April 1, 2012 – 09:40pm
Texas Tech University’s Knight Raiders can boast a national championship for a second year in a row, even as its head coach and top players prepare to leave the university.
The team won the President’s Cup, an annual competition known as the Final Four of College Chess to determine the country’s top intercollegiate team, according to a Texas Tech news release and coach Susan Polgar.
The three-day event in Washington D.C. began Friday and concluded Sunday with the Knight Raiders repeating as national champions with an eight-point victory after Tech members played four games against each of the three teams also competing in the tournament.
The University of Texas at Dallas and University of Maryland Baltimore County finished second with 7.5 points each, and New York University finished fourth.
Polgar, Knight Raiders head coach and director of the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence, is the first woman in history to lead a men’s Division I team to two straight national championships.
“It was total teamwork. Nothing was decided until the final second,” Polgar said in the Tech release. “We are very proud and happy to bring another Final Four Championship to Texas Tech.”
In February, Polgar announced she plans to transfer her SPICE center along with highly recruited Grand Master-level players to Webster University in St. Louis starting June 1.
Both Polgar and Tech officials said the move came on good terms. Polgar added she wanted to pursue greater opportunities to create a global center for chess excellence in St. Louis.
On Sunday, Polgar, a Hungarian native, said she is proud of the five years she spent working with Tech officials to create the chess program focusing on nationwide team competitions and local outreach programs for area youth.
“I think it certainly created a legacy and history for Texas Tech in chess,” she said.
Knight Raiders who participated in this weekend’s tournament are chess grandmasters Georg Meier, a freshman finance major from Germany; Elshan Mordiabadi, a business graduate student from Iran; Anatoly Bykhovsky, a sophomore finance major from Israel; and Andre Diamant, a sophomore economics major from Brazil.
Also in accompaniment were two alternates: Grandmaster Denes Boros, a sophomore psychology major from Hungary; and International Master Vitaly Neimer, a freshman finance major from Israel.
Tech’s news release said Polgar’s move likely will end her institute’s five years in Lubbock.
In addition, all members of the reigning national collegiate champion Texas Tech “A” chess team will transfer to Webster and be enrolled at the university in the 2012-2013 academic year, Polgar said.