Tuesday, January 02, 2007

So why not chess? 

Some people seem to be questioning the wisdom of chess scholarships. The University of Maryland at Baltimore County has the oldest one, and turns out to have a performance requirement.

The best scholarships cover tuition, room and board, and are worth $69,400 over four years. For that package, Dr. Sherman said, a student must meet several requirements, including maintaining a grade point average of at least 3.0 and achieving nearly a grandmaster rank in chess.

And they do quite well at that. So why is there a problem? The issue here is that the chess scholarship is in essence an academic scholarship by another means, so as to focus the money on people with analytical skills without worrying about the diversity of the chess team. The chess program isn't making money for the school, and the students who try to reach GM rank are still far away from being able to make a living at chess.