The first University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) Chess Club meeting of the 2009-2010 academic year doubled as a “Freshman Academic Survival” session. “Don’t fall behind. Compare the syllabus with your tournament schedule,” advised Yash Gogte, UTD Chess Club, Public Relations. “Go to office hours. Get to know your professors. Study with classmates,” said Karina Vazirova, UTD Chess Club President. UTD Chess Club Vice President Gerry Roberts offered, “Go to class.” 

I spoke about my Chess in Education Certificate online classes. Listening were seven freshmen, pictured in the photo. From left to right, on the back row, Daniel Ludwig (FL), Tyler Hughes (CO), Daniel Yeager (PA), John Daniel Bryant (CA). In the front row, left to right, Julio Sadorra (Philippines), Medina Parrilla (NY), Jose Montelongo (Dallas, TX). Each pictured freshman either won or successfully applied for an Academic Excellence Scholarship. Blake Hamaker (Undergraduate Studies administrative assistant for UTD’s Academic Excellence Scholarships) stated that, to keep their scholarships, students in their first two semesters at UTD must earn a 3.0 GPA each semester. For the third semester and after, they must earn a 3.25 each semester. As the freshmen tried on their new blazers, returning chess club and chess team members got out chess boards. On my Facebook account, I have posted photos of their blitz and bughouse games. (Simply request me as a Facebook friend to see the photos there). Many of the photographed chess players are FMs, IMs, or GMs. Not playing chess, but attending, was IM John Bartholomew. He said that his blog will soon have information about the United States Chess League defending championship team Dallas Destiny. Since John graduated from UTD this past spring, I think he was scouting the UTD chess talent to build Dallas Destiny’s next winning lineup.