September 16, 2008
Written by Jessica Benham
The Knight Raiders chess team has added International Chess Master (IM) Gergely Antal of Hungary to its team. Antal is the highest-rated player in team history.
Antal, an economics major and one of about 2,800 IMs in the world, will push the Knight Raiders' ranking into the top 10 nationally for the first time.
Players must collect a certain number of rating points, and achieve three IM norms by competing against very strong players. There are approximately 100,000 rated chess players, placing him in the top 4 percent in the world.
Paul Truong, director of marketing at Susan Polgar's Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE), said that Antal is a team player who can help his teammates with his tremendous skills and talent.
"He is currently our top player," Truong said. "He can help us in national competitions by making our team substantially stronger."
Antal played chess professionally for a year before beginning his studies at the University of Economics in Hungary. He came very close to achieving the title of Grandmaster (GM), chess' highest ranking, but could not quite reach it, so he decided to continue his education.
"I always wanted to study abroad, especially in the U.S., to learn the language, and see some places," he said. "I got a scholarship for playing chess here so that was an important reason (for choosing Texas Tech)."
Antal said that everyone in his family has a degree, and that also influenced his decision to go to college.
"My goals are the same as other students," he said. "I would like to get a degree, work on my English, travel around Texas and the country, and help my chess team. And, if it's possible, I would like to get the GM title."
Antal also has become involved with SPICE. Susan Polgar, the institute's founder, gives him a taste of home since she is also from Hungary.
"I enjoy just being with other chess players," he said. "I grew up among them. And it's also a great thing to train with Susan. And, she is also from Hungary, so sometimes it's just good to speak my native language."
Truong said that Antal can help SPICE with their many outreach programs, including its effort to reach out to young people locally and help them to do better in school and in life through chess.
"He is a good student first, and a strong chess player second," Truong said. "He is also a very well-rounded individual. He represents exactly what we are aiming for."
CONTACT: Gergely Antal, member, Knight Raiders, Texas Tech University, firstname.lastname@example.org. Paul Truong, director of marketing, SPICE, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-7742, or email@example.com.