School Chess: Edward R Murrow High School Wins NY City School Chess
“This is the beginning of the Dream Team of 2013,” said coach Eliot Weiss, who’s been running the program since 1981. Led by co-captain Alex Ostrovskiy, a junior whose strength is identifying even the most obscure opening gambits, the 10-player team held off strong challenges from about 20 other high school teams. The competition is open to private high schools as well as public, and clubs from Long Island, Connecticut and Westchester also participated.
“Going into the final round it was a draw against a team from the Bronx Science,” said Ostrovskiy, 17, who started playing at age 5.
“We had to go head-to-head with two of our players against two of theirs.”
Murrow scored three points to the other team’s two, securing yet another victory.
“I’m really happy we won,” said Anita Maksimiuk, 14, the team’s lone girl.
Maksimiuk, who played on I.S. 318’s title-winning middle-school team, has competed at the national level before, but this is her first year at Murrow.
“This is my first city championship in high school, and there were some really challenging games,” said the 14-year-old.
Edward R. Murrow High School’s chess team has won the state championship 15 times and the national championship seven times, said Weiss.
Part of its strength is the deep pool of multicultural talent it can draw from, the coach said.
This year’s team included players whose families had emigrated from Russia, China, Poland Nigeria, Pakistan, Ecuador, Paraguay and Jamaica.
The team is headed to Saratoga Springs Feb. 22 for state championships and — win or lose — will be in Tennessee April 4 for the national competition, Weiss said.
“We’re ranked #1 in the country right now, so we are the team to beat,” said Weiss.
The team’s ultimate goal, he said, is to win nationals and secure a visit to the White House to meet President Obama.
“That’s what everybody is working for, it’s a big dream for us,” said Weiss, whose chess program has been entirely funded for the past 13 years by an anonymous donor known only as Rita.
New York City’s public schools performed well overall: the Bronx High School of Science took second place, followed by Stuyvesant High School in third.