Grandmaster and former student Liem Quang Le to be next chess coach

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Grandmaster Liem Quang Le is the top-rated player in his home country of Vietnam and a former chess player at Webster. He will become the new head coach of Webster’s chess team.

In the world of competitive chess, Susan Polgar is a trailblazer. She was the first woman to qualify for the Men’s World Chess Championships and only the third to earn the title of Grandmaster. 

During her nine years as the head coach for Webster’s chess program, the Gorloks have consistently been one of the best teams in the United States. 

On April 9, Polgar announced she is retiring from her position. Her successor, Grandmaster Liem Quang Le, is one of her former players.

Le played with the Gorloks from 2013 to 2017 and captained the team his junior and senior years. He said Webster is the only university where he’d want to be the head coach.

“I did not take much time to consider when I was offered this position – it was simply a life calling I had to answer,” Le said. “In my mind, taking this job is about paying it forward.”

The new coach plans to build on this legacy by continuing to recruit the brightest students who strive for academic and chess excellence. 

From day one, he will come in with big ambitions for his team. 

The University of Maryland, Baltimore County holds the most wins in college chess history: 10 Pan American titles and six Final Four titles.

“My goal is to break that record and make Webster the dominating team in any collegiate tournament,” Le said. “I also want to have at least one of my students get into the world’s top 10.”

Emilio Cordova Daza, Le’s former teammate, said there is no one better to lead the Webster team.

“Le is awesome, one of the best people I have ever met,” Cordova Daza said. “I played against him a few times; he crushed me in some matches.” 

Graphic by Cas Waigand

Le has made a name for himself in the global chess community. In July 2005, he won the Under-14 World Youth Chess Championship and earned the title Grandmaster at 15. He is currently the top-ranked player in his home country of Vietnam.

Both Le and Cordova Daza recall the triumphs during their careers and credit Polgar as the woman who made it possible.

Her list of accolades confirms her chess career, but the impact Grandmaster Polgar has on her players goes far beyond any award.

“[Polgar] made an enormous contribution to the chess world, and particularly at Webster,” Cordova Daza said. “She will always leave a footprint wherever she goes.” 

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Emily Craig
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