SPICE welcomes three National Scholastic Champions to team


The Webster University Chess Team is adding six freshman this year, bringing the total roster to 25 players: five are from the United States.

Former Lindenwood University player, Grandmaster (GM) Priyadharshan Kannappan, is from India.

The U.S. Chess Federation rankings placed incoming freshman Josh Colas at 4th among 17-year-old players. Justus Williams is ranked 9th among 18-year-olds and Aaron Grabinsky ranked just behind Williams in 10th in the 18-year-old bracket.

Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE) Director of Marketing Paul Truong said Colas, Williams, and Grabinsky have all won multiple National Scholastic Championships over the years.

Freshman Kaleb Gosdin and Kenneth Fernandez round-out the incoming lineup.

Truong also said four current SPICE members will be attending the 42nd World Chess Olympiad in Baku, Azerbaijan September 1 – 4.

According to Truong, SPICE member and grandmaster Vasif Durarbayli will represent his home country Azerbaijan. GM Le Quang Liem (Vietnam), GM Ray Robson (USA) and Women’s Grandmaster Katerina Nemcova (Czech Republic) will represent the United States at the Olympiad.

In the past four years the Webster Chess Team won two world titles, four world-open titles, and 38 other national and major titles.

“That’s a total domination that doesn’t exist in any sport,” Truong said.

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