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St. Louis University offers chess scholarships
by Albert Silver
9/21/2015 – Rolling on the crest of the wave of chess in the United States, Saint Louis University partners with the St. Louis Chess Club to announce the university's first-ever collegiate chess program. For the first time in its nearly 200-year history, SLU will offer competitive scholarships and recruit top-tier chess players from around the globe.
Designed to attract the best and brightest minds internationally, SLU's chess team will compete for some of the most coveted collegiate titles in the country. The program is a collaboration between the University and the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.
The team will be coached by Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez, a full-time employee of the Chess Center. Originally from Costa Rica, Ramirez has been playing under the Stars and Stripes since 2010 and has a history of strong tournament results.
Ramirez was the winner of the 2010 U.S. Open and runner-up at the 2013 U.S. Championship, and has qualified for the FIDE World Chess Championship, the World Cup and multiple Olympiads. He is also a world renowned chess commentator and journalist for Grand Chess Tour, ChessBase and a number of other chess outlets.
The playing hall of the St. Louis Chess Club
"It's an honor to be selected to help build a competitive collegiate team at a university as distinguished as SLU," Ramirez said. "This is an exciting time to be a part of the St. Louis chess community - it is truly the nation's chess capital and home to the country's top tournaments, facilities and scholastic programs."
For the first time in its nearly 200-year history, SLU will offer competitive scholarships and recruit top-tier chess players from around the globe. Inspired by legendary world champion Garry Kasparov's commencement speech at the University in May, the initiative will add to the ever-growing list of grandmasters who call St. Louis home, reinforcing the city as the mecca of chess.
"Ranked as one of the top universities in the United States, Saint Louis University has an unparalleled opportunity to promote collegiate chess on the world stage," said Jay Goff, the University's vice president for enrollment and retention management. "SLU's chess team will not only focus on academics and competitive chess, but will also be actively involved in the St. Louis community, including assisting with and promoting the Chess Club and Scholastic Center's educational initiatives."
Saint Louis University is currently recruiting grandmasters and international masters in an effort to have a complete team formed by the fall of 2016.