Texas Tech Announces Highest-Rated 10-Member Chess Round-Robin in U.S. History

Written by Cory Chandler

Texas Tech University's Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence announced Thursday it has assembled one of the strongest fields of chess grandmasters in U.S. round-robin history for its 2008 SPICE Cup International Invitational Tournament.

The 10 players - all grandmasters - confirmed for the event boast an average rating of 2605 according to World Chess Federation (FIDE) ratings.

This makes SPICE Cup a Category 15 tournament - the highest-rated tournament of its kind held on U.S. soil.

"We have secured a very prestigious roster of players from around the globe to compete in this tournament," said SPICE Director Susan Polgar. "In chess terms, this would be the equivalent of bringing Wimbledon or the Masters Golf Tournament to Lubbock."

The invitational round-robin tournament pits an international slate of 10 players against each other through nine rounds of play over 10 days. It will take place from Sept. 19-28 at the Texas Tech Student Union Building and is the main attraction of Texas Tech's annual SPICE Cup Festival. Other activities include the 2008 Texas Women's Open Championship, SPICE Cup Grand Prix, SPICE Cup Scholastic and SPICE Cup Pro-Am.

Players with their U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) and FIDE ratings are as follows:

Alexander Onischuk, United States, 2734 USCF / 2670 FIDE Harikrishna Pentala, India, 2724 USCF/2668 FIDE Leonid Kritz, Germany, 2667 USCF / 2610 FIDE

Varuzhan Akobian, United States, 2660 USCF / 2610 FIDE Gregory Kaidanov, United States, 2664 USCF / 2605 FIDE Julio Becerra, United States, 2640 USCF / 2598 FIDE Victor Mikhalevski, Israel, 2679 USCF / 2592 FIDE Kamil Miton, Poland, 2703 USCF / 2580 FIDE Hannes Stefansson, Iceland, 2597 USCF / 2566 FIDE Eugene Perelshteyn, United States, 2619 USCF / 2555 FIDE (Defending Champion)

CONTACT: Paul Truong, director of marketing, SPICE, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-7742, or paul.truong@ttu.edu.