Louisville, Ky. – Mayor Greg Fischer welcomed more than 200 school children from around the world to Louisville as they participated in the 2015 Susan Polgar Foundation World Open chess tournament at the historic Brown Hotel in Louisville, Nov. 20-22.
Playing chess is proven to dramatically reduce the drop-out rate of school-age children and increase standardized performance scores wherever it has been introduced in the United States. Many Louisville area schools have added chess instruction to their school activities in recent years.
“Our goal in Louisville is to provide a world-class, seamless and coordinated education system that provides ample opportunities for developing creativity and creative thinking, skilled workers, engaged citizens and civic leaders,” Fischer said. “Chess, with its many documented benefits, fits right in with our plan. We are pleased that the Susan Polgar Foundation has chosen our city to host this important event.”
As part of the tournament, students competed for college scholarships and other prizes. Over the past 12 years, the Susan Polgar Foundation, the main sponsor of the event, has presented more than $4.5 million in college scholarships through its institutional partners to children who play chess in the U.S. The boy and girl winner in the championship section of this weekend’s tournament will receive four-year scholarships to Webster University in St. Louis, valued at $13,000 per year or $52,000 total.
The prestigious chess tournament was held in memory of popular Louisville teacher Steve Dillard, known as “Mr. Kentucky Chess,” who passed away earlier this year. Dillard, 55, was a national tournament director (TD) recognized by the United States Chess Federation (USCF) with a meritorious service award and a TD Lifetime Achievement Award.