Friday, February 3, 2012

Susan Polgar Moving SPICE to St. Louis, Missouri

From Chessdom:

SPICE and Champion U.S. College Chess Team Moving to Webster University
February 3, 2012

St. Louis, Feb. 3, 2012 – Building on St. Louis’ growing reputation as a world-class chess center, Webster University is making some exciting chess moves.

The University today announced that chess Grandmaster Susan Polgar, World and Olympiad Champion, and her Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE), will relocate to Webster from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, on June 1, 2012.

In addition, all members of the reigning national collegiate champion Texas Tech “A” chess team will transfer to Webster and be enrolled at the University in the 2012-2013 academic year.

“Chess is increasingly valued for its instructional impact,” said Webster President Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble. “Globally, educators recognize chess as a tool to cultivate interest and success in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) disciplines. At Webster, SPICE and Susan Polgar will be leaders in promoting chess as a vehicle for global diversity and academic excellence, for enriching the education of children and for promoting women’s chess.”

“We are excited to be the new home of the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence,” said Dr. Julian Z. Schuster, Webster University provost and senior vice president.

“The mission of SPICE is to be the nation’s premier center for chess education, research, technology and outreach. Our partnership with Susan Polgar and SPICE at Webster will allow us to support and promote competitive chess at the college level. Chess has always been a global game and this important step brings a global game in these global times to a truly global university. We are excited to further enhance the image of St. Louis as a global chess center.”

“According to recent statistics, there are about 1 billion chess players in the world,” Polgar said. “SPICE, therefore, is a perfect fit for Webster University’s global vision and presence, and I am extremely impressed with Webster’s commitment to excellence in chess and education. I am also very excited to be in the St. Louis area, near the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, the hot spot for chess in the United States, thanks to Mr. Rex Sinquefield.”

The chess players who will either transfer to Webster from Texas Tech or enroll as incoming freshmen include eight Grandmasters and two International Masters, and the team is expected to rank No. 1 in the nation in Fall 2012. “No team in the long and prestigious history of college chess has had eight Grandmasters before,” Polgar said.

Polgar, who is one of the strongest female chess players in history, is the winner of four world championships and the only world champion in history – male or female – to win the Triple-Crown (Rapid, Blitz and Classical Chess world championships). She is the first woman to break the gender barrier to qualify for the Men’s World Championship Cycle, earn the Men’s Grandmaster title, and to receive the Grandmaster of the Year Award. In 2011, Polgar became the first female head coach to lead a men’s Division 1 team (Texas Tech University) to the national title.

Sooooo, what about the SPICE Cup?  Is Webster going to pick up the sponsorship for it?  What about chessplayers who were recruited to Texas Tech by SPICE who aren't on the "A" Team?  What about all of the programs that SPICE sponsored locally in the Lubbock area?

Looks like Susan Polgar has kissed off Texas Tech.  Adios, amigos.

This, from The Wall Street Journal:

Sorry, Texas Tech: You've Been Checkmated

College athletes transferring to another school is common, but an entire program? Webster University announced Friday it had lured the Texas Tech chess team—including coach Susan Polgar and the "A" squad members who won the national title last spring—to the St. Louis-area school. Polgar, who noted a nearby St. Louis chess club as a U.S. "hot spot," will relocate to Webster in June. The players will enroll there for 2012-13.

"We're disappointed that they've chosen to transfer rather than continue their education here but we do wish them the best in that," a Texas Tech spokesman said. "They've represented us well in chess."

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