Apr 6, 2012, 2:17 PM EDT
Imagine if John Calipari got an offer from North Carolina that he couldn’t refuse, and switched jobs … taking his entire group of Kentucky underclassmen with him to the Tar Heels. Unheard of in basketball, but in the world of college chess, that’s how they roll. Hours after winning the Final Four National Championship, Texas Tech men’s chess coach Susan Polgar (far right in photo) announced that she was leaving that school to take the same post at Webster University in St. Louis … and that she was taking her entire team of seven grandmasters with her.
“The program grew rapidly, and Texas Tech wasn’t ready to grow with the speed of the program,” says Polgar, who founded the program there in 2007. “St. Louis today is the center of chess in America. It just seemed like a perfect fit.”
Her players will also have access to the swanky new Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, a 6,000-square-foot shrine to the game that was bankrolled by local businessmen.
So it seems that chess players are subject to many of the lures of their football and basketball counterparts: better facilities and a dedication to winning. Holy crap, I thought you only needed a chess set and a card table. And yes, apparently there are scholarships.
The Tech students transferring to Webster in the fall will receive scholarships. At Tech, the program had a $30,000 pot for the entire team, while some top chess schools can offer individual students that much, the AP reports.
Bonus fact: The chess team at Texas Tech is called the Knight Raiders. Kind of ironic, I’d say.
Tech Knight Raiders win second national championship, prep for move to St. Louis [Daily Toreador]
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