It’s the Final Four — but nothing like March Madness. And refreshingly so.
Instead of a collegiate sport that is all about television money and bad graduation rates, the Final Four of Chess, which this year featured the University of Texas at Dallas, the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, Stanford and Harvard, is about skilled players who are great students. What an intercollegiate concept.
“Chess is a way of making a name for a strong university that doesn’t have a 300- or 400-year history like Harvard,” explains Tim Redman, the director of the chess program at UTD, this year’s national champion.
“Recruiting is good for schools because chess players are bright,” points out Frank Niro, executive director of the U.S. Chess Federation. “It automatically brings good students to the schools.”
It won’t, however, bring ESPN, Nike and NBA lottery picks. Which is the point.