Mar 21, 2012
At about 4p.m. on Monday afternoon, Elizabeth Spiegel sits with two I.S. 318 students and a chessboard. Spiegel has a paper on which the boys have recorded every move from a just-completed game. She replays it, asking them to explain each decision, pointing out better options, challenging them to consider every possibility.
It’s just another day of practice for two of the nation’s best junior high school chess team members, and now indie-film stars.
Despite the team’s newfound silver-screen stardom, it’s business-as-usual for Spiegel and her protégés. As she reviews the game of Greenpointer Carlos Tapia, they discover a key flaw in his strategy. Spiegel plays a set of moves, illuminating Tapia’s mistake. Tapia realizes where he went wrong, and they smile at each other. As they finish, Spiegel is giddy.
“He’s a great player, but he just made a very instructive mistake,” she says of Tapia. “I’m very excited about it.”
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