Chess may be one of the most important games in humanity.
It has taken geniuses and robots to master, has lasted through centuries of sporting, permeated across the globe and found its way onto almost every college campus in the country. Yet despite its prodigious back story, it is still one of the most democratic games, funneling down to just two individuals and their wits.
The College Chess Championship
The illustrious President’s Chess Cup is the ultimate competition for college chess teams, and in the last few decades it hasn't been Yale, Harvard or Princeton that's taken home the trophy, but rather four much less prestigious schools: Webster University, University of Texas at Dallas, University of Maryland Baltimore College and Texas Tech.
And while they’re not Ivy league, these schools play chess like Ohio State plays Football, University of Kentucky plays basketball or Stanford plays Silicon Valley startup—proving that you can find clever and talented kids at any college in the country.
Let’s look at the squads:
We’ll start with the most recently crowned school: Webster University. These masterful chess ballers have come out of nowhere (Webster Grove, Missouri to be exact) to beat out the University of Texas, Harvard and Stanford teams to win the President’s Cup for the past three years. These students take the game seriously, and may have a shot at breaking the national winning-streak record. That’s pretty huge for a school with under 3,000 enrolled undergrads.
The University of Texas at Dallas also have a very impressive chess team, having won the President’s Cup in 2008, 2007, 2002 and coming in second many times between, before and after. They take chess to heart, not just using their expertise to win trophies, but to create awareness for the sport and bring students, teachers and Dallas locals together.
University of Maryland Baltimore College represents Maryland hard--bringing in more trophies than the Terps basketball team or Hopkins Lacrosse teams combined. They’ve won six championships in past fifteen years, but more importantly they’ve built a popular chess community at the school. The club holds outdoor tournaments on their beautiful campus, has expert professors leading their team and devotes plenty of campus space chess play.
Last but not least, the Texas Tech Knight Raiders won the Cup in 2011 and 2012 and were in the championship the last two years. While the school is known for it’s football and basketball teams, it’s this small coterie of chess champs that keep competing at the national level, making chess skills something to be proud of at their school.
At Academbot we honor these chess phenoms, and encourage students at all schools to take a stab at the crown. If you don’t think you’ve got what it takes to be one of the national greats, then just try to be a campus great, or a dorm great. Whatever level you want to compete at, just know that chess legends can be built at any campus in the country.
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