Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Celebrates Double Chess Championships

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

St. Louis Celebrates Double Chess Championships

Article excerpt

WEBSTER GROVES As thousands gathered Monday for the Cardinals home opener, two other local teams the Gorloks and Golden Griffins were already celebrating national championships, but in a much lesser followed event: chess.

Webster University won the Final Four of college chess in Rockville, Md., over the weekend, while St. John Vianney High School took top honors in its division in the U.S. Chess Federation's Supernationals V K-12 tournament in Nashville. The wins are the latest milestones in the quest for St. Louis, home of the World Chess Hall of Fame, to establish itself as the mecca for chess.

About 100 people gathered Monday in a Webster University cafeteria to welcome their winning team back from the tournament. Some hooted and hollered. Other students watched curiously from a distance as they ate lunch in silence.

Julian Schuster, provost at Webster and chess enthusiast, told the crowd the win came from "hard work" and "vision."

"This a great day for all of us," he said.

Not only is it the school's first national chess championship, it's the first year it fielded a team, school officials said. Webster's bid to become a chess powerhouse happened just nine months after luring grandmaster and coach Susan Polgar away from Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Originally from Hungary, this is her third national collegiate chess championship in a row as head coach.

Two of the six players on Webster's winning team followed her from Lubbock. The four others recently came to Webster to play chess for Polgar and the Gorloks, named for the private school's mascot.

All six of the championship players including two alternates are grandmasters.

"We hope its the first of many national titles," said Polgar, 44.

The players are Georg "German Precision" Meier, of Germany; Wesley "Asian Tiger" So, of the Philippines; Ray "Fearless Attacker" Robson, of Florida; Fidel "Casanova" Corrales Jimenez, of Cuba; Anatoly "Speedy Rocket" Bykhovsky, of Israel; and Manuel "the Yucatan Conquistador" Leon Hoyos, of Mexico.

Vianney, a Catholic school in Kirkwood, was celebrating its second national championship since 2011. …

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