2008 Spice Cup Ends in Four-way Tie for First Place

The 2008 Spice Cup International Invitational Tournament culminated on Sunday (Sept. 28) with a four-way tie for first place.

Written by Jessica Benham

The 2008 Spice Cup International Invitational Tournament culminated on Sunday (Sept. 28) with a four-way tie for first place.

Harikrishna Pentala of India, Alexander Onischuk and Varuzhan Akobian, both of the United States, and Leonid Kritz of Germany tied for first place with 5.5 points each.

Paul Truong, director of marketing at the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE), said the focus of the chess world was on Texas Tech during the Spice Cup.

"We are very fortunate to have 10 incredible players competing and the ending was full of drama," he said. "Going into the final round, we had six of the 10 players in contention to win this prestigious title. We had no idea who would win this world-class event until the final game was completed."

Texas Tech's International Master (IM) Gergely Antal and Grandmaster (GM) Alejandro Ramirez of the University of Texas at Dallas were named co-champions of the Spice Cup Open.

Antal found out just before the Spice Cup Open that his father had passed away in Hungary.

"We are so proud of Gergely Antal," Truong said. "He still competed to represent Texas Tech and gave everything he had to bring the title to our university in spite of being only the third seed in the tournament."

SPICE is trying to raise money for Antal's ticket home to attend the funeral of his father. Donations can be made to the Susan Polgar Foundation on behalf of Gergely Antal. For more information call (806) 742-7742.

Antal's achievement of co-champion in the Spice Cup Open is the biggest title in the history of the Knight Raiders.

"He is a true champion and leader of the Knight Raiders," Truong said. "Antal will be helping the Knight Raiders shoot for the first national title next year."

GM Sabina Foisor of Romania won the Texas Women's Championship, and IM Bayaraa Zorigt of the University of Texas at Dallas placed second - earning the title of the highest-finishing Texan.

Truong said both Kritz and Foisor are planning to attend Texas Tech next fall.

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