Edward R. Murrow High School chess team captures state championship
Budding Bobby Fischers eye national title
By Henrick Karoliszyn AND Corky Siemaszko / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Monday, March 5, 2012, 11:47 PM
These budding Bobby Fischers no longer have to keep their emotions in check.
“This is amazing,” an overjoyed Azeez Alada said Monday after he and the other members of Brooklyn’s famed Edward R. Murrow High School chess team returned home after winning the state championship.
“It was a little scary at the end because we had to win those games or we’d lose it all,” said the 16-year-old team captain. “But we did it. We played against master level players and won.”
Did they ever. And in doing so, the teens have earned themselves a trip to the national competition in Minneapolis next month — and a shot at their eight national championship.
“No (other) team has ever won seven national championships,” said proud coach Eliot Weiss, who has led the team since 1981.
This team is used to winning — they’ve also won 15 state and 16 city championships. But this time they had to overcome some stiff competition during the tourney, which drew hundreds of teams from across the state and took place over the weekend in Saratoga.
“We were the underdogs,” said Weiss. “They were playing against some master-level chess players. We were down. I just walked away disgusted, thinking we lost. But 20 minutes later, our man was demolishing his opponent.”
Kristian Jacome, a 14-year-old from Crown Heights, was one of the players who found himself beating an opponent who, by all measures, should have eaten his lunch.
“It was nerve racking,” he said. “If I didn’t win, we would have lost by half a point. I pulled a risky move and we won.”
Weiss’ teams are legendary in the chess world. They’ve been feted at the White House, been the subject of book called “The Kings of New York,” and will soon be immortalized in a an upcoming movie called “The Game of Kings.”
The last time the team won a state championship was 2009 and that was their 10th in a row. Since then, Weiss’ chess wizards have been also-rans, finishing second or third in state competitions.
“We were in rebuilding phases,” Weiss said. “You can’t win them all.”
Markel Brown, 17, a senior from Bedford-Stuyvesant, thinks the team can go all the way.
“To all the teams out there,” he warned. “We’re going hard. They better be ready.”
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