There is NO I in TEAM!
by Paul Truong

Happy New Year! As expected, I already read multiple criticisms from various chess websites / blogs about Webster University’s selection of the Final Four team and how unfair it is to have a woman head coach when all the players who will participate in the finale will likely be male.

A) We have not selected our Final Four team yet and what our board order will be. All I know so far is all 8 GMs (Liem Le, Ray Robson, Alex Shimanov, Vasif Durarbayli, Illia Nyzhnyk, Priyadharshan Kannappan, Manuel Leon Hoyos, and Ashwin Jayaram) on Webster A & B team will be invited to travel with the team to NY City. 6 will be on the roster and the other 2 will serve as Assistant Coaches.

B) If people cannot handle having a woman coaching world class players then go play Solitaire. Susan is the only coach to ever win the Coach of the Year (US) and Trainer of the Year (FIDE). She has coached a wide range of students from absolute beginners to World Champions, Olympiad Champions, National Champions, etc. The world is still full of sexists and they need to get some help 🙂

There is NO I in this team. We explained to all the students before the PanAm InterCollegiate Chess Championships our rationale regarding the makeups of the 4 teams. Some players had to put aside their ego to play on lower boards because that would give us the best matchups and some had to suck it up and play up because we needed them there. We spent countless hours scouting our potential opponents before these decisions were made. It was strategically done to give Webster University the best chances to win.

Even though we have incredible support from Webster, we have a much smaller scholarship / operating budget than some other top state funded university chess programs. We also have no billionaire with unlimited resources backing our program. So we have to make do of what we have and train even harder to make up for any deficiencies.

As Susan said, “It is all about team work! We trained as a team, traveled as a team, dined as a team, fought as a team, and won as a team! … Because our students respect our formidable rivals such as UTRGV, UTD, TTU, SLU, and UMBC, etc., they trained extra hard this year. Hard work and discipline does pay off!”

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