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The Kings of New York: A Year Among the Geeks, Oddballs, and Genuises Who Make Up America's Top High School Chess Team

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2008

    A reviewer

    When a writer can make high school chess engrossing and enthralling you are reading something remarkable. That is what Michael Weinberg has done with this book. Having played chess exactly once in my life 'and losing in a very, quick and efficient way', I believed it to be a sport for the geniuses. Smart people play chess. After reading this book that sentence has an asterisk. The kids who play chess and succeed all of the way to the top are smart, but smart at only one or two things. Smart at memorizing successful strategies or smart at quickly calculating their opponents moves 8 plays from now. Smart at chess. These kids are also strange, quirky, lazy, uninterested in much beyond chess and sometimes not even in chess. These kids barely pass any other subject and some tend to skip school as often as possible. This book would have been compelling reading just for the stories of these kids 'with immigrant parents from the former USSR countries or not-affluent African American parents' alone. However, there is also an over-arching story. That of Brooklyn¿s Edward R Murrow High School, one of the first experimental charter schools and its eventual denigration into this one-note achievement of churning out the annual National High School Chess Championship. This book is about so much more than chess that chess is merely the playing field on which these real life characters navigate.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2009

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