COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) -- The University of Missouri is starting a competitive chess team and has hired a Romanian grandmaster to coach it.
The school said in a news release that Cristian Chirila has started recruiting a team of highly ranked players from around the world. They'll receive scholarships and live and practice together in dedicated space in a residence hall. The team will begin competing together next fall.
Funding is coming through an almost $800,000 grant agreement with the Saint Louis Chess Club. Founded by Republican millionaire activist Rex Sinquefield, the club hosts several national competitions. Sinquefield says the club is "thrilled" to partner with the university.
The release says there are plans to develop chess summer camps, state and national high school chess tournaments, distance-learning courses on chess, and chess teacher certifications.