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Chess kings of Kings County

Kings of Kings: From left, chess coach Eliot Weiss, Kristian Jacome, Azeez Alade, Muhammad Raqib, Alex Ostrovskiy, Shawn Swindell, Alexis Paredes, Saed Vargas, Nafital Bhuiyan, Brian Arthur, Richard Bennett, Edeli Cuate, and Earl Chase represent — with the omission of James Black — the Edward R Murrow high school chess team, which won the 2014 NYC High School Chess Championship.
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They don’t call it the Game of Kings for nothing.

Two Brooklyn schools swept two New York City chess tournaments Jan. 12, proving that, when it comes to the game of kings, Kings County is, well, king.

“It was really bad,” said Edward R. Murrow High School chess team coach Eliot Weiss, describing his team’s victory. “It was a blood bath. But then, chess is a game of war.”

Often a chess tournament will come right down to the wire, requiring a sudden death match or some other mechanism for determining who should win between two neck-and-neck teams. But that was not the case at the Marriott Hotel in Downtown Brooklyn Jan. 12, when the legendary Edward R. Murrow Chess Team laid waste to the competition at the NYC High School Chess Championships, and beat the second -lace team, Manhattan’s Stuyvesant High School, by nearly five games won.

“It wasn’t even close,” said Weiss.

The Edward R. Murrow High School Chess Team, of which every member hails from a different country — the United States included — is among the strongest high-school-level competitors in the nation.

Since the 1980s, the Brooklyn team has won 18 national titles, and last year they came home national champions from a tournament in Nashville, Tennessee.

Despite that achievement, however, the team is still waiting for an invitation to the White House and, for that matter, Gracie Mansion.

“We want to meet the new mayor,” said Weiss. “I feel that if you’re city champs, you meet the mayor; if you’re state champs, you meet the governor; and, if your national champs, you meet the president.”

But Edward R. Murrow wasn’t the only Brooklyn School to take home a trophy that night.

The David A. Boody Junior High School Chess Team came home from the 48th Greater New York Scholastic Chess Championships with not just first-, second-, and third-place winners, but also fourth- and fifth-place winners in the novice division.

The Boody school has a fine chess playing and winning tradition, and has groomed several strong players, who have gone on to join the team at Murrow High School.

“We’ve had quite a few students go on to Murrow, and helped the school win the national title,” said coach Bruce Fuchs One of the coach’s chess disciples, Bryce Boyd — who took home a first place trophy from the competition — harbors just such ambitions, according to his mother Josephine Romero.

“He wants to join the Murrow chess team,” she said. “I’m so proud of him!”

Among the many tricks up coach Fuchs’s sleeve is the chess-based game Bug House, where teams of two battle over the checkered board, and forces the students to use combination moves to achieve victory.

“It’s a very wild, fast game and tremendous thinking processes go on because it’s full of combinations,” said Fuchs. “Plus, it’s a lot of fun.”

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at cmixson@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4514.
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