I.S. 318 are H.S. Champs!

National Champions...Justus Williams, James Black, Isaac Barayev and Matthew Kluska, members of the I.S. 318 Chess Team.

I.S. 318 – National Champions
(L-R) Justus Williams, James Black, Isaac Barayev and Matthew Kluska.
Photo by I.S. 318 (Brooklyn, NY)

The hardware just keep piling up for I.S. 318. As the screening for the movie “Brooklyn Castle” continues, the middle school has perhaps added another saga to its spectacular run of success. Led by Justus Williams, the school bested New York’s Hunter College to win the K-12 School Championship.

Williams (2307) was the leading scorer with 5.5/7 with Issac Barayev (2141) and Matthew Kluska (1844) with 5/7 and , teamed with James Black Jr. (2312) with 4.5/7. The team won the Jr. High championship a couple of years back. It is presumably the first time a middle school has won the high school championship.

Results: https://www.uschess.org/tournaments/2012/hs/?page=RESULTS

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

10 Comments

  1. Another incredible achievement! Incredible achievements seem to happen weekly with these wunderkinds. I guess they came in 2nd last year so they are almost two-time National High School champs while only in Middle school! With Rochelle Ballantyne being on last year’s winning team, we have 2 straight years of African-American winners. By the way, Justus received the “Life Master” title on the 8th of this month.

    1. Hi Mr. Colas! Josh earned the “Original Life Master” title last month which is earned with 300 rated games as a National Master. Justus just won the “Life Master” title which is a newer norms-based title that doesn’t have the original requirements– I’m not sure what they are. Congrats to both!

  2. By the way, if I’m not mistaken, Rochelle Ballantine won a full ride to the University of Texas as the girls’ individual top performer last year.

  3. For the record, it is the first time a middle school has won the national high school championship. (Steve Immitt has a great history of the national high school championship dating through 1996 posted online, and I remember it from 1992 to now.)

    It’s certainly not going to be the last, though, as so-called “kiddie” teams are becoming stronger and stronger. In fact, keep an early eye out for Kennedy MS (Cupertino, CA). They’ve got four 6th-graders this year with an average rating of 2136.

    1. Yes… I saw that school in Cupertino as well as some of of the high schools with more than one 2400-rated players. Of course, we know age has little to do with strength and these open tournaments are crawling with these little piranhas playing up a section or two.

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