The Rachel Maddow Show | April 17, 2012
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.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you for calling I.S. 318, home of the national chess champions .
MADDOW: 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. Now it is time for "THE_LAST_WORD" with Lawrence O'Donnell. Have a great night. THIS IS