere corporate philanthropy. Rather, company executives say the firm is seeking the best and most strategic minds in the world to help the company meet its objectives.
Like most of the competitors in the Final Four event, the Knight Raiders were all foreign students. As such, jobs that involve defense contract work may lie out of reach, but they might be able to secure some of the various jobs that Booz Allen Hamilton has abroad.
Full article here.
Saturday, April 2, 2011
Team Code - Name - Score
1-2 TXTECH Texas Tech University, UTD Univ of TX, Dallas 4.5
3 UTBTSC Univ. of TX, Brownsville 4.0
4 UMBC Univ of MD, Baltimore County 3.0
Final round pairings
Texas Tech (+1) vs UMBC (-2)
UTD (+1) vs UTB (0)
Games can be seen on www.MonRoi.com
Photos from the 2011 College Chess Final Four in Washington, DC: https://picasaweb.google.com/SPICEChess/2011FinalFourInWashingtonDC
Friday, April 1, 2011
Special custom chess board by www.GLOSgames.com
Chess Summer Camp
July 11-15, 2011
Texas Tech University
Learn chess from world champion Susan Polgar and her team. Beginners to advanced K-12 players welcome.
Campers will practice writing and computer skills. Sports and other activities offered.
• Commuter Plan: $295/week
Check-in Monday 8am-9am. Camp hours are 9am-5:00pm daily Monday - Thursday. Camp ends at 3pm on Friday. Lunch and snacks included.
• Residential Plan: $595/week
Arrive Sunday 7/10 between 6pm - 9pm. Dorm lodging and all meals are included, including dinner on Sunday through lunch on Friday.
Camp ends at 3pm on Friday. Residential plan is based on double occupancy. Grades 5-12 only.
Very limited space!
Residential plan registration closes June 6, 2011.
See http://www.SPICE.ttu.edu, email SPICE@ttu.edu, or call (806) 742-7742.