Chess team wins Pan-American Championship


Webster’s two chess teams – “A” team and “B” team – competed against 57 other teams. The “A” team won first place, and the “B” team won third overall.

The Webster University chess “A” team won first place and Webster’s “B” team won third at the  Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championships. Webster competed against 57 other teams.

The top four U.S. universities will move on to The President’s Cup, also known as the “Final Four” – a competition to determine which team will hold the national title. In that competition, Webster will face off against Saint Louis University, Texas Tech and University of Texas Rio Grande Valley according to the U.S. Chess Federation. 

The chess team is coached by Susan Polgar, who is the director of the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE) at Webster, and has been crowned the champion at the Pan-Am Championship eight times in the past nine years. Webster’s team has also held the Division I No.1 ranking for the past nine years. 

“After a hard year with the COVID-19 pandemic, Webster University chess team is the CHAMPION again! …” Polgar wrote in a Facebook post on Jan. 6. “I am so proud of these amazing students!”

On Jan. 7, Polgar posted a video of the team holding a socially distanced celebration. 

“This is the result of hard work, personal sacrifice, dedication, and teamwork! No pain, no gain! But we are rewarded with yummy cake!” Polgar wrote in the Facebook post. 

The Pan-Am Championship was originally scheduled for Dec. 26 – 30 2020, according to U.S. Chess News post. The original event, which was supposed to be held at the University of Toronto, was rescheduled for a first-ever virtual competition in January. 

The U.S. Chess Federation article following the Pan-Am Championship stated that the President’s Cup tournament will probably be virtual this year as well. In the article, Polgar said the team has already begun preparing and is looking forward to a difficult competition. 

Students can view Webster’s news article about the win here.

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Cas Waigand (she/her) was the editor-in-chief for the Journal (Spring 2021). She majored in journalism with a minor in photography. Cas also covered COVID-19 and the 2020 general election. She enjoys writing, watching Netflix, crocheting, and taking photos.