|For Immediate Release (01-37)
Date: May 3, 2001
Contact: Steve Simon, 240-567-7952 (Montgomery College)
Charlie Melichar, 410-455-6380 (UMBC)
Rights, Scholarship on Line as Montgomery College
"Knights" Get Set to Host Nation's #1 Collegiate
Chess Team from UMBC
Spirited 'MC-UMBC President's
Chess Challenge' Set for Tuesday, May 8 in Rockville
Move over baseball, softball and lacrosse.
The chessboard takes center stage next week in area
intercollegiate competition as the Montgomery College Knights
prepare to host the nation's top college chess team from the
University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in the first-ever "MC-UMBC
President's Chess Challenge."
Set for Tuesday, May 8 at Montgomery
College's Rockville Campus,
the event will be kicked off with a noontime "Pep Rally" headed
by MC President Dr. Charlene R. Nunley and UMBC President Dr.
Freeman A. Hrabowski, III. This special head-to-head match came
about as a result of a "friendly challenge" issued by Nunley to
Hrabowski, prior to a recent event at UMBC in which the two
institutions showcased an innovative new partnership aimed at
growing the number of students going into the field of teaching.
A perennial chess powerhouse, the UMBC
squad is the reigning champion of the Pan-American
Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship, having won the
competition four of the past five years. Considered by many as
perhaps the most dominant collegiate chess team of all time,
their five-year run is a feat matched only once previously in
the past -- and that was by Harvard University in the 1980s.
Meanwhile, the upstart community college
squad from Montgomery -- with a talented mix of international
and American players, much like UMBC -- has consistently
surprised its bigger name opponents in local, regional and
national competitions. Earlier this year, for example, the team
handily dispatched the U.S. Naval Academy team, sweeping all of
the eight matches played.
"To make things a little more interesting
and to enhance the already great relationship that we are
building between UMBC and Montgomery College," President
Hrabowski noted that he would offer a full, two-year scholarship
to MC, if its team emerges victorious. Montgomery College sends
more transfer students to the University System of Maryland
institutions -- including UMBC -- than any other community
college in Maryland. Recently, Dr. Hrabowski created another
scholarship in his late mother's name, to support a student each
year in Montgomery College's early childhood education program.
Adding another twist to this good-natured
event is the fact that 10 days after the "MC-UMBC President’s
Challenge," Dr. Hrabowski will be returning to Rockville to
serve as the keynote speaker for Montgomery College’s 2001
Commencement ceremony on May 18. Joked Dr. Nunley, "I know that
Freeman is a man of his word and that he’ll be there, enthused
and ready to inspire our graduates, no matter what happens next
Tuesday. But I imagine he might be just a little less
enthusiastic and anxious to make the trip back to Montgomery
County, if our team is able to pull off the big upset."
The May 8 "MC-UMBC President’s Chess
Challenge" event begins with the pep rally festivities at noon
in Montgomery College-Rockville’s Theatre Arts Arena. The campus
is located at 51 Mannakee Street in Rockville. The chess
tournament itself will take place, beginning at 2 p.m., in a
quieter setting, elsewhere in the building.