Thursday, April 04, 2013

Texas Tech to recruit new players

Texas Tech coach grandmaster Alex Onischuk and outreach coordinator international master Alfonso Almeida will travel to Supernationals in Nashville next month, where 6,000 K-12 students from across the country are competing. Tech will have a booth, and Onischuk will give a chess lesson.

“I was surprised that many students in high school are interested in pursuing a career (in the United States while playing chess at an American university),” Almeida said, “Some people hadn’t heard about Texas Tech, but they had heard about the chess program.”

Onischuk said the biggest challenge with recruiting is scholarship funds. But it’s not only scholarship money that attracts students to Tech. It’s the quality of the school and the opportunity to train with Onischuk.

This summer, the program will send its top players to individual events across the country and one overseas. The team will continue its community outreach by organizing a summer camp in July.

Season play starts in September. In December, Lubbock will host the Pan American Championship for the first time. Onischuk considers the event the biggest tournament in collegiate chess.

“Our goal will be to qualify for the Final Four,” Onischuk said, “but of course, with some luck, we will try to win this tournament.”

The four best teams from the Pan American event will qualify for the Final Four, Onischuk said, which will be hosted near Washington, D.C., in the spring.

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