Saturday, April 07, 2012

Coach wins national title, takes entire team to new school

Coach wins national title, takes entire team to new school
By Douglas Stanglin, USA TODAY
Apr 06, 2012

Some call it brazen, others unprecedented, but it is certainly shocking: A Texas coach resigns and takes the entire team to another school within hours of winning a Final Four national championship.

But it's a done deal: Texas Tech chess coach Susan Polgar is moving her all-star squad of seven chess grandmasters to private Webster University in suburban St. Louis, home to the World Chess Hall of Fame and the U.S. national championships, the Associated Press reports.

"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.

Fresh off her second straight national championship, Polgar, a home-schooled prodigy from Budapest who was the world's top female player by the time she was 15, tells the university's newspaper, the Daily Toreador, that she would love to have stayed at Tech, but with funds drying up,"the welfare of my students comes first."

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.

Source: USA Today

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