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Webster University's queen of college chess leads team to another championship

Webster University's queen of college chess leads team to another championship


ST. LOUIS • Webster University's new chess team is celebrating its second national championship in two years. And their leader, coach Susan Polgar, is celebrating her fourth title in four years.

Before coming to Webster, Polgar won two championships as head coach at Texas Tech.

But she said Monday that the latest tournament, held in New York over the weekend, was the toughest.  

"Things didn't get decided until the last minute of the last games," she said. "They were nail biters to the very end." 

Webster University finished with 9.5 points; University of Maryland Baltimore County 7; Texas Tech 6.5; and University of Illinois 1.

Of the six players on Webster's championship team, five were in the Final Four last year. Polgar said all of the players are grandmasters. They hail from Cuba, United States, Philippines, Vietnam, Israel and Germany. 

Polgar, 44, originally from Hungary, said she expects her players to work as a team and be mentally and physically tough. Some of them do cross fit training, a rigorous form of exercise.   

"It's all part of the program," she said.

Webster University is planning a celebration on campus sometime next week. Two years in existence, the chess team won back-to-back national titles. 

"We are very happy to bring the title again to Webster University and St. Louis," Polgar said. 

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