Susan Polgar | St. Louis Public Radio

Susan Polgar

Grandmaster chess player Susan Polgar will be inducted into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame, the youngest woman to be awarded the honor.
Susan Polgar

A Webster University chess coach will today become the youngest woman to be inducted into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame.

Susan Polgár was the first woman to win the coveted grandmaster title through traditional tournament play in 1991. The Hungarian-born champion has broken gender barriers in the male-dominated chess world during a career that spans five decades.

“There will be naysayers, and there will be men that don’t want to see women succeed, especially in a male-dominated field,” she said. “But don’t let that hold you back — just work harder and prove them wrong.”

On Chess: St. Louis dominates at the Pan-Americans

Jan 4, 2017
The SLU team consists of, from left, Cemil Can Ali Marandi, Yaroslav Zherebukh, Dariusz Swiercz, Francesco Rambaldi and Nozima Aripova.
Provided by Alejandro Ramirez

Collegiate chess is a phenomenon that has boomed in just the past couple of decades. Even though there have been important collegiate tournaments around the country for almost a century, only recently have colleges taken a keen interest in attracting brilliant minds through chess and offering considerable scholarships to reel in these players.

Provided by the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis

While the chess world was focused on the Sinquefield Cup, the Saint Louis Chess Club was already planning its next move. The year's strongest tournament, won by Armenia's Levon Aronian, brought together 10 of the top chess players for a two week stay in St. Louis. The next task is to attract even more grandmasters for a longer stay.

The Saint Louis Chess Club is teaming up with Saint Louis University to create the strongest collegiate chess team in the country.

On Chess: Say It Ain't So, Wesley Goes Pro

Jan 7, 2015
Wesley So
Courtesy of Susan Polgar

He arrives in the U.S. as a promising recruit from the Philippines, and in two years makes the jump from the top 100 to No. 10 in the world. He becomes an instant collegiate star, a freshman phenom who leads St. Louis’ powerhouse Webster University program to back-to-back national titles — and then plays the nation’s heartstrings by announcing that his promising future will be played under the red, white and blue for the burgeoning U.S. Chess Federation.

file photo | St. Louis Beacon

There should be excitement for what may come in 2015, as each passing year has proved better than the last. As we say goodbye to 2014, here are a few monuments St. Louis built in 2014:

Chess History Unfolds In St. Louis

On Chess: Norm hunting at the SPICE Cup

Oct 28, 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 28, 2013: Beyond the St. Louis Chess Club and the World Chess Hall of Fame in the Central West End, another important contributor to St. Louis’ thriving chess scene is the presence of GM Susan Polgar, one of the most recognizable women in the game and the coach of Webster University’s national championship team.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: I teach kids how to play chess.

I show up weekly to various elementary schools around St. Louis, with my oversized, roll-up chess board and easel. It’s an easy task, enjoyable, rewarding, even if a tad repetitive: Get your pawns in the center. Castle your king. You’re going to like these forks and pins. Nothing fancy. Not exactly searching for Bobby Fischer. Just making sure everyone gets the standard fighting chances.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: University of Illinois as the fierce underdog to Webster University's likely championship, blue polo shirts worn in competition, and a request that the audience remain silent during matches.

Such is the world of collegiate chess. And this weekend, it is all coming to a boil in suburban D.C.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 5, 2013 - University of Illinois as the fierce underdog to Webster University's likely championship, blue polo shirts worn in competition, and a request that the audience remain silent during matches.

Such is the world of collegiate chess. And this weekend, it is all coming to a boil in suburban D.C. Four collegiate chess teams, including local Webster University, will go head-to-head this weekend at the national Final Four of Collegiate Chess in Rockville, Md.

On Chess: Chess and girl power

Aug 2, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 2, 2012 - The 2012 Susan Polgar Girls' Invitational took place last week at Webster University, and the best chess-playing girls in the country went head-to-head for more than $100,000 in scholarships and prizes. This marked the ninth installment of this invitational tournament but the first time this annual event was hosted in St. Louis.

Female chess juggernauts compete and befriend

Jul 30, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 30, 2012 - As Michelle Chen’s time grew close to expiration last Friday afternoon, her opponent was a few yards away — Alice Dong’s back was turned to the board as she watched a chess game several tables over, one of the few other games still continuing in the final round of the Susan Polgar Girls Invitational chess tournament.

Female chess juggernauts compete and befriend

Jul 30, 2012
Girls get a chance to discover many others who love chess at the Susan Polgar Girls Invitational chess tournament.
Johnny Buse | For the Beacon 2013

As Michelle Chen’s time grew close to expiration last Friday afternoon, her opponent was a few yards away — Alice Dong’s back was turned to the board as she watched a chess game several tables over, one of the few other games still continuing in the final round of the Susan Polgar Girls Invitational chess tournament.

A draw would secure the championship for Chen. Dong needed a win.

Collegiate chess checks into St. Louis universities

Jun 11, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 11, 2012 - There are tried and true elements of sports stories: Trades and transfers, perennial champions and scrappy underdogs, seasoned coaches and prodigious talent, complete with battles across fields, courts and — for a few universities in St. Louis — chessboards.

Collegiate chess checks into St. Louis universities

Jun 11, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: There are tried and true elements of sports stories: Trades and transfers, perennial champions and scrappy underdogs, seasoned coaches and prodigious talent, complete with battles across fields, courts and — for a few universities in St. Louis — chessboards.

Just three years ago, St. Louis had no nationally competitive collegiate chess team; and as recently as January, Washington University’s student run chess club was the lone team in the area. Now, Lindenwood University and Webster University are preparing to roll out elite chess teams for the 2012-13 academic year with high hopes of bringing home national titles to a city that has quickly become America’s chess capital.

Checking out new competition

Feb 21, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 21, 2012 - A decade and a half ago, Tony Rich was organizing chess tournaments in coffee shops and bookstores — anywhere he and a handful of other chess enthusiasts “could borrow space,” he said.

Now, as executive director of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, Rich is helping to roll out the board for two elite collegiate teams moving to the St. Louis area this fall.

St. Louis: the new home of collegiate chess

Feb 8, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 8, 2012 - In just the past few days, St. Louis has become the new home of collegiate chess in that U.S. Lindenwood University and Webster University have become the two latest institutions to offer chess scholarships, and each is committed to a developing a world-class program.

On Chess: The 2011 SPICE Cup

Oct 18, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 18, 2011 - This week I am in Lubbock, Texas, for the annual SPICE Cup Chess Tournament. SPICE stands for Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence, an organization devoted to the promotion of chess education and outreach headquartered at Texas Tech University. Susan is a former Women's World Champion who works alongside her husband, Paul Truong, (a strong chess master in his own right) to organize all sorts of tournaments, chess classes and chess camps. The SPICE Cup is, by far, the strongest tournament they organize, and it is one of the strongest tournaments held annually in the U.S. each year.