318 Wins Chess Championship
School 318 recently celebrated its third consecutive National
Chess Championship. Located in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn,
I.S. 318 triumphed over thousands of competitors to bring the
top prize back to Brooklyn.
The chess program at I.S. 318 has become a model educational partnership
between the school and a non-profit organization called Chess-in-the-Schools
(CIS), which is dedicated to bringing the game of chess to inner-city
The children at I.S. 318 are central to the success of the coeducational
team, which serves students of all abilities and skill levels.
The students dedicate an enormous amount of time to improving
their play by attending the after-school chess club, practicing
at home, playing during their lunch periods, and attending weekly
tournaments across the city. The club also reflects the city’s
great diversity. The team has students from Pakistan, Bangladesh,
Russia, Poland, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Martinique,
Haiti, Ecuador, China, and Mexico.
The success of the team would not be possible without the support
of Chess-in-the-Schools. Elizabeth Vicary coaches the club during
the school day and intensive after-school sessions. World-renowned
Grandmaster Miron Sher, trains and lectures the most advanced
The partnership is made complete with the dedicated support of
the school and the District. Two teachers, John Galvin and Lauris
Murnieks coordinate and chaperone the team to scores of tournaments
and trips. Any educator will appreciate the special challenge
of chaperoning 36 teenagers in a hotel for six days! Principal
Alan Fierstein of I.S. 318 has led the way in the foundation of
the team, refusing to allow any obstacle to stand in the way of
the team’s success. At the District level, Superintendent Patricia
Synan has generously and proudly supported the team.
The success of the team over three years has become contagious.
The reputation of the school has been enhanced across the city
as students have sought admission to the program. The school credits
its outstanding 95 percent daily attendance rate and strong reading
and math scores in part to the culture of achievement reinforced
by the chess team.
The young chess champions from Brooklyn have made the entire school
community proud. Miguel Borrero, one of the key players on the
team summed up his feelings: “When I got off the plane from Milwaukee
and my mom saw the big trophy I was carrying, she was happy. I
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