We can claim the Super Bowl, the World Series and three of golf’s four “majors,” and we have played host to eight Olympics. But when it comes to staging big-time chess events, the U.S. is something of a backwater.
The 1995 Kasparov-Anand match at New York’s World Trade Center was the first world championship played on American soil in 88 years. The most storied U.S. tournaments – Cambridge Springs 1904, New York 1924, New York 1927, Santa Monica 1966 – occurred decades ago. On the topographical chess atlas of the world, obscure burgs such as Wijk aan Zee, the Netherlands; Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia; and Linares, Spain, tower over New York and Los Angeles.
So for patriotic reasons if nothing else, it’s nice to report on the fifth annual SPICE Cup, staged last month in Lubbock, Texas, by Texas Tech University and the Susan Polgar Foundation. The strongest of the three round-robin invitationals there had an average rating of 2656 and docked in as a Category 17 event.
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