Monday, March 26, 2012

Photos from MS 104 and Rule 12.5

     Remember the controversy about the underrated Washington State kids? They use their own rating system, which is fine, but it means their kids win all the under sections at Nationals. Ridiculous situations, like kids with 1400 ratings having USCF ratings of 400 and winning the under 600 or 900 or whatever it is at elementary nationals. Also the best school, Stevenson, won two under team sections two years ago with something like 24 and 24.5 points out of 28-- that's insanely hard to do. They have an amazing program, don't get me wrong-- they've produced large numbers of strong players over many years. My hat is off to them. But they had an enormous unfair advantage in the under sections.
   So the USCF made a rule (rule 12.5 of the Scholastic Regulations) 6 months ago that you had to have played 8 games in the 6 months previous to the tournament, or else you had to play up one rating section.
    And then Friday, two weeks before nationals start, they change it. Why?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

I.S. 318’s Chess Team Lights Up the Silver Screen

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.”

read the full article

Monday, March 19, 2012

IS 318 tournament photos


Farai and Azeez play blitz; Rashawn spins a basketball while talking to Pobo; Mitch Fitzko looks in our classroom library.

Humriah thinks

Jack shows me his game. Haby watches. In the back, Alexis is putting his game into Fritz, William is sitting and Avery walking.

Jacob Barayev complains to tournament director Rochelle Ballantyne that the misrecording of his first round win as a loss means that he must now face a very weak player.

Kenneth: bundled up

Kamil played a very nice game in chess club today:

(358) Chmielewski,Kamil - Tapia ,Carlos [B14]

1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.Nf3 Be7 7.Bd3 dxc4 8.Bxc4 Nc6 9. 0-0 b6

NPR review of Brooklyn Castle! also

SXSW Film: 'Brooklyn Castle' And The Looming Threat Of Commercial Success

If I could pick only one film from the South By Southwest film festival and bodily force everyone I know to see it, it would be Brooklyn Castle, a documentary directed by Katie Dellamaggiore that follows the chess team at I.S. 318, a New York junior high school that has become a superpower at national tournaments.

... I have a gnawing fear of seeing somebody like Charlize Theron (an actress I really like) as the woman who coaches the kids in chess.  (!!!!)

read it all


oh, and MOVIES.COM:

"Also kind of a bummer, Brooklyn Castle still shocked nobody by picking up the audience award for the Documentary Spotlight section. It’s a favorite of many critics and clearly of many viewers, and I was delighted that it holds up to the hype. Part kid competition film about junior high chess players, part education system issue doc about budget cuts in New York City schools, Brooklyn Castle is very good at making you care about its characters, cheering for cute young kids you otherwise wouldn’t know triumphing over cute young kids you don’t know at all. I might have preferred less of the focus on winning and losing and more on the cause, which I find strange coming from me, since I rarely am crazy about issue docs. And this is the type that literally had people walking out saying, “that film was like a fundraiser.”"

Thursday, March 15, 2012

great review of Brooklyn Castle

SXSW: 'Brooklyn Castle' ranks among the top tier of this year's fest

Newly tapped for a Rudin remake, Kate Dellamaggiore's doc rises above similar terrain and inspires
By Todd Gilchrist Thursday, Mar 15, 2012 6:11 AM

AUSTIN, Texas - On Monday at a SXSW screening here, director Katie Dellamaggiore announced that Sony Pictures and producer Scott Rudin purchased the remake rights to “Brooklyn Castle,” her documentary about a group of New York schoolkids that compete regularly in national chess tournaments. This of course is but the latest doc set to be remade by Hollywood, but it’s hard to imagine a fiction film doing justice to the complexity and utter humanness of Dellamaggiore’s version.
The film uses school chess programs to evidence both the neglect legislators show towards education when time comes to cutting checks, and yet the remarkable impact that programs like these can have on the lives of the children who participate in them. A truly inspiring story, “Brooklyn Castle” ranks among the first tier of SXSW’s 2012 films, and deserves a place among documentaries like “Rize,” “Resolved” and “Spellbound” that choose to emphasize substance over sensationalism in their depiction of kids who are sadly often looked at as statistics.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Brooklyn Castle premieres at South by Southwest

At a tent party after the screening, Justus played a simul. Photo taken from this review.

I play blitz with John Forte, co-executive producer of the film, former Fugee, and chess enthusiast.

My first chess teacher, Mike Feinstein, now coach of Canyon Vista Middle School, shows me the Feinstein Gambit: 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 cxd5 4. c4 Nc6!?.

I am introduced to 3M chess. It's very interesting; chess on two fronts. It has a double knight that can separate at will. It's a shame the website doesn't have the rules.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

NY State Championships

Chris Rush
Mubassar Uddin
Isaac Barayev
Justus Williams
Brian, Jack, Kamil, Isaac, Kenneth, Kevin
Kevin Marin

IS 318 won the 2012 NY State Junior High Championship and finished second by half a point to Murrow in the High School Championship. Congratulations to:
James Black HS 2nd
Justus Williams HS 6th
Maya McGreen JHS 5th
Jack Wen JHS 7th
Kamil Chmielewski JHS 8th
Mariah McGreen JHS 9th
Kevin Marin JHS 10th