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SLU Partners with Chess Club and Scholastic Center to Establish University's First Chess Team

While the chess world's attention is focused on St. Louis - as the best players compete in the 2015 Sinquefield Cup - Saint Louis University and the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis announce the formation of SLU's first-ever collegiate chess program.

Designed to attract the best and brightest minds internationally, SLU's chess team will compete for some of the most coveted collegiate titles in the country. The program is a collaboration between the University and the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

The team will be coached by Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez, a full-time employee of the Chess Center. Originally from Costa Rica, Ramirez has been playing under the Stars and Stripes since 2010 and has a history of strong tournament results.

Ramirez was the winner of the 2010 U.S. Open and runner-up at the 2013 U.S. Championship, and has qualified for the FIDE World Chess Championship, the World Cup and multiple Olympiads. He is also a world renowned chess commentator and journalist for Grand Chess Tour, ChessBase and a number of other chess outlets.

"It's an honor to be selected to help build a competitive collegiate team at a university as distinguished as SLU," Ramirez said. "This is an exciting time to be a part of the St. Louis chess community - it is truly the nation's chess capital and home to the country's top tournaments, facilities and scholastic programs."

For the first time in its nearly 200-year history, SLU will offer competitive scholarships and recruit top-tier chess players from around the globe. Inspired by legendary world champion Garry Kasparov's commencement speech at the University in May, the initiative will add to the ever-growing list of grandmasters who call St. Louis home, reinforcing the city as the mecca of chess.

It's an honor to be selected to help build a competitive collegiate team at a university as distinguished as SLU," Ramirez said. "This is an exciting time to be a part of the St. Louis chess community - it is truly the nation's chess capital and home to the country's top tournaments, facilities and scholastic programs.

"Ranked as one of the top universities in the United States, Saint Louis University has an unparalleled opportunity to promote collegiate chess on the world stage," said Jay Goff, the University's vice president for enrollment and retention management. "SLU's chess team will not only focus on academics and competitive chess, but will also be actively involved in the St. Louis community, including assisting with and promoting the Chess Club and Scholastic Center's educational initiatives."

Saint Louis University is currently recruiting grandmasters and international masters in an effort to have a complete team formed by the fall of 2016. For more information, call 1-800-758-3678 or email admission@slu.edu.

Saint Louis University

Saint Louis University is a Catholic, Jesuit institution that values academic excellence, life-changing research, compassionate health care, and a strong commitment to faith and service. Founded in 1818, the University fosters the intellectual and character development of more than 13,000 students on campuses in St. Louis and Madrid, Spain. Building on a legacy of nearly 200 years, Saint Louis University continues to move forward with an unwavering commitment to a higher purpose, a greater good. For more information, visit www.slu.edu or find us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) educational organization that is committed to making chess an important part of our community. In addition to providing a forum for the community to play tournaments and casual games, the club also offers chess improvement classes, beginner lessons, special lectures and plays host to the top chess tournaments in the nation. Recognizing the cognitive and behavioral benefits of chess, the Chess Club and Scholastic Center is committed to supporting those chess programs that already exist in area schools while encouraging the development of new in-school and after-school programs. For more information, visit www.saintlouischessclub.org.