ON THE ROAD: Webster University Chess Team Members ‘Going Places' This Summer!

Summer 2013 means a lot of globe-trotting for members of Webster University's national champion chess team.

ST. LOUIS, June 5, 2013 - Rising sophomore and chess grandmaster Ray Robson has been selected by the U.S. Chess Federation to represent the United States at the Chess World Cup in Tromso, Norway, in August. Prior to that, in mid-July, Robson will participate in a goodwill chess match against China in Ningbo, a city in China's Zhejiang province.

Robson, 18, is the No. 1 junior and No. 5 overall chess player in the U.S. Robson also holds the distinction of being the youngest American chess player ever to earn the grandmaster ranking, at age 14. A “junior” in the chess world is someone who is age 20 or younger.

In May, Robson won the Chicago Open, a prestigious chess event in which 22 grandmasters competed.

Joining Robson at the Chess World Cup in Norway will be his Webster University roommate and chess teammate Wesley So, a grandmaster who will represent his home country of the Philippines. So, who will be a sophomore at Webster this fall, is the No. 1 chess player in the Philippines and the No. 2 junior in the world. Incoming Webster freshman, grandmaster Le Quang Liem, will represent his home country of Vietnam at the Chess World Cup. He is the top-ranked chess player in Vietnam and the former No. 1 junior in the world.

“No university has ever had three of its chess players selected to compete in the World Cup in the same year,” said Webster University chess team coach Susan Polgar. “This is quite an unprecedented honor, and one that underscores the excellence of our chess team members.” 

Next stop is Las Vegas, where Robson, So, and their Webster chess teammates and grandmasters Fidel Corrales Jiminez (the reigning Philadelphia Open Champion) and Manuel Leon Hoyos (the reigning U.S. Open Champion) will compete in the 2013 National Open.

In April, Webster's chess team captured the President's Cup, also known as the Final Four of Collegiate Chess, in an intense two-day tournament in Rockville, Md. Webster made history with multiple “firsts” with the victory:

  • Webster became the first St. Louis team ever to win a Final Four collegiate chess championship.
  • It was the first time in history a team made it to the Final Four of Collegiate Chess in its first year at a school.
  • It's also the first time that a first-year team has been ranked as the No. 1 seed in the Final Four.