Thursday, April 19, 2012

Real News -- Good News

It was not the usual New York Times front-page photo – fourteen school kids, in three rows, standing in a hallway. Not a single politician, or pointed gun, or scene of tragic devastation.

 The kids were the chess players from Intermediate School 318 in Williamsburg, Brooklyn and on Sunday, in Minneapolis, they became the first middle school team to win the United States Chess Federation’s national high school championship.

 The team members are mostly eighth graders and include a 13-year-old certified chess master. Drawn to the non-violence of the story, I predicted as I read that someone will inevitably make a movie about these kids. Sure enough, as the story continued onto page A22, there was mention of a recently completed documentary, “Brooklyn Castle.” [But soon, perhaps, a feature film?]

 Tomorrow (April 20) the I.S. 318 girls’ team will compete in national championships in Chicago. The odds are in their favor.

 Think for a moment about the ramifications. What if this caught on and, throughout the country, 13-year-olds mastered (or at least learned) the game? What if all them acquired the skill to think before they acted? And what if it spread – to politicians and armies and the rest of us.

 Oh my.

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