Thursday, February 25, 2010

Check: Brooklyn makes all the right moves

By Meredith Deliso

Brooklyn is channeling its inner geek.

One week after the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament took over the Brooklyn Marriott, another sport that takes skill with brains comes to the Brooklyn Lyceum.

From February 27-28, the Park Slope bathhouse-turned-venue will host the inaugural Brooklyn Chess Tournament, an all-ages affair that looks to trump up the borough’s place on the chess map.

Indeed, from the dominance of Edward R. Murrow High School in chess circles to the legacy of Bobby Fischer, chess and Brooklyn are somewhat synonymous. All that’s missing is a tournament, and Eric Richmond, program director of the Brooklyn Lyceum, thought it was high time the borough had its own.

“Each and every time I go to other cities or to Manhattan and see a special event I ask myself ‘Why not Brooklyn?’ said Richmond. “Whether it is the Brooklyn Chess Champ or our bi-annual markets, things are happening all over the borough that don’t need to be acknowledged by Manhattan to be valid or successful. Brooklyn carries its own weight, has its own fun and is making way for a slew of fantastic events of all kinds, some steeped in history and some emerging for the very first time.”

Helping to kick things off is a Brooklyn chess champion – Maurice Ashley, the first African-American chess International Grandmaster and, as a resident of Park Slope, a neighbor of the venue. He is helping co-produce the tournament and will provide commentary, as well as challenge 12 players to a round of 12 games at one time.

Saturday, February 27, will be devoted to nurturing young chess players in the Scholastic division (grade school, middle school, and high school levels). Membership in the U.S. Chess Federation is mandatory for high school competitors. Sunday, February 28, will be open competition (membership to the USCF is also required to compete and can, if necessary, be procured at the event). This day will also see chess players vying for over $2,000 in prize monies, awarded to first, second and third place.

For non-competitors, there is no admission fee, and tournament games will be simulcast on a large screen, with commentary provided by Ashley, so you don’t miss a single move. People are also welcome to play their own games amongst themselves.

For competitors, registration is $25 for the Scholastic division (Saturday) and $40 for open (Sunday), and is open until the day of, as long as there is still space available. The tournament is Swiss style, and you must bring your own chess sets, boards and clocks.

The tournament runs 11 am-7 pm February 27 and 28 at the Brooklyn Lyceum (227 Fourth Avenue). For more information, call 718-857-4819.


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