Webster UniversityResearch by Webster University’s student newspaper has revealed that Susan Polgar, now Chess coach at Webster, at one time asked Texas Tech University to fund that institution’s Chess program with a $1 million annual budget. According to documents obtained by The Journal through Texas’ open records law, Polgar’s request included:

  • A salary of $250,000 for herself as Chess coach and director of the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE)
  • A salary of $150,000 for her husband as marketing director of SPICE
  • A $25,000 bonus for each of the team’s first place tournament wins (maximum of four)
  • Six full Chess scholarships, covering tuition, fees, room, board, and Chess-related expenses
  • Six to eight partial Chess scholarships, covering tuition and fees
  • 15-20 scholarships as competition awards
  • A commitment to fund SPICE for 5-7 years
  • Office, practice, and library space
  • $30,000-$40,000 for travel expenses
  • The hiring of an office manager and a director of outreach

The basis of that request was apparently an offer made to Polgar by another university. Texas Tech declined and Polgar eventually moved, along with her whole team of Chess players, to Webster University, which nevertheless according to Polgar was not the source of the original competing offer.

Webster University told The Journal that the annual budget for its Chess program is currently $635,000, not including scholarships.

SPICE is a program run by Polgar to train and promote Chess among young girls around the world.

Mirroring discussions often had about college sports programs, an article in The Washington Post questions whether this level of funding is appropriate for college Chess programs.

According to Webster, in order to match the publicity received by the winning Chess program, the University would have to spend $2.8 million for advertising. In addition, Chess enhances the institution’s intellectual reputation.

Also, members of the Chess team, all grandmasters, have been active in community outreach, teaching Chess to students at local schools.

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