Extreme X Chess Championships Finale

5/2/2012 – In the dramatic finals of these Championships 13-year-old Justus Williams played Stanford student Elliott Liu, 22. Justus' school was featured on the Rachel Maddow show ("Best new thing in the world for a long time!"), Elliott is a fun-loving college senior who attends music festivals on weekends while maintaining a strong international chess ranking. Great videos on the final and by Maddow.

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Extreme Chess Championships features dramatic final showdown

Report by Jennifer Shahade

NEW YORK, April 30, 2012 – In the dramatic finals of the Extreme “X Chess” Championships, 13-year-old Justus Williams plays Stanford student Elliott Liu, 22. Both players defy the traditional image of chessplayers. Justus is the top board on the powerhouse Brooklyn middle school IS 318, and was just featured on the Rachel Maddow Show (see below), and the New York Times.

Elliott is a fun-loving college senior who attends music festivals like Coachella on the weekends while maintaining both a strong international chess ranking and a demanding schedule at Stanford University.

The fourth and final episode crowns the first-ever Extreme “X Chess” Champion, who takes home a cash prize, the title and an automatic bid into the second season of X Chess. Co-creator and director Daniel Meirom talked about potential second season of the Extreme Chess Championships, “It will be even more exciting as fans learn more about the personalities behind the game as well as key strategies from beautiful checkmates to running your opponent out of time.”

The Extreme Chess Championships is a made for TV competition that showcases the drama of chess and the rush of checkmate. The pace in this single elimination knockout competition, also known as X Chess, is much closer to basketball than golf – each player has less than 20 minutes to complete all his or her moves. The show aims to heighten the awareness of chess and to prove that intellectual pursuits can create thrilling television.


Watch the full report here

The Extreme Chess Championships is created by filmmaker Daniel Meirom, US Chess League founder and International Master Greg Shahade and author and two-time US Women’s Champion Jennifer Shahade. X Chess is hosted by model and actress Kacie Marie. Jeopardy! Champion Jonathan Corbblah, who has appeared on ESPN, Cash Cab and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, provides accessible commentary with Jennifer Shahade. The event was hosted at Chess-In-The-Schools, a New York non-profit.


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MADDOW: Best best new thing in the world in a long time. All right. Imagine in middle school where the most popular kids are nerds, total nerds, board game nerds. That middle school exists, and it is awesome.

"Thank you for calling I.S. 318, home of the national chess champions." That recorded greeting is the first thing you hear when you call I.S. 318, which is a public school in Brooklyn, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It's a school where the chess players are the school's heroes. It's a regular old New York City school that has developed a really winning chess program, developed it over years. They devoted time and resources to it. They've now enrolled about half of the 1,800-member student body of this middle school in chess classes. There's a new movie that is playing in film festivals right now called " Brooklyn Castle," which is about I.S. 318 and its amazing program. The film's going to be out in theaters later this year. The woman who made the movie told The New York Times today that the chess geeks are the heroes of the school. It's cool to be really smart. It's cool to be into chess. Which is totally cool anyway, but that was before what happened this weekend. I.S. 318 is a middle school, right? It's not a high school. It's a middle school. So grades six through eight. Kids roughly ages 10 to 13. And this middle school just won the national high school chess championship . They beat the best high school kids in the nation. It's like a college basketball team beating an NBA team.

Look at these awesome kids. James Black , Isaac Bariev , Matthew Kluska and Justice Williams . Justice Williams and James Black , the ones on the far right and left, are already rated as chess masters . The only thing I mastered in middle school was self-pity and the viola clef. But a middle school beating every high school in the country at something that is this is cool to begin with is frankly better than the best new thing in the world today, but best new thing in the world today is all I have to offer. To the chess team of I.S. 318 Eugenio Maria De Hostos School in Brooklyn, congratulations, you guys. The rest of us are absolutely in awe. That does it for us tonight.


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