In order for SPICE (Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence) team captain Ray Robson to potentially orchestrate a comeback to preserve the team’s chances at the President’s Cup, the team needed a successful performance from one of their other proven core players.
During the President’s Cup, those pressures fell onto freshman Peter Prohaszka. Even after losing his position during his matchup at the President’s Cup, Prohaszka ended the game in a draw, which at the very least, would provide the team with a chance to come away victorious.
Though Webster University’s finish fell short of the ultimate prize, being placed in this position is a consolation of sorts for Prohaszka. During a previous Pan-Am, Prohaszka was a member of the B-Team, before working his way onto the A-Team among multiple Grandmasters.
In his native country of Vac, Hungary, Prohaszka ranks among the top ten as a chess player, according to February 2018’s rankings. The 26-year old earned his international master title in 2007, and proceeded to earn the title of Grandmaster just three years later. In 2012, Prohaszka also proved victorious in the Mare di Fano International Tournament, a 9-round Swiss tournament.
From there, he elected to join Webster University’s chess team for the 2017-18 year.
Prohaszka is new to the culture and background of the United States, and said that this was one of his concerns prior to joining SPICE at Webster University.
“I was slightly concerned about how well I would do,” Prohaszka said. “But I feel I did alright. My GPA is close to 4.0, so I’m doing well at that part. I did not want to miss out on this opportunity. I felt I needed to overcome that. I feel like I made the right decision.”
Prohaszka, who majors in German, is in his first year. He was sought out by SPICE coach Susan Polgar through a mutual friend. The two share common ground in both coming to America from Hungary. Soon after, the Polgar and Prohaszka were able to establish a positive rapport.
As of now, Prohaszka has the fifth-highest FIDE rating among his teammates, trailing Jorge Cori, Ray Robson, Aleksandr Shimanov, and Vasif Durarbayli.
In the future, Prohaszka has the opportunity to continue succeeding with fellow grandmasters. Given that some of the team’s top players, including Robson, have played their last game under SPICE, Prohaszka’s role on the team figures to expand.
With the opportunity that future seasons will present, Prohaszka says the goal remains simple.
“This is a wonderful possibility that has been created,” Prohaszka said. “The opportunity that so many grand masters can come together and get better together and fight for the university.”