Wednesday, February 8, 2012
St. Louis: the new home of collegiate chess
By Ben Finegold, Grandmaster, special to the Beacon
Posted 4:02 pm Wed., 2.8.12
Webster University stepped into the national chess spotlight after pulling off a major coup by luring GM Susan Polgar and the SPICE program (Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence) to St. Louis. Susan is bringing her championship chess team from Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas, to Webster, along with a number of top players. The Webster team will feature eight grandmasters and two international masters, which creates two formidable teams.
Susan said she felt that this would be a perfect location for her chess team as the Chess Club and Scholastic Center and World Chess Hall of Fame have already made St. Louis the center of chess in the U.S. Susan, her husband Paul Truong, and their family will move permanently to the St. Louis area in June, and the strong grandmasters will soon follow for the fall 2012 semester.
The city of St. Louis is the big winner here, as many of the students in these programs will be able to play in strong events at the Chess Club, and the development of both of these programs will continue to bring international attention to our city. Prior to these monumental announcements, St. Louis was clearly the center of chess in the U.S., and starting in the fall of 2012, I think it would be safe to call us the chess center of the world!