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Brooklyn team wins 10th straight state chess championship

The high school chess team dubbed the Kings of New York in a 2007 book won a state title for the 10th year in a row over the weekend, at a tournament in Saratoga Springs. Sam Gomez, a 16-year-old junior, made the winning move four seconds before time ran out on his final match.

Gomez and his teammates from Edward R. Murrow High School will travel to a national tournament in Nashville next month to vie for the national title. Murrow has won both city, state, and national championships in the past, working with students who range from straight-A academic powerhouses to students who struggle in school and haven’t traveled much beyond Brooklyn.

The team, founded in 1981, had several good runs through the 80’s and early 90’s, but suffered a dip from 1995 to 1997, said longtime coach Eliot Weiss. This year’s championship is the 10th consecutive Murrow has won since 2000. The team came in second place in 1999, he said.

A Manhattan woman who wants to be known only by the name Rita pays for the team’s expenses, Weiss told me. That means that any student on the 27-member team who wants to can travel to Nashville come April 1, where they’ll stay at a resort hotel next to the Grand Ole Opry.

In Saratoga Springs, the team’s final score was a combination of points earned by the top players, who Weiss said included Gomez, Michael Furman, Alan Pizarro, Markel Brown, and Valicio Palha.

Michael Weinreb wrote about the team in a 2007 book called The Kings of New York. I first learned about them the same year, when I wrote about a local match where a middle-school chess team upset Murrow.

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