Tech’s chess institute takes giant leap with illustrious tournament


Konstantin Parkhomenko, a Russian law student at Texas Tech and a member of its Knight Raiders Chess Club, paced around a chess set big enough to walk across Thursday afternoon.

The giant pawns, rooks, knights, kings and queens were at the Tech Student Union Building as a prelude to the first-ever international chess tournament to be hosted by the university’s new chess institute.

The tournament is drawing royalty of its own: Ten chess masters from Hungary, Mexico, Poland and the U.S. will compete in the round-robin tournament that begins today and ends Nov. 16.

“We’re very excited. It’s a one-of-a-kind event that two years ago no one would have predicted would happen here,” Parkhomenko said.
A tournament with players of this strength has not been held in Texas since 1972, according to Grandmaster Susan Polgar, who opened Tech’s Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence, or SPICE, earlier this year. She made the statement in a news release issued Wednesday.

…Amateur players who are members of the federation will have a chance to play in a separate tournament Saturday and Sunday alongside the masters.

Polgar’s eldest son, who is 8, is expected to compete in the open tournament for amateurs, said Hal Karlsson, an associate professor of geosciences who founded Tech’s chess club in 2003.

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