Well - lots of news! I normally do not follow scholastic chess events (with a few exceptions). But ever since those dedicated coaches and teachers at IS 318 in Brooklyn brought their kids into national prominence, and because I am a fan of Elizabeth Vicary Spiegel and supporter of her efforts, I try do check the news on occasion to see what IS 318 is doing. And - wow, they've snuck up on me! Supernationals are taking place this year in Nashville, Tennessee and begin in just two more days, April 5 - 7!
IS 318, which has become internationally famous for its excellent chess program and great results with kids that, let's face it, some people consider "throw-aways", is defending it's K-12 title -- how excellent is that!!!!!
And - gasp - Elizabeth Vicary Spiegel will NOT be able to accompany "her kids" to Nashville. She is in the early stages of a much-desired pregnancy and is experiencing some complications, you see, and is prohibited from travelling at the present time. B-U-M-M-E-R! I'm not revealing any delicate secrets here - she's written all about it in her blog. Lizzy - SKYPE! Face-to-face with the kids has never been easier, and it's free. 'course, she's probably already planning on that...
While Coach Spiegel won't be in Nashville, WIM Dr. Alexey Root will be, as coach to a K-12 team from Denton, Texas. She is going to be one busy lady, too. Not only is she coaching, she'll be hosting a seminar: WIM Alexey Root Seminar - Thinking with Chess: Teaching Children Ages 5-14 ... Saturday at 10 AM.
From what Dr. Root wrote in her article for USCF, it appears that UT-Dallas will have a strong presence at Supernationals V, scouting for potential recruits for its collegiate-level chess team.
A little background... The ultimate prize among colleges and universities that sponsor a chess team is to win the Chess equivalent of the "Final Four." Until the advent of the Polgar Dynamic Duo at Texas Tech in 2007, it had been more or less taken for granted that UT-Dallas or the University of Maryland-Baltimore, would win the coveted title, year after boring year. Susan Polgar changed the equation - in a BIG FRICKING WAY! She won TWO titles for Texas Tech, suddenly putting it on the MAP, before (half-way through what was generally understood to be a 10-year long "understanding") moving her program (under the auspices of the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence) to St. Louis, Missouri and Webster University at the end of Spring Term, 2012, AND taking the entire "A" Team with her. Not without some controversy. The bottom line is that Polgar's grateful beneficiary, Webster University, has the best "collegiate" level team yet.
Suffice to say - there is, er, COMPETITION among top-level collegiate chess programs these days to attract high-level players, er, chessplayers. Who'd have thunk it! Cut-throat, darlings, absolutely cut-throat! Knives are out and high drama is afoot these days in the world of collegiate chess. Who is backing who? Where is the money coming from? Just how much, exactly, are we talking about? What are the ultimate goals, and who is scoring points on who? Woo woo! Like I said, high drama! Those idiots in Washington have some lessons to learn from chess politicians, let me tell you...
The chess femmes will have a STRONG presence this year at Supernationals -- in addition to the above --
WGM Jennifer Shahade Seminar - Popularizing Chess ... Friday at 5 PM.
Parents Coffee with USCF President WIM Ruth Haring ... Saturday 3 PM.
In addition, one of my favorite players ever, GM Alexandria Kosteniuk, the 12th Women's World Chess Champion, who has a big kind heart and is so sweet and shy, will be giving a simul:
GM Alexandra Kosteniuk Simul Thursday 2 PM.
Cost: $50. Limited to first 40 players. Register Online (scroll down to Event 4 under Step 3).
So, tune in and watch for the results. Right now I'm hunting for Teams composition to see what IS 318 players will be playing, so I can root for the all! Just not finding anything. I'll keep looking and will update as we get into the actual tournament.