Webster University, the new powerhouse in college chess, won its second straight Final Four of College Chess Sunday. The University of Maryland Baltimore County, the old powerhouse in college chess, finished second.
Behind its controversial and ultracompetitive coach, Susan Polgar, Webster dominated the tournament with Grandmasters on all four of its boards. Webster had 9.5 points, a large margin over UMBC, which finished with 7, fielding just two Grandmasters. Texas Tech had 6.5 points and the University of Illinois had 1.
While UMBC has the most Final Four wins, with six, it hasn’t won the championship since 2010. The school’s recruiting, chess scholarships and heavy emphasis on the game as a signal of its academic seriousness has been copied — and in some cases overtaken — by other programs, most recently Webster.
Webster’s victory looked a lot like winning the other Final Four (of basketball). The team immediately donned championship t-shirts, much like Kentucky or UConn will tonight in Dallas at the other Final Four (of basketball). Here’s a photo Polgar tweeted: