Williams wins Empire State Open!

Justus Williams (far right) with Josh Colas and the Bryant twin brothers, Nigel and Jehron Bryant. Watch out for this crew! Photos by Elizabeth Vicary.

Rising star Justus Williams of I.S. 318 has won perhaps his first major tournament. Entering with a pre-tournament rating of 2092, the 11-year old placed sole first at the 5th Annual Empire State Open during the Christmas holidays. Justus held top-seed Igor Nikolayev to a draw in the penultimate round and the second-seed to a draw in the last round. His undefeated score of 4.5/6 gained him 48 points and his rating now stands at 2140.

Justus is one of the cadre of very talented players coming out of I.S. 318. He also participates in the Chess-in-Schools program and seems to be improving rapidly. An All-American scholastic player, Justus has played training matches in an effort to improve his game and the results are paying off. Coach Elizabeth Vicary arranged a recent match with FM Andrei Zaremba. Williams continues on having beaten GM Michael Rohde, FM Asa Hoffman and many strong players.

Link: https://www.uschess.org/msa/XtblMain.php?200912283231.1-13534356


  1. Congratulations Justus! Job well done! Interestingly, Josh, Justus, Jehron and Nigel will be teaming together in Feb to compete at the Amateur East Championship in NJ. This is a fun event and Josh said he’s really looking forward to that event.

  2. Guy,
    Justus told me about this team. Sounds exciting! I feel bad for any team paired with those guys. Any ideas for a team name?

    Also, do you think Joshua would like to play in the championship section of the MLK Jr. Day Tournament for over 1900 players on Monday, January 18, 2010 at FDA?

    Others viewing this are welcome to play if they are rated over 1900 and email me at ssmith@chessintheschools.org before the event. The event is free to all. Once I recieve an email I will send you the details.

  3. Shaun,
    Unfortunately, Josh will be playing in the Liberty Bell that weekend. However , he will play in your next tournament on 1/30/09. Josh will also be very busy playing and studying from Now until April. He wants to reach his first goal within that time frame.

  4. I am totally in love with this shot of the boys! They truly are my favorite players. Daaim many thanks again for your continued support and coverage of my Justy boy. You should come to NY and attend one of the tournaments.

  5. Shaun Smith’s article at U.S. Chess Online

    Justus learned chess in his third grade classroom, through the Chess-in-the-Schools program at his school, Public School 70 in the Bronx. In less than three years of playing chess, he became one of the highest-rated elementary students in the country. Justus is now in the 6th grade at IS 318 in Brooklyn, another school in the Chess-in-the-Schools Program, where he is motivated not only by his coaches, but also by the success and hard work of his own teammates.

  6. Daaim,

    It is encouraging to see young talent flourish and patently enjoying the “chess struggle”. With their obvious aptitude and fantastic attittude they will not only become masters as you predict but should succeed in life. I trust that their parents, guardians and friends will give them the necessary encouragement and support at every step of their development.

    More time!
    Ian Wilkinson

    PS: May I use this opportunity to thank you for the great work you did through this website and to wish for you, yours, Chess Drum “devotees” and chess players worldwide (especially our brothers in the diaspora) tremendous success in 2010 particularly chesswise!!!

  7. Congratulation…Justus continue on your journey and we, the Buffalo Chess contingent wish you must success, please don’t forget “remember to enjoy the journey”!

  8. To Justus and Josh!

    Congratulations to both of you. You are the Kings of the Chess game, let’s face it. I see you boh accomplishing your GM goals before you are 12 years old. Yes consider yourselves pinched, because you are headed for the GM’s of the country before your 12th Birthdays. You have already beaten GMS which confirms your greatness. You go Grand Masters You Go!

  9. Hey cuz! Justus you are the best…a world traveling champion. Do you ever get beat! WOW I don’t remember anybody BEATING YOU! Keep up the good work!

  10. Is that the regional champion Justus Williams? I love this pic. I think Justus Williams is the best player I have seen play in a long time…can those other kids beat him?!

  11. Justus you are doing a great! Congratulations! I look forward to seeing more articles on you!! Great job boys keep it up!!!

  12. Congratulations Justus ! You are doing great! I am very proud you and your team! Keep on going to training matches and I know you will continue getting better and more successful. I wish you the best in this New Year! Love you Bessie.

  13. Congratulations Justus! I’m very proud of you. Keep up the hard work and please support your teammates.

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