Game of Kings: A Year Among the Oddballs and Geniuses Who Make Up America's Top HighSchool Ches s Team
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A year with the boy geniuses of the nation?s top high school chess team, now in paperback with a new afterword
Edward R. Murrow High School has long been one of New York?s public-education success stories, a school where there are no varsity sports, and the closest thing to jocks is found on the powerhouse chess team.
Award-winning sportswriter Michael Weinreb follows the members of the Murrow chess team through an entire season. Weinreb delves into the history of chess in America, following the stories of greats such as Bobby Fischer, for whom the world within the chessboard is as easy to comprehend as the world beyond it is difficult.
Why would Mr. Weiss bother to do all those things when there’s nothing in it for him? “I wonder about that sometimes myself,” Ilya says. FOUR AN ACADEMIC CHALLENGE ELIOT WEISS, THE SON OF A BOOKKEEPER AND AN AIRPORT POSTAL worker, grew up in the East New York section of Brooklyn, on a street called Pennsylvania Avenue. He was a product of public schools himself: He attended Jefferson High and studied math at Brooklyn College for free, back when city students could attend city universities
clock when he called the tournament director.” Nobody seems to know much of anything about the boy Willy defeated. It’s a funny thing—the same faces show up at the Right Move tournaments virtually every week, and they spend hours together, sitting three feet from each other’s faces and kibitzing between games all morning long, and yet most of their knowledge of each other is based on generalizations and assumptions. And so one of the competitors in the open section, a student at another Brooklyn
strategically placed sets throughout the hotel accompanied by hyperbolic press materials, in order to market their novelty. “Imagine what would happen in a game of chess, if your chess-men could acquire additional moving capabilities as they played? What if your queen could move as a queen or a knight and your pawn could move as a pawn or a bishop? How about escaping check by letting your king move as a rook? Well . . . imagine no more.” To be honest, these notions do not excite Oscar very much.
the automation of chess and the power of the computer have grown exponentially, and all of this information has changed the game in radical ways. Virtually every grandmaster does the bulk of his preparation on the computer now, if only because computers can study the possibilities in ways that humans never can. Certain openings and lines of attack can be studied for hours at a time with the aid of a computer, and every single variation can be accounted for, and counterattacks can be memorized.
which is why the World Open consistently draws the nation’s top talent, and which is why Sal makes the trip there in early July, and Alex goes too, and even Ilya makes the two-hour trip, trying to make a run at the $10,000 first prize in the under-1800-rated section. And while Ilya finishes out of the money, both Sal and Alex wind up winning $900, which might seem like a good amount for a couple of high-school juniors-to-be, but consider the entry fee, and the cost of the hotel, and the cost of