When 10-year-old Drew French slid his rook down the center of the board to checkmate his opponent, it sealed the victory for his team from P.S. 166 during last weekend’s National Elementary School Chess Championships here. And the Manhattan school wasn’t the only one to bring chess trophies back to the five boroughs: city schools finished on top in five out of nine sections.
“New York teams are so dominant, they might as well call this the state championships,” Matthew Noble, a chess coach at a school in Tucson, Ariz., said during the tournament in Dallas.
The city’s chess prowess extends to all grades. At the junior high championships in April, New York City schools claimed first and third in the top level and won three of the remaining five sections. When high schools from across the country faced off in Nashville earlier this month, traditional chess powerhouses Hunter College High School, Brooklyn’s I.S. 318 and the Bronx High School of Science took all three top spots in the tournament’s highest level of play.