Since 2000, one junior high school in Brooklyn has defied all expectations to earn over 30 US chess titles, including the US High School National Championship – a first for a junior high team
The school, IS 318, and its prodigal chess team is the subject of 2012 documentary Brooklyn Castle, premiering 21 September on PBS America at 9pm.
Brooklyn Castle follows the team from its development in 2000 by teacher Elizabeth Spiegel and assistant principal John Galvin, through its increasing successes, and into the 2010s when it came under threat from drastic budget cuts.
With the majority of the students at IS 318 coming from families below the poverty line, the team’s success is stunning and inspiring. Director Katie Dellamaggiore makes a compelling case for how extracurricular programmes such as chess can give students the confidence, determination and drive to succeed.
PBS America is available on Freeview 94, Freesat 155, Virgin Media 276 and Sky 160.