December 2, 2016

Former SPICE member pleads guilty to assault charge

Chess Grandmaster and Webster Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE) team member Andre Diamant pled guilty to misdemeanor third-degree assault in St. Louis County Aug. 10, according to court records.

The plea stems from an incident approximately one year prior in which Shrewsbury police said Diamant paid his 6-year-old son $40 to drink with him after a victory in a chess tournament.

Associate circuit judge John Borbonus III ordered Diamant to pay a fine of $300 within 30 days. On Aug. 12, the St. Louis Post Dispatch reported court records said Diamant performed 40 hours of community service and attended a parenting class as a demonstration of “good faith.”

The incident was brought to police attention when Diamant’s ex-wife and fellow SPICE member Maraani Kamphorst sought an order of protection against Diamant last year, the Post-Dispatch said.

The Post-Dispatch story also said Diamant told investigators he wanted his son to drink because “alcohol played a part” in the grandmaster’s religious and cultural traditions.

Diamant and Kamphorst met at a chess tournament in Sao Paolo, Brazil in 2007 and joined Polgar’s chess team at Texas Tech University in 2011. The couple, along with Polgar, came to Webster near the start of the 2012-13 school year.

Court records also showed Diamant failed to appear in court on a summons issued in Nov. 2015 for the initial complaint. A warrant was filed and sent to Diamant Jan. 6.

Shrewsbury Police Lt. Brian Catlett told the Post-Dispatch last year that Diamant fled to Brazil, after his initial arrest in August 2015.

Webster Director of Public Relations Patrick Giblin said Diamant is not currently enrolled at the university and could not comment on the case due to the Family and Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

SPICE Director of Marketing Paul Truong said Diamant is no longer attached to SPICE and has returned to Brazil with full custody of his son.

“The last time he represented us was in April 2015,” Truong said.

Correction: Diamant last competed for SPICE at the College Chess Final Four in March of 2015, not December. The print edition lists that Diamant played as a SPICE team member at the 2015 Pan-Am Championships. The Journal regrets the error. 

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