Engineering to Sponsor 2009 Connecticut State Chess Championship

photoThe link between mastery in chess and skillful execution of engineering concepts has been scrutinized in various studies, particularly over the last decade. It is postulated that skillful chess play enhances creativity, concentration, critical thinking, reasoning skills, problem solving and even verbal skills – all skills that are equally applicable to engineering.

In light of this connection, since 2006 the School of Engineering has awarded scholarships to top high school chess players who enroll in engineering at UConn. In the spring, the School of Engineering will join the Connecticut State Chess Association (CSCA) and the UConn Chess Club in presenting the 2009 Connecticut Scholastic and Open State Championships. The events span five days in March and April, culminating in the Connecticut K-12 State Open Championship, with the top high school performers receiving $14,000 in scholarship monies to the School of Engineering. The UConn Storrs campus will host all of the tournaments except for one K-6 event.

Other colleges and universities that award scholarships to top chess players include the University of Maryland – Baltimore County, Texas Tech University, the University of Texas at Dallas, and Texas A&M University, among others.

Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Education, Marty Wood, said “The School of Engineering is very pleased to continue our outreach activity to a new cohort of students with a demonstrated focus on a board game that requires individuals to consider various strategies which include multi-paths to solve a problem. Co-hosting the State Chess Championships will bring many students, parents and their friends to the University of Connecticut. It is definitely a win-win situation.”

The tournaments begin with K-6 competition and proceed to the Connecticut State Open Championship, followed by the K-8 State Open Championship before the final state-wide K-12 competition on April 26, 2009. The top male and female finishers (Connecticut residents) at the April 26 competition will receive $300 Denker/Polgar awards from CSCA, and the top three performers in grades 9-12 will be eligible to receive valuable UConn engineering scholarships, which are renewable for four years provided the recipients remain in the School of Engineering and meet certain performance criteria.

To learn more, please contact Tom Hartmayer at (860) 989-5394 or Details will also appear in Chess Life and Chess Life Online, The UConn Chess Club’s website may be found at

Categories: Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Education, Chess Championship, Connecticut State Chess Association, emagination