The Kings of New York: A Year Among the Geeks, Oddballs, and Geniuses Who Make Up America's Top High School Chess Team
With strict admission standards and a progressive curriculum, Brooklyn’s Edward R. Murrow High School has long been one of New York’s public-education success stories, serving a diverse neighborhood of immigrants and minorities and ranking among the nation’s best high schoo...more
Man, I loved this book. While my high school chess team was nothing like Murrow's, the dynamics were the same: a few students wildly devoted/obsessed with chess, some interested only in pick-up games, and others that showed up only once or twice a year. ...more
It's a group consisting of one, but still - #1 is #1, even if on a technicality (as this book shows).
The author follows a high school chess team from the Bronx for nearly two years, cataloging their tournaments, giving brief biographies of the players, and a look at their home and school life. The book also serves as a bit of a critique of the NYC school system. I felt that the author did a good job in p ...more
Some of the more intersesting tensions within the book have to do with the esteem related to chess as it is represented as the ultimate mental contest, yet accomplishments are so cheaply rewarded and come with an ample dose of apathy. This gives rise to the notion that people do it for a love of the game, yet they quickly go after any money that is off ...more
Weinreb manages to capture the love of the game-- and explain it to people who may not understand-- very well, in addition to giving a fantastic overview of why Murrow was such an amazing and ahead-of-its-time high school. Essentially, he's captured a year of life within the chess team, but on a wider scale, managed to expand upon that: it's a year in the lives of a group of teenage ...more
I think chess is somewhat less prevalent than it used to be and certainly less so in the midwest and western United States nevertheless it's an interesting story. Most chess prodigies begin as kids to the extent where you are considered 'old' by the time you are old enough to vote.
This is not a historical work but it does allude to prominent figures in the history of Chess and to times when it ...more
This is the type of book that I’m interested in, but it didn’t grab me like ...more
This was an enjoyable read but I found myself getting distracted from the thin narrative thread involving Murrow's team of national chess champions. Maybe it has something to do with the nature of the game itself- to me, someone who only barely understands the rules of chess, the games described in thi ...more
1) It's a compelling look at kids for whom nothing but chess motivates. These aren't geniuses who decide to focus on chess, these are chess smart kids who focus on almost nothing else. I was especially moved by ...more
This book is about the chess team at Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn. Famous alumni include Marisa Tomei, one of the Beastie Boys, Basquiat, and I think Darren Aronofsky (who directed Requiem for a Dream).
How did I hear about this book? Eliot Weiss, the coach of Murrow's chess team, was also one of my professors last semester so he pitched us on it.
Overall, I liked the book. Weinreb does a ...more
The story was an interesting read during the chapters where it discussed the students' background and home life. Once it started in on their competitions and their moves, it did not appeal to me anymore, although I continued on and finished the book.
Definitely a book that would appeal to someone who enjoys chess and, perhaps, played in ...more
I wonder if while writing he wished he choose a different team to follow. They were all just so apathetic and I was lulled into apathy myself.
I'd be interested to hear about what other people thought.
After finishing the book, I wondered 'where are they now' would be great to see a follow up!
I thought it was well written and I was very glad I read it-thanks Josh!
Also, from an education perspective, the details about Murrow High School in Brooklyn were fascinating.