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The queens we use would not excite you ...

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Football_Bat, Mar 17, 2007.

  1. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member


    At UT-Dallas, chess keeping athletics in checkmate
    Eds: Also moved in advance. Moving on general news and sports services.
    AP Photos of March 15: DN106-108
    Associated Press Writer
    RICHARDSON, Texas (AP) — In the physics building at the University of Texas at Dallas, there’s a windowless office with two chairs and a wobbly table — more resources than most small suburban colleges would bother providing an after-school chess club.
    But when it comes to chess here, Room 2.310 in Founders Hall is just the start.
    At a school without football and a Division III sports program perpetually fighting obscurity, the chess team has evolved from being as relevant as a French club to an influential, brand-exposing billboard for UT-Dallas with a $109,000 budget — more than three times what the school gives to men’s basketball.
    The financial blessing has made UT-Dallas, favored to win its third title in the final four of collegiate chess that begins March 24, a unique chess power that’s as internationally attractive to teenage chess masters as Duke and North Carolina are to prep basketball’s elite.
    In 10 years, a club that began with occasional games run by a humanities professor now has a full-time director with a bigger paycheck than several head coaches on campus. The team also has a salaried instructor from the former Yugoslavia and a supply of full scholarships to use as bait in its year-round recruiting.
    “For all the PR they get out of us, I think (the university) gets a pretty good return,” said Jim Stallings, the chess director whose career in marketing is more valuable to his new job than his interest in the game.
    A prominent engineering school with about 15,000 students, UT-Dallas hitched its wagon to chess with hopes of making a board game often used as a nerdy punch line into a symbol of the school’s intellectual stature — even if, in the words of undergraduate dean Michael Coleman, “We don’t want to be snobs.”
    The school’s chess players include two grandmasters — the game’s highest ranking — and are as predictable in their bookish qualities as height on a basketball team. The roster is filled with foreign-born students from countries such as India and Serbia who study computer science and finance. To that end, it’s a naturally brainy group: The collective grade point average of its freshmen is a point higher than the school average.
    But there’s eye rolling at the suggestion that they’re, you know, just dorky introverts.
    “We hang out, go to parties, play poker,” said Dmitri Schneider, a senior who is an international master from New York. “You know, stuff that normal college kids would do.”
    Coleman, who has been at UT-Dallas since the 1970s, has seen the school mushroom from a few research buildings flush with graduate students into a four-year school with one of the top academic reputations in the state. He’s confident the resources given to the chess team is a small price to pay for the exposure.
    “It’s not big money compared to lots of institutions,” Coleman said. “But it’s important money for us. Over 10 years I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s money well spent.”
    That money also is necessary for UT-Dallas to compete with the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, the nation’s other chess power. UMBC, which also offers scholarships and pours similar resources into its team, has won the last four titles and will play for a fifth straight at the weekend tournament held near the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.
    It’s a streak that Rade Milovanovic, the UT-Dallas coach and an international master himself, says “needs to come to an end.” His biggest decision is which members of the team to use in the tournament.
    “It’s just like basketball, where a coach chooses the six players he wants to use,” he said.
    Milovanovic then paused, as though his king was about to be captured.
    “I mean five.”
    On the Net:
  2. I said that very thing last night.
  3. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    Because there's no Games Wire?
  4. John

    John Well-Known Member

    I wonder the same thing about poker stories.
  5. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    I get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine.
  6. Freelance Hack

    Freelance Hack Active Member

    What? Did your syndicated bridge column not come through properly?
  7. Bubbler

    Bubbler Well-Known Member

    Nice Murray Head reference.
  8. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    So you better go back to your bars, your temples, your massage parlors....

    The play Chess was one of the conspicuous victims of the end of the Cold War. It's so quaint as to be incapable of being revived on Broadway or in London.
  9. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    What if its performed to ABBA songs? Would that work?
  10. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Fernando would kinda fit an espionage theme, but Super Trooper and Take a Chance on Me? Not so much.
  11. Boomer7

    Boomer7 Active Member

    If it were presented as a slice of '80s retro, it might work. Don't think it got its full due in this country 20 years ago, unfortunately.
  12. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member


    I worked with a guy who was obsessed with that soundtrack.
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