April 20, 2018

SPICE Profiles: Ray Robson

Picking up chess to bond with his father, Grand Master Ray Robson brought experience to Webster as a gold medal-winning chess Olympian.

A former chess World Cup participant and senior pursuing international studies, Robson is the leader of what Webster calls its “A-Team.” The veteran, at one point the youngest grandmaster in history, has been a part of every Webster chess team to date.

Beginning tournament play between the age of six and seven, he was homeschooled in his native Florida from middle school until college and competed in tournaments independently.

Robson developed a relationship with coach Susan Polgar at this time and soon joined Webster.

He was one of three team members to win first place at Pan-Am InterCollegiate Chess Championships in December. Robson and his teammates defeated some of the top players in the country from 58 schools including Harvard and Princeton.

The overall tournament win was Webster’s sixth consecutive Pan-Am victory and qualified them for the college national championship, the Final Four of the sport, the President’s Cup.

According to the university website, the Gorloks have been “been ranked #1 in Division I College Chess since its inception in August 2012. It has never relinquished the top ranking.” They are looking to take home a sixth President’s Cup in as many years.

“We’re not the underdogs, Robson said. “They [St. Louis University, Texas Tech and University of Texas Rio Grande Valley] are not going to underestimate us in any way so we just have to be at our best.”

Robson still hopes to also capture a U.S. individual chess championship. There is a professional option within the chess community and he expects pursue chess as a career in the future as well.

Fun Fact: Away from the chess board Robson is also an avid tennis player.

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