Murrow chess team, a New York City powerhouse, falls short at national championship

April 30, 2018 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The 2018 Edward R. Murrow High School chess team.  Photos courtesy of Edward R. Murrow High School
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The Edward R. Murrow HS chess team — famed in the borough and the reigning state champ — placed 13th out of a field of 443 schools competing in the National High School Chess Championship this past weekend, placing the Midwood-based public school in the top 3 percent in the nation.

The team has won the nationals eight times, plus 21 city championships and 18 state titles, in the past 42 years under coach Eliot Weiss, but despite the near miss, Weiss said he was proud of his squad.

The four days of competition were especially grueling this year, he said, with more than 36 master-level chess players and 114 players rated over 2,000, the expert level.

“We were up against a surge of 36 chess masters, while nobody on our team has a rating above 1,900,” Weiss said. “But we were resilient and prepared for the challenge. We worked hard all year and even though some of us didn’t play up to our potential, we feel honored to be here, accomplished with our chess skills and relieved that it is over.”

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First place in the tournament went to Thomas Jefferson High School in Virginia and second place went to Whitney Young High School in Chicago.

The Murrow team includes players who have emigrated from China, Guyana, Turkey, Egypt, Russia, Jamaica, Haiti, Pakistan, Paraguay, Kyrgyzstan, Ecuador, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Azerbaijan, Montenegro, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Poland, Dominican Republic, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Hong Kong. There are also some players from the U.S.

“I couldn’t think of a better way to finish my senior year before graduation than displaying at a national competition my skills that I have developed over the last four years at Murrow, said Anano Kapanadze, 18, who hails from the Republic of Georgia. “This year’s team’s dynamics were at the strongest that could have been,” she added.

One of the younger team members, Marcus Sutton, 14, said, “We never really knew what was coming next, but that never stopped us.” Marcus is originally from Jamaica.

Anthony Saquisili, 16 and originally from Ecuador, said he was grateful for the experience of competing on a national level “and proud of my accomplishments, as well as the performance of the team.”

As they say in Brooklyn, “Wait ’til next year.”

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