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Message from the UTB/TSC President

When the partnership between The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College was formed in 1991 to improve access to higher education, it was a move that any chess player would have declared a winner for the community and the region.  At about the same time, Brownsville Independent School District students were beginning to find a niche in the world of chess.  That phenomenon grew with such fervor and purpose that the entire community has caught the chess infection that has spread throughought the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

In 2004, UTB/TSC and BISD collaborated to host the Region VIII Scholastic Chess tournament, which was then the largest regional chess tournament in the state.  Students from Brownsville to Rio Grande City brought their A games to compete against some of the toughest competitors in the state. We saw that it was not only the children who were learning beauty of this intriguing game, but parents were also becoming engaged as they anxiously watched over the youngest players. Presenting the awards to players from kindergarten to college completely affirmed that the community was doing the right thing.

Grand Master Gilberto Hernandez joined the University in 2006 to coach our University team.  Grandmaster Hernandez has been the top-ranked player from Mexico since 1995. He has extended his outreach beyond our college students, however, and shares his experience and expertise with the communities across the Rio Grande Valley. We invite teachers and coaches to take advantage of our program that has been developed especially for teachers and coaches. It is often your guidance and commitment that first lights the spark in your students, and we offer workshops and seminars designed to allow you to continue to enhance their natural talents.

The chess story in the Valley keeps getting better each year with more students, more champions, and more scholarship recipients acting as role models for other students.  Each time I have a chance to talk about the outstanding human capital in our area, I share the stories of our students’ triumphs and learning opportunties. One of the greatest benefits of the Chess Initiative is that these students have grown to expect great things from themselves.

We are proud that our program is part of the Chess Initiative in Region VIII.

Juliet V. García, Ph.D.
President, The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College

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