ST. LOUIS, Oct. 8, 2012 – Six of the best chess players in the world – two of them members of the new Webster University chess team – will compete in the 2012 SPICE CUP Invitational tournament, to be held Oct. 12-21 on the Webster University campus. This historic tournament is a FIDE (International Chess Federation) category 18 event, making it the highest-rated chess tournament of its kind in U.S. history.
All six players are multiple-time Olympians. They include:
- Grandmaster LeQuang Liem (Vietnam), the defending SPICE CUP Invitational champion, Vietnamese champion and No. 1 player in Vietnam.
- Grandmaster Maxime Vachier-Lagrave (France), former World Junior champion and French champion and No. 1 player in France.
- Grandmaster Ding Liren (China), three-time and reigning champion of China, and the No.3 Junior in the world.
- Grandmaster Csaba Balogh (Hungary), member of the Hungarian National chess team and top-notch chess author.
- Grandmaster Wesley So (Philippines), national champion, No. 1 player in the Philippines and a Webster University freshman.
- Grandmaster Georg Meier (Germany), European team champion and Webster University sophomore and co-captain of the Webster University chess team.
The SPICE CUP Invitational tournament kicks off with a free and open-to-the-public Welcome Ceremony at 1 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 12, in Room 102 of Webster’s East Academic Building, 545 Garden Ave. in Webster Groves. During tournament play, the six competitors will face one another twice, once with black chess pieces and once with white pieces.
Polgar, who is one of the strongest female chess players in history, is the winner of four world championships and the only world champion in history – male or female – to win the Triple-Crown (Rapid, Blitz and Classical Chess world championships). She is the first woman to break the gender barrier to qualify for the Men’s World Championship Cycle, earn the Men’s Grandmaster title, and to receive the Grandmaster of the Year Award.
At Webster, SPICE and Polgar are leaders in promoting chess as a vehicle for global diversity and academic excellence, for enriching the education of children and for promoting women’s chess. In 2011, Polgar became the first female head coach to lead a men’s collegiate Division 1 chess team (Texas Tech University) to the national title, a feat she repeated in 2012.