MU Adds Chess Team, Brings in Grandmaster to Coach | KBIA

MU Adds Chess Team, Brings in Grandmaster to Coach

Feb 14, 2019

The University of Missouri will be adding a new team to its roster next year.

The MU Chess Team will be bringing the university into the world of collegiate chess.

Over the past year, the university and the St Louis Chess Club have reached an agreement to start a competitive chess team.

Pat Okker is the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, which is the new team’s home.

“I do see this as, what I hope to be the beginning of a partnership” Okker said. “I think it’s fair to say that the St Louis Chess Club and the University of Missouri are both open to exploring what are some new possible ways of partnering together.”

Plans for partnerships between the university and the chess club include hosting a variety of chess competitions for different skill levels and offering various courses revolving around chess.

MU does offer a chess club for students but hopes the addition of the team will create an interest in the game and allow it to offer more resources.

The team will be led by Grandmaster Cristian Chirila.

Chirila became a grandmaster at 18 years old and had been coaching in the Bay area after graduating from the University of Texas-Dallas.

Chirila had the idea to start a new team while in the Bay area.

“I was thinking of starting a new collegiate chess program because I think it has a lot of potential-collegiate chess in general-and it’s not tapped sufficiently,” Chirila said.

One challenge is that the pool of chess players able to join a collegiate team is small so it’s a competitive area among colleges, Chirila said.

The aim of the new team is to bring chess to Missouri and help expand college level chess in the United States.