Brooklyn chess team advances to state championship

Tim Fleischer reports from Flatlands.
January 14, 2014 3:14:19 PM PST
It's more than just practice for the famous chess team at Edward R. Murrow High School.

Look at the lightning speed.

This is practice with a much higher purpose.

"I think our team is very strong. We've certainly proved it. We won the city, state and nationals. And we won city again so it can be like deja vu this year," said Alex Ostrovskiy, the team captain.

That confidence is shared by the other 12 members of the team as they prepare for the New York State Championships March 1st.

"We all have great confidence in ourselves and our teammates to do our best so we're definitely going to win," said Azeez Alade, a team member.

Edeli Cuate, a freshman, is the only female member.

"Most guys don't think a girl can play chess so, (You have proved them wrong?) Yeah, a little," Cuate said.

Having just won the city title for the 18th time, they are looking for their 18th state title and are reigning national champions with eight titles.

"This is the dream team, really. I think we are unbeatable, I hope we are," said Eliot Weiss, the chess coach said.

With a wall of mementos, past and present teams have met mayors, governors, even visited the White House to meet President George Bush.

What still puzzles them, and here's a subtle hint, is why President Obama has not invited them.

"I've spoken to his scheduling office. So they are aware of it, so let me know," Weiss said.

Adeli's seen others sports team visit the White House.

"I think chess is also a good sport, just as any. Maybe not physically, but our minds do a lot of work," Cuate said.

"We still strengthen our minds and do well in school. So we should be able to meet the president," Alade said.

Team members, who come from 13 different countries, would love to share with the president their love of this sport for the mind.

"A lot of lessons from chess can be garnered in school and life in general. It would look very good for him," Ostrovskiy said.

And also look good for these national champions.