As that big campus down I-95 prepares to take on Purdue University in the football extravaganza known as the Champ Sports Bowl tonight, the little college that could, the University of Maryland Baltimore County, UMBC, the Honors University, Uncle Moe’s Baseball Camp, is poised to once again to reign as champions of a true sport, chess. Yes, once again UMBC (my alma mater) and its rival, the University of Texas at Dallas, are locked in battle for supremacy on “la mesa grande.”
Admittedly, press coverage of the Pan-American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship has been light. The event is reported today in the Washington Post Metro section, and reporter Alec MacGillis does a fine job of providing background and describing the action. I have only one question: Why was this story in the Metro section? I believe this should have been covered in the Sports section. Where is Michael Wilbon going on about how chess fans in this region aren’t as loyal as Northwestern fans (Northwestern, by the way, was shown the door early in the competition)? Where is Tony Kornheiser waxing poetically about the “curse of les chiens?” I believe this story is of sufficient magnitude that the heavyweights of the local sports scene weigh in on the competition. Hopefully, George Michael will pick up the story, or maybe we can get live coverage on MASN. In any case, I’ll be renting “Searching for Bobby Fischer” tonight.