Sunday, October 23, 2011
Fifth annual SPICE Cup hosts chess players from around world
8:29 pm, Sun Oct 23, 2011
By Greg Lindeman
Staff Writer Daily Toreador - Dept. of Student Media, Texas Tech University
The fifth annual Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence Cup, a chess tournament, is taking place on Texas Tech’s campus from Oct. 15-25.
The SPICE Cup looks to promote chess and its educational, social and competitive benefits throughout the United States.
In this year’s tournament, the ‘A’ group is the highest rated international invitational in United States history and also includes three groups of grandmaster tournaments.
There are players from all over the world at the tournament, including the top national nine- and 10-year-olds, said Susan Polgar, a former Olympic champion, world champion and the director of the SPICE Cup.
“Six of the 26 in the top three are Texas Tech students,” Polgar said. “This tournament started in 2007 and became a tradition afterwards.”
The grand prize is $6,000 and second place will take home $3,000.
“Cooperation with the Susan Polgar Foundation, a non-profit organization, and Texas Tech arrange to bring visibility and information about chess,” Polgar said. “The games of the top three groups are being shown live, with an expected 30 million views worldwide.”
The tournament saw some of the top players from France, Germany, Cuba and Vietnam competing at a high level.
This tournament gave players chances to refine their skills as they played the best international players, Polgar said.
Ananya Roy, former vice president of the Knight Raiders and a junior political science major from Atlanta, Ga., said she practiced before the event by doing puzzles and playing online.
“My dad and brother used to play and I picked it up,” Roy said. “I played in clubs, and my coach saw potential. Ever since then, I began playing competitively.”
The tournament is in the rank order style where players are paired with people who are at a similar level. When they lose, they become paired with another person who lost. There is no elimination in the traditional sense and the winner will be the chess player with the highest rank at the end of the tournament.
To become a grandmaster, players need to acquire three or more “norms,” which are chess achievements based on performance, tournament ratings and winning a certain number of games against a grandmaster, said Josh Osbourn, a senior English major from Kentucky.
“I practiced with puzzles and I review the opening moves,” Osbourn said. “There are theories for opening moves that can give you an edge. They may not win you the game, but they give you a chance to put yourself in a better position by knowing how to start the game.”
Osbourn’s father showed him how to play when he was five years old, but he did not start playing competitively until high school. He has since gone on to national tournaments and now the SPICE Cup.
“I played one game today so far,” Osbourn said. “I feel that I did well. I play two more games tomorrow since I took a bye yesterday.”
The ‘A’ group will continue to play until 6 p.m. Tuesday when the closing ceremony for the group will officially end the two-week event.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Prestigious International Chess Tournament Underway
October 19, 2011
SPICE Cup 2011 is being held in the Matador Room at the Student Union Building.
Written by Melanie Hess
SPICE Cup 2011, the most prestigious international invitational chess tournament in the U.S., is in full swing at Texas Tech this week (Oct.15-25).
In the Matador Room of the Student Union Building, respected players from all over the world are participating in the fourth annual invitational, including six of Texas Tech’s own Knight Raiders.
Paul Truong, Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE) marketing director, said the invitational’s “A” group marks SPICE Cup 2011 as the highest-rated international invitational in U.S. history.
“It is like bringing the Super Bowl or Wimbledon to Texas Tech and Lubbock,” Truong said. “More than 30 million people in over 170 countries follow this event online and through various media sources.”
The tournament includes a World Chess Federation (FIDE) Rated Open, a scholastic event and an open competition. Spectators are welcome and admission is free.
The six Knight Raiders competing are as follows:
- Group A: Grandmaster Georg Meier of Germany.
Meier is a freshman and the no. 2 ranked player in Germany. He represents Germany in the Olympiad, World Cup and other major events.
- Group B: Grandmaster Anatoly Bykhovsky of Israel and Grandmaster Denes Boros of Hungary.
Bykhovsky played top board for Texas Tech last year and helped the Knight Raiders win the Final Four for the first time.
- Group C: Grandmaster Andre Diamant of Brazil, International Master Vitaly Neimer of Israel and Senior Master Faik Aleskerov of Azerbaijan.
Diamant and Aleskerov were key members of the national championship team last year.
In addition to being the current national champions, the Texas Tech Knight Raider team is currently ranked no. 1 in the country.
“No school has ever achieved this honor in just three years of competing in Division I competition,” Truong said. “Susan became the first female head coach earlier this year to lead a men’s Division I team to the national championship. Now she is the first female head coach to lead the no. 1 ranked team in the nation.”
Truong said events like the SPICE Cup not only bring strong players from all over, but also help the Knight Raider team to stay sharp and defend its title. Hosting such prestigious events helps Texas Tech to recruit top-caliber players.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
|SPICE Cup 2011 is in progress|| |
| Tuesday, 18 October 2011 16:20 |
The 5th annual SPICE Cup, the highest rated international RR invitational tournament in U.S. history, is currently ongoing in Lubbock, Texas.
The 2011 SPICE Cup A group takes place on October 15-25. The B and C groups take place on October 15-19. The FIDE Amateur Rated Open will take place on October 21-23. All sections are being held on the beautiful campus of Texas Tech University.
Live games with computer analysis
Group A round 3 standings:
1. GM Le Quang Liem 2717 (VIE) - 2.5
2. GM L. Dominguez 2710 (CUB) - 2.0
3-4. GM Yury Shulman 2608 (USA) and GM Ray Robson 2583 (USA) -1.5
5. GM Georg Meier 2648 (GER) (Texas Tech Student) - 1.0
6. GM Sebastien Feller 2668 (FRA) - 0.5
Group B round 5 standings:
1. GM Anatoly Bykhovsky ISR 2521 - 4.0
2. IM Roberto Mogranzini 2439 ITA - 3.5
3-5. IM Mackenzie Molner 2453, IM Darwin Yang 2439 and IM Enrico Sevillano 2490 - 3.0
6. GM Denes Boros 2508 HUN (Texas Tech Student) - 2.5
7-8. IM Marc Arnold 2505 and GM Mesgen Amanov 2541 TKM - 2.0
9-10. IM Lev Milman 2452 and IM Dean Ippolito 2477 - 1.0
Group C round 5 standings:
1. GM Ben Finegold 2489 - 4.0
2. GM Joshua Friedel 2518 - 3.5
3. IM Levon Altounian 2429 - 3.0
4-7. GM Eugene Perelshteyn 2534, GM Andre Diamant 2505 BRA (Texas Tech Student), IM John Bartholomew 2440 and IM Vitaly Neimer 2373 ISR (Texas Tech Student) - 2.5
8-10. FM Kayden Troff 2306, SM Faik Aleskerov 2316 AZE (Texas Tech Student) and SM Matthew Herman 2414 - 1.5
Monday, October 17, 2011
Information about the 2011 SPICE Cup Invitational
2011 SPICE Cup Amateur FIDE Rated Open
October 21-23, 2011
A 6 Round Swiss System Tournament
Event Site: Texas Tech University (SUB) Lubbock, TX
Contact Info: 806-742-7742 E-mail: Spice@ttu.edu
Description of Tournament: A USCF and FIDE rated Individual Chess Tournament. Games are played in one section. Open to all ages, limited to players rated 1600 USCF (and above) and all FIDE rated below 2200.
Time control: 60 minutes per player with 30 second increment per move, starting the first move.
On-site registration: 2:30pm -4:00pm on October 21. All players must check in by 4:30pm. Bring clock if you have one! No byes in the final two rounds.
October 21 Round 1: 5pm
October 22 Round 2: 10am Round 3: 2pm Round 4: 6pm
October 23 Round 5: 10am Round 6: 2pm
Entry Fees: Players with FIDE Rating $25, without FIDE rating $40 received by 10/16, $25 more on site. A valid USCF membership required. Registration is limited to the first 50 entries!
Prizes: Prize fund $750 based on 30 paid entries. 1st $250 2nd $150 3rd $100 4th $150 5th $100.
Prize giving ceremony will be held shortly after the end of the last game which is around 6pm.
Please send Entry Blank and Fees to: Susan Polgar Foundation, 6923 Indiana Avenue #154 Lubbock, TX 79413
Additional information on www.SPICE.ttu.edu
FIDE Open Entry Form: Please PRINT all information and make check/money order to SPF.
Name: ________________________ Phone: (_____) ________School___________
Address: __________________________ City/State: ____________ Zip:_________
Email: ____________________________ DOB: ______Section________________
USCF Rating_____USCF ID#:_________FIDE#_______Amount enclosed __Check#___
Here is the SPICE Cup Schedule: http://susanpolgar.blogspot.com/2011/09/spice-cup-2011-schedule.html
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Maybe Teach Them Math, Science and Chess
By JAMES WARREN
New York Times
Published: October 15, 2011
The 120 elementary school children sat so quietly and intently that you might have assumed this was a mass detention period.
But it was chess, not confinement, in an Oak Brook hotel ballroom on Columbus Day. And the lessons learned might assist school leaders everywhere, including those attempting a systemwide resuscitation for Rahm Emanuel, Chicago’s very disciplined, if impatient, mayor.
“My dream is to get in front of education decision makers and convince them to make chess part of the curriculum for K through second grade,” said Susan Polgar, the star of the show. “That’s when thinking patterns and habits are formed. It should be mandatory, like physical education.”
Ms. Polgar, 42, was a Hungarian chess prodigy taught by her psychologist father after she stumbled on chess pieces in a closet at home. At age 4, she stunned Budapest by winning the 11-and-under category in the city championships, sitting on phone books and pillows to reach across the board.
She was the first woman to become a grandmaster and the first to qualify, in 1996, for what was still known as the Men’s World Championship. She was one of the three highest-ranked female players for more than two decades, traveling the world and winding up fluent in seven languages.
I’d made my way to the Susan Polgar Foundation’s World Open Championship for Boys and Girls with an ulterior motive: to explore why boys dominate every class or tournament to which chess-ignorant me has taken my 7-year-old son.
“It’s interesting,” said Ms. Polgar. “Socially, I think, they’re not supported enough, so in general girls drop out of chess by fourth and fifth grades,” she said as 5-to-9-year-olds competed nearby.
When she was a girl, “it was very much ingrained that women were not able to play,” Ms. Polgar said. “A lot of experts and elite players believed that we were not physically able to do it, our brain was not big enough or that we couldn’t keep quiet long enough.”
She became an advocate for girls, especially through the Susan Polgar Foundation, which she founded while living in New York. She’s now in Lubbock, Tex., with her husband and their two children, where she runs the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence at Texas Tech University.
The foundation supports chess for boys and girls, but especially girls, and sponsors events nationwide. The institute lures young players, with the university offering scholarships and excelling in college tournaments.
Ms. Polgar’s mantra is that chess teaches discipline, analytical thinking, time management, focus and patience — skills that can be useful throughout life. She cites countries, like Armenia, where chess is either a mandatory part of school curriculums, especially in the early elementary years, or strongly encouraged.
It cuts across socioeconomic divides, exemplified by impressive performances of high-poverty students in Brownsville, Tex., who have whipped privileged Manhattan rivals — “kids who get individual lessons from grandmasters,” she said — and shown how “a boost in self-confidence can change lives.”
Indeed, there is no shortage of hedge fund managers and corporate leaders who are chess players, some of whom link the habits of mind learned at chess with their success. As we fret about China’s economic success, we might note that it’s a growing chess force, including four female world champions in 20 years.
Last week’s tournament in Oak Brook brought children from all over the country; perhaps 70 percent were boys. Many of the children were Asian-Americans, including Ashley Ceohas, 6, of Wilmette, the child of a Chinese-American mother who smilingly swore to me that she was “not a Tiger mom!” as her daughter segued from a chess match to drawing a crowd as she played a nearby piano beautifully.
“She’s aware of there being more boy players,” said her mother, Yijia Ceohas. “But we tell her anything boys can do, girls can do better. And she knows that Susan Polgar’s dad said geniuses are not born but made through hard work.”
My investigation into the gender divide led me to Shiva Maharaj, a private investor who teaches the game throughout the Chicago area, including a free Saturday morning session that my son has attended at the Edgebrook Library on the Northwest Side.
Mr. Maharaj had students competing in Oak Brook and cited an American Girl mentality of parents, referring to the store that sells high-priced dolls and accessories. He sees the parents succumbing to cultural stereotypes of daughters being pretty rather than intellectually empowered.
I’ve watched him teach diverse groups of children, mostly boys, and effectively insist they sit up straight, concentrate, take time to assess problems critically and learn to deal with losing. He offers seemingly creative solutions to challenges faced on the board.
On the heels of the impressive inaugural Chicago Ideas Week, here’s a free idea for its energetic, ambitious promoters: a panel next year on “American Education: Should We Make a Move to Chess?”
Sunday, October 2, 2011
Chess' greatest challenge: girls
In the world of chess, boys are always in, but U.S. Chess Federation numbers confirm girls are out the minute they hit the teens. Where is Heidi Klum when girls need her most? We need the fashion-forward players as model minds to keep girls in the game of chess rather than dropping out in droves as they reach puberty.
In fact, overall, chess is crying out for a fashion edit.
Of the 700 million chess players worldwide, 45 million are Americans. Half of those are children. Next Saturday, National Chess Day, will be a sad reminder that teen girls are losing an opportunity for a life map to critical thinking and scholarships.
We don't have to lose girl players to the Terrible Ts: Twitter, Twilight and tween angst. We can change the approach for girls and decrease their hasty exit.
Not surprisingly, of the 1,100 International Grandmasters in the world, only two dozen are women. The United States has only one - Susan Polgar, who is Hungarian-born and naturalized. Only 1 percent of the U.S. Chess Federation's adult membership is female.
Despite the fact that Heidi Klum, Christina Ricci, Sandra Bullock, Salma Hayak and Madonna all play, the stereotypical public image of chess is still one of stuffy exclusivity, populated by disheveled, older men with seriously quirky natures.
As an official IOC Olympic sport, chess makes curling look sexy.
It's a team sport. In high school, a student can letter in chess. As Norfolk's new superintendent of schools, Richard Bentley, embarks on the creation of a state chess league that will make that possible for students here, statistics show we will see those letters mainly on boys' jackets.
But after attending the five-day Susan Polgar Foundation Girls' Invitational in Lubbock, Texas, and staying in the dorms with the girls, I now have a better handle on how to help our girls here.
In five sleepless nights as I sat in the hallways packed with boards, clocks and girls ages five to 18, breathing in the scent of nail polish remover, I learned a lot about little girls who can tear you up on the 64 squares while painting their toenails ice blue, listening to an iPod, texting, singing, giggling, gossiping and munching apple chips.
It is both a humbling and mildly terrifying experience to have an adorable 6-year-old girl multitask and checkmate you into oblivion. Which I suspect is the reason behind the programs by the American Association of University Women, the Carnegie Center and others to get girls into science, technology, engineering and math. Ladies, we need to talk. Let's do coffee across a chess board and I think we can fix all our problems.
Even at the tournament, the girls were relaxed, happy and exchanging little tokens of esteem, very unlike the mixed boy/girl tournaments I have seen over the years where you can cut the gender anxiety and head-games with a battle ax.
If chess is going to be redesigned to be more girl-friendly, as experts like Dr. Alexey Root have suggested, it should start with non-rated girls' tournaments. Rating tournaments merely encourages a toddlers-in-tiaras-worthy conflict of superior and inferior labels. Girls don't need more labels. They're already coping with body-image hate, acne and boys.
To keep girls in, we need to focus on the game. To bring more boys and girls from our state into the game and build their critical-thinking skills, focus and life strategies, a group of community partners has formed, including: the NPS' superintendent, the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk State and Old Dominion universities, teachers, parents, The Virginian-Pilot and the Carnegie Math and Science Initiative for Girls. The group is called the Norfolk Initiative for Chess Excellence. That means we are N.I.C.E.
When people come to Norfolk, we will teach them to play the N.I.C.E. way, starting March 2-3 at Virginia's first-ever all-girl state chess championship. All Virginia girls ages 5-18 can enter for free, rated or unrated, and play for scholarships. And we will give a free chess-in-education seminar for teachers while the girls play.
We are going to send fun, free, unrated, rewarding chess down the runway and see how it scores.
Guest columnist Lisa Suhay runs a free community partnership - Norfolk Initiative for Chess Excellence (N.I.C.E.) in Virginia. Email: Lsuhays2@cox.net.