From Associated Press
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- It was one of the most brazen moves in the chess world since the Najdorf Sicilian Defense, perhaps even the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit.
Fresh off her second straight national championship, the legendary chess coach at Texas Tech is jumping to another school and taking all the top members of the team with her. No one has ever seen anything like it in intercollegiate competition, not even among powerhouse basketball and football teams that are worth many millions of dollars.
"There's no equivalent," said Mike Hoffpauir, a Virginia consultant who helped organize the recent President's Cup chess tournament, the game's version of the Final Four, which was won by Texas Tech. "If the coach from Kentucky gets hired by UCLA this summer, the whole team's not going to go with him."
Susan Polgar, a home-schooled prodigy from Budapest and the world's top female player by the time she was 15, is taking her champions to private Webster University in suburban St. Louis, a city that is already home to the World Chess Hall of Fame and the U.S. national championships.
It also has a swanky new chess club and scholastic center bankrolled by a billionaire, the kind of place where students can immerse themselves in chess arcana, learning moves such as the King's Indian Defense and others with mysterious names steeped in the game's 1,500-year history.
Webster lured the team with the promise of a greater financial investment.
"The program grew rapidly, and Texas Tech wasn't ready to grow with the speed of the program," said the coach, who founded the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence, known as SPICE, in 2007. "St. Louis today is the center of chess in America. It just seemed like a perfect fit."