Paulius Pultinevicius v. Maili-Jade Ouellet, Titled Tuesday, 2019 (See diagram)
Chess is not the first sport that comes to mind when you think of U.S. universities offering scholarships to elite athletes.
But for Maili-Jade Ouellet of Saint-Lambert, Que., it was her prowess at the chess board that caught the attention of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. They offered her a full scholarship to sign up at their campus in Brownsville, Texas.
“It gives me a lot more opportunity to play chess, which is what I wanted,” said the 19-year-old management student. Her tuition, accommodations, chess lessons and related travel are all covered by the scholarship.
Ouellet started playing competitively at seven and kept getting better and better. She won the Canadian women’s championship at 15, and last year she became just the third Canadian to earn the Women’s Grandmaster title from the international chess federation.
Douglas Stoves, associate dean at the university, says Brownsville is a hotbed of chess activity. Their chess team has won the national championship three times.
Ouellet is intent on pursuing chess as a career as long as she keeps improving. But it’s important to have a backup plan. In her case, it is law school.
Black played 59. … Re2+ and after 60. Kd3 Rxe5 (threatening Be4+) Ouellet soon won.