BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – FEBRUARY 15, 2013 – After a semester of eager anticipation, the members of the Chess Team at The University of Texas at Brownsvilleand Texas Southmost College welcomed their new coach, Bartlomiej “Bartek” Macieja.
Macieja and his family arrived in Brownsville last December in time for him to meet and conduct some last-minute coaching sessions with most of the players prior to the team’s departure for the 2012 Pan American Intercollegiate Team Chess Championship held at Princeton University. Although they were disappointed by not qualifying for the Final Four of Chess, the team walked away with the special pleasure of having defeated the teams of both Harvard and Princeton Universities.
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In addition to daily training sessions with the team members, Macieja is organizing workshops for teachers and coaches in local school districts and he is planning summer chess camps for students ranging from kindergarten through high school.
Training while sitting at chess boards isn’t the only way the coach and the players are getting to know one another; Macieja is leading the team in physical work outs, too, making excursions to the Recreation, Education and Kinesiology (REK) Center to exercise and play games together.
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Until now, 35-year-old Macieja has been primarily an international chess contestant, bringing with him a long list of accomplishments in a variety of categories, including Polish Individual Championships, Zonal Tournaments, European Individual Championships, Individual World Championships and World Cups.
Most recently, Macieja and his family spent a year in his home country of Poland where he completed his master’s degree in physics from the University of Warsaw.
In between participating in chess competitions, Macieja has coached through the years. His students include the 2008 Venezuelan Olympic team as well as individuals such as four-time Polish Champion Grandmaster Mateusz Bartel.
Prior to returning to Poland, he prepared the junior players of the state of Durango, Mexico, for the Mexican national championship. During this time, UTB and TSC team member and sophomore Daniela De La Parra from Durango was one of Macieja’s students.
Durango is the home of Macieja’s wife, Alejandra Guerrero Rodriguez, a Woman International Master and 10-time winner of the Mexican women’s championship.
“Yes, we met at a tournament,” Macieja said, when asked if chess tournaments were known to be a favorite hunting ground for cupid’s arrows.
Aside from his native Polish, Macieja speaks excellent English, Russian and what he refers to as basic Spanish.
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Read more: http://utb.edu/newsinfo/Pages/Chess-Team-Welcomes-Champion-Coach.aspx , February 15, 2013
POLISH CLUB ONLINE, 2013.02.26