Synopses & Reviews
An award-winning sportswriter takes you inside a year with the nations top high school chess team.
With strict admission standards and a progressive curriculum, Brooklyns Edward R. Murrow High School has long been one of New Yorks public-education success stories, serving a diverse neighborhood of immigrants and minorities and ranking among the nations best high schools. At Murrow, there are no sports teams, and the closest thing to jocks are found on the schools powerhouse chess team, which annually competes for the national championship.
In The Kings of New York sportswriter Michael Weinreb follows the members of the Murrow chess team through an entire season, from cash games in Washington Square Park to city and state tournaments to the SuperNationals in Nashville, where this eclectic bunch competes against private schoolers and suburbanites. Along the way, Weinreb brings to life a number of colorful characters: the Yale-educated calculus teacher (and former semipro hockey player) who guides the savants while struggling to find funding for his team; an aspiring rapper and tournament hustler who plays with cutthroat instinct; the teams lone girl, a shy Ukrainian immigrant; the Puerto Rican teen from the rough neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant who plays an ingenious opening gambit named the Orangutan; and the Lithuanian immigrant and team star whose chess rating is climbing toward grandmaster status.
In the bestselling tradition of such books as Word Freak and Friday Night Lights, The Kings of New York is a riveting look inside the world of competitive chess and an inspiring profile of young genius.
"Weinreb, whose work has appeared three times in The Best American Sports Writing, offers the story of a year spent with Brooklyn's Edward R. Murrow High School chess team as it strives for a national championship. Weinreb makes several choices that work well for a year-in-the-life account. For one, he eschews unnecessary speculation about the teen chess prodigies' psychology, a strategy that taken with his deft reporting of how they view themselves and one another renders them more accessible, more natural and consequently more interesting. Weinreb also expands his arena by investigating the cultural milieu of the modern chess world. He describes what it takes to be a successful high-level chess player, the difficulties women have in this world, the very nature of the game and the phenomenon of the chess prodigy, using the experience of Josh Waitzkin, who has now retired from competitive chess and was the subject of the movie Searching for Bobby Fischer. All this is supported by well-chosen detail, intelligence and terrific writing. Weinreb clearly develops an affection for the eclectic members of the team, and because of the skill he brings to his project, so will his readers. B&w illus." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Documents a season with the highly competitive Edward R. Murrow High School chess team, from cash games in Washington Square Park to the SuperNationals in Nashville, citing the contributions of their calculus teacher coach and a prospective grand-master player.
At Brooklyn's prestigious Edward R. Murrow High School, the closest thing to jocks are found on the powerhouse chess team. Weinreb follows the members of the team through an entire season, capturing their eclectic differences as they prepare for the national championship.
About the Author
Michael WeinrebBs work has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, and The Dallas Morning News. In his career as a journalist, he has been named best sportswriter in Ohio by the Associated Press, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, and has been cited three times in The Best American Sports Writing anthology.