Prestigious International Chess Tournament Underway

SPICE Cup 2011 is being held in the Matador Room at the Student Union Building.

Players from all over the world, including Texas Tech's Knight Raiders, are participating in the fourth annual invitational.

Players from all over the world, including Texas Tech's Knight Raiders, are participating in the fourth annual invitational.

SPICE Cup 2011, the most prestigious international invitational chess tournament in the U.S., is in full swing at Texas Tech this week (Oct.15-25).

In the Matador Room of the Student Union Building, respected players from all over the world are participating in the fourth annual invitational, including six of Texas Tech’s own Knight Raiders.

Paul Truong, Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE) marketing director, said the invitational’s “A” group marks SPICE Cup 2011 as the highest-rated international invitational in U.S. history.

“It is like bringing the Super Bowl or Wimbledon to Texas Tech and Lubbock,” Truong said. “More than 30 million people in over 170 countries follow this event online and through various media sources.”

The tournament includes a World Chess Federation (FIDE) Rated Open, a scholastic event and an open competition. Spectators are welcome and admission is free.

The six Knight Raiders competing are as follows:

  • Group A: Grandmaster Georg Meier of Germany.

Meier is a freshman and the no. 2 ranked player in Germany. He represents Germany in the Olympiad, World Cup and other major events.

  • Group B: Grandmaster Anatoly Bykhovsky of Israel and Grandmaster Denes Boros of Hungary.

Bykhovsky played top board for Texas Tech last year and helped the Knight Raiders win the Final Four for the first time. 

  • Group C: Grandmaster Andre Diamant of Brazil, International Master Vitaly Neimer of Israel and Senior Master Faik Aleskerov of Azerbaijan.

Diamant and Aleskerov were key members of the national championship team last year.

In addition to being the current national champions, the Texas Tech Knight Raider team is currently ranked no. 1 in the country.

“No school has ever achieved this honor in just three years of competing in Division I competition,” Truong said. “Susan became the first female head coach earlier this year to lead a men’s Division I team to the national championship. Now she is the first female head coach to lead the no. 1 ranked team in the nation.”

Truong said events like the SPICE Cup not only bring strong players from all over, but also help the Knight Raider team to stay sharp and defend its title. Hosting such prestigious events helps Texas Tech to recruit top-caliber players.

Texas Tech Chess Program

Texas Tech Chess Program

Through the Texas Tech Chess Program, the university has focused its resources on providing scholarships for players, conducting research, championing scholastic, college and women's chess and reaching out to chess enthusiasts of all ages.

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