UTD’s Fifth Annual ChessFest Will
Honor Chess Enthusiast Erik Anderson

RICHARDSON, Texas (Feb. 6, 2006) — ChessFest, a collaboration and celebration of chess put on annually by the McDermott Library and the chess program at The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), later this month will feature a presentation by educator and chess enthusiast Erik Anderson.

Anderson’s talk, titled “America’s Foundation for Chess,” will begin at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22 in the library’s McDermott Suite.  After his discussion, Anderson will receive the program’s “Chess Educator of the Year” award.

Erik Anderson
Educator and chess enthusiast Erik Anderson will speak about
"America's Foundation for Chess" Wednesday, Feb. 22
in the library's McDermott Suite.

ChessFest V again will include the popular “Challenge the Champions” competition, which will take place in the library’s lobby from 1 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 23.  There, members of the UTD chess team — some of top collegiate players in the country — and the university’s chess club will play students and anyone wishing to challenge them in games of chess.  Team members often compete with as many as three to five challengers at once.  

The library also will highlight chess in its main lobby display case during the two-day festival.

“Our joint presentation with the chess program is one of the best initiatives we offer,” said Dr. Larry D. Sall, dean of libraries at UTD.  “Program founder Tim Redman, along with Jim Stallings, associate director for chess and education, have done a stellar job of attracting the nation’s leading chess educators to speak at UTD.”

Anderson is chief executive and founder of the nonprofit group America’s Foundation for Chess (AF4C).  AF4C’s mission is to promote the game of chess as an educational tool, as well as to make the game a larger part of the nation’s cultural fabric.  Many credit Anderson with saving the United States national championships five years ago when he acquired the long-term rights to the event from the U.S. Chess Federation.  The AF4C will host the U.S. chess championship in San Diego in March.

Anderson also began the First Move program, which was designed to incorporate chess into U.S. elementary schools.

“I first met Erik and his wife in 2000 in Seattle when AF4C, then called the Seattle Chess Foundation, sponsored its first U.S. Championship.  It was the most impressive event the USCF ever had.  When Erik is involved, everything is first class,” Redman said. “Erik’s foundation has taken its efforts to a national level.  In fact, two UTD players, Dmitry Shneider and Daniel Fernandez, are eligible to compete in the championships in San Diego.”

Anderson holds a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from Stanford University and a bachelor’s degree (Cum Laude) in management engineering from Claremont McKenna College.

UTD’s chess team is part of a much broader chess program at the university that includes, among other things, on-line chess instruction for teachers and studies on the use of chess in the classroom as an educational tool.

Seating for Anderson’s talk is limited and participants are asked to contact James Stallings for a reservation at 972-883-2898 or e-mail james.stallings@utdallas.edu.  The event is free and open to the public.

About UTD

The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor®, enrolls nearly 14,500 students.  The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores.  The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs.  For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s web site at www.utdallas.edu.