SLU chess team honored for historic season : SLU

05/04/2022

Six years after its founding, the Saint Louis University chess team won the President’s Cup to win the national collegiate chess championship.

Chess Celebration and dedication of the Sinquefield Chess Commons on May 3, 2022. Photo by Sarah Conroy.”/> Start slideshowMembers of the SLU Chess Team take a photo with Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield, and University President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., before the Chess Celebration and dedication of the Sinquefield Chess Commons on May 3, 2022. Photo by Sarah Conroy.

On Tuesday evening, inside the Sinquefield Chess Commons, the chess team was honored – not only for their historic season which included a number of tournament wins, but also for how far the program has come since its creation.

The chess team was created in the fall of 2016 as a partnership between SLU and the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, with support from SLU alumnus, administrator of the university and chess enthusiast Rex Sinquefield.

“Six years later, here we are with a banner next to me and outside that reads ‘National Champions,'” said William Perkins, Director of Pre-College, Access and TRIO Programs. “It was an incredible race.”

Coach Alejandro Ramirez has been part of the program since its inception. During the celebration, he talked about how far the team has come since its freshman year. Ramirez noted that over the years he has learned a lot from the students on the team.

“Our students represent us at the highest level again and again and I’m very, very proud of them,” Ramirez said.

University president Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., recalled one of his first conversations with Sinquefield about starting a chess program — one that would win trophies and prizes. tournaments.

“Rex had a vision,” Pestello said.

This vision of Rex and his wife, Dr. Jeanne Sinquefield, said Pestello, had “enormous meaning”. This led to the creation of the team and ultimately the emergence of the #1 collegiate chess team in the nation.

“We want to thank you, Jeanne, and we want to thank you, Rex, for one, pushing us and then supporting us so that we can do this at an extraordinary level – a level that we can be proud of, a level of excellence,” Pestello said.

Pointing to the members of the chess team, Pestello said the University was “very proud” of them and their accomplishments.

“We have these incredible young people here who have put countless hours into this craft,” Pestello said. “We were talking about it earlier, they train five to six hours a day or even more year after year, year after year. They love this game and love being together here at this university, competing at the highest level. … How great it is to be at the top of the game and how great it is for Saint Louis University to have you here.

Rex Sinquefield, dubbed the “Godfather of American Chess” by his wife, Jeanne, also praised the chess team.

“Alejandro, I just can’t say enough about you and your team,” said Rex Sinquefield. “You can lie in bed every night and look at the ceiling and say, ‘I’m the best in the world’ because you really are.”

Like others, Sinquefield marveled at the quick journey from no team to a championship team.

“When I think back and reflect, I think, ‘How the hell did they do that? said Sinquefield. “We had no one, we had nothing. . . . For you, to do this in a few years is incredible. It doesn’t happen in sports. Already.”

As well as honoring the chess team, Tuesday’s ceremony featured a dedication of the Sinquefield Chess Commons – the home of the chess team and all of its trophies located in Morrissey Hall. The space was blessed by David Suwalsky, Ph.D., SJ. Vice President Mission and Identity.

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