Chess Or Football... Which One's Getting More Attention? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

11/10/07

Chess Or Football... Which One's Getting More Attention?

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The SPICE Cup has brought competitors from across the globe to duke it out on the chess board. At Saturday's football game between Texas Tech and UT the 500,000 people watching will cheer loudly for their team. As for the SPICE Cup, the millions of people watching this event will do so in silence.

Some of the best chess players in the world have converged on Texas Tech's campus for the invitational SPICE Cup. SPICE stands for The Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence and Paul Truong is the director of marketing for SPICE at Tech - the first program of its kind in the world.

"The idea of the SPICE Cup is to bring attention to the university and what we do in terms of our program," said Truong.

"Chess is a combination of being a sport, science and an art," added Susan Polgar the institute and tournaments namesake. And Polgar has quite the chess resume herself. She holds five Olympic gold medals and is the current world chess champion, four times running. Now she  shares her wisdom of chess as a Texas Tech professor.

"People have played chess for over 2000 years and still every game is different from another," said Polgar.

This sport draws nearly 700 million people across the globe to chess boards. Whether it's a table top version or the human sized edition, Polgar says this game has a following for good reason.

"It's a great tool for children. It's also a great tool for older people to prevent or delay Alzheimer's disease," said Polgar.

"Everybody from the age of 4 to 94 are playing chess," added Truong.

"It also teaches me multiplication cuz because the chess board is 8 divided by 8," said Tom Shutzman, The second grade world champion.

I asked, "Do you think you'll play chess the rest of your life?"

Shutzman replied, "Yeah."

For Tom and his fellow international competitors the art of chess has come simply out of a love for a game Paul Truong says anyone can learn.

"To be a world champion that's a different story but to know how to play the game and enjoy it, that's a different story," said Truong.

"That's the beauty of chess, you can connect people from all kinds of different backgrounds, countries, religions, social economic levels, it really have no boundaries," said Polgar.

To watch the SPICE Invitational online, click here

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