Brooklyn Castle @ The Ross

Master Chess Player Rochelle Ballantyn

Master Chess Player Rochelle Ballantyn

“Playing to win” is the mantra of “The Yankees of Chess”, the chess champions from P.I.S. 318, a junior high school in Brooklyn, New York known for its championships. Yes, in Brooklyn Castle, the geek and the nerd are the athletes in the crowd. In her inspirational documentary, Katie Dellamaggiore charts the day-to-day activities of these students, who work tirelessly to juggle the twists and turns of life. The one constant is the mastery of chess with its intellectual challenges and intricate strategies. The game itself is the anchor, and chess opens the door to a wealth of opportunities and, even more significant, the game paves the way for the building of determination, confidence, and intellectual stamina within the students. The nurture of relationships between parents and teachers is very apparent.

practicing the game

practicing the game

Brooklyn Castle is intoxicating for a number of reasons. Witnessing student eagerness to learn the game and the all-out investment of time, belief in, and engagement with the students by the teachers are amazing. Seeing the chess game taken apart in its pieces by a teacher brings the audience into the classroom. These particular scenes no doubt will inspire you to at least learn more about the game. Each competitor’s commitment to the game of chess above is impressive above all as is the unquestioned faith in the ability to win!

Brooklyn Castle plays through February 21 at the Ross Media Arts Center.

Abridged audio version @ 48:00 on Friday Live at the Mill!

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