Grandmaster Alex Onischuk
Head Coach/Program Director
Alex Onischuk became an international grandmaster, the highest-ranking title in chess, at only 19. He has been one of the top 100 players in the world for 20 straight years, qualifying and playing in six straight Chess World Cup competitions. A former collegiate champion, he won the U.S. Championship in 2006, took second place twice and third place four times. He's played on six elite U.S. Olympiad teams in a row, including two medal-winning squads, and led the U.S. to a gold medal in the 2013 Pan-American Continental Championship. In addition to his achievements as a player, Alex is one of the most highly sought-after chess teachers in the world, training even world champions. He is also one of the most effective mentors for players of less exalted levels. Alex has earned his B.A. in modern languages and linguistics from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and his M.A. in sociology from Moscow State University. Grandmaster Onischuk provides regular training to all members of the TTU chess teams. Since his arrival at Tech in the late fall of 2012, he's coached TTU team to 2015 Pan-American Chess Championship win, led the Texas Tech Chess team to the Final Four for five consecutive years, and a number of other important titles. "We have fun training. A great team makes even serious work enjoyable."
Kacy Hokett joined the Texas Tech Chess Program as a Coordinator in July 2018. She graduated from Texas Tech University in 2016 with a major in Psychology and a minor in Human Development and Family Studies, then went on to the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center to receive her Post-Baccalaureate of Science in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences in 2017. Kacy is from Springtown, Texas, a small town outside of Fort Worth. She is a first-generation college student and has previously worked on TTU campus as a mentor to other first-gen students and as a summer camp counselor and supervisor for IDEAL. She loves working with kids and helping them achieve their goals. Kacy plans to attend graduate school to compete a Masters in Speech-Language Pathology.
Claudia Munoz joined the Texas Tech Chess Program as a Student Assistant August 2016. Her role is to manage the media outreach of the Chess Program by managing social media. She also contributes to the making of the UIL Chess Tests. Claudia is a junior from Wichita Falls, Texas working on completing her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mathematics.
Claudia has been playing chess since the age of 6. At the age of 10, she won her first chess title as Woman Candidate Master granted by the International Chess Federation. Her most prestigious achievements include representing the United States in three Pan-American Youth Chess Championships, two World Youth Chess Championships, and one World Junior Chess Championship. Most recently she won the first ever 2014 United States Girls Junior Closed Championship. At Texas Tech University, Claudia looks to continuously improve her chess skills as well as learn, share and impact the community around her.
Luis Torres joined the Texas Tech Chess Program as a student assistant in January 2017 however he has been playing for the Texas Tech Chess program since August 2014. His role is to coach and train upcoming players that join the chess program. Luis is a graduate student in the Rawls College of Business working on his MBA in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (STEM).
Luis is from Mexico and has been playing chess since the age of 10. He has represented Mexico in the World Olympiad and in several World Youth Championships. He became an International Master at the age of 18. His most prestigious achievements include finishing runner-up in the Mexican Absolute Championship, winning the North American Youth Championship-U14 at the age of 13, and consecutively becoming National Youth Champion of Mexico. He also represented Texas Tech in 2014 Final Four.
Esteban Ruiz graduated from college as Phi Theta Kappa with an AS in Mechanical Engineering and an AS in Math and Physics, all with a High Honors distinction. Esteban is currently a senior at Texas Tech University pursuing a BS in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Math and a second minor in Physics.
He has competed in many national and international tournaments including the Capablanca In Memoriam, Southwest Collegiate Championship, and the Pan-American Intercollegiate Tournament. At age 14, Esteban became the National Youth Champion of Ecuador, a title which he defended for three consecutive years until the age of 16.
In addition to his work as a student assistant, Esteban also volunteers through the TTU Chess Outreach Program and serves as Vice President of the TTU Knight Raiders chess club.