Justus Williams on TMZ!

Justus Williams has capitalized off of his “Brooklyn Castle” fame and was spotted by TMZ to do a segment “Coolest 17-year old Chess Champ Ever”. It appears as if the media is still intrigued by these type of stories as if it is still hard to find a cool chess player. Nevertheless, they’ve found the right one in 17-year old Williams, FIDE Master (2305 Elo).

It seems like yesterday that we saw Justus being featured on the award-winning “Brooklyn Castle” a movie about the chess team at IS-318 Middle School. Now a senior at Bronx School of Science and Technology, he was in Los Angeles shooting a commercial for Cadillac! I suppose that would rank him as a cool since the automobile brand has long moved from its old-fashioned, stodgy look to their sleek, stylish models of today. How many 17-year olds can say they have a contract endorsing cars?

Justus flashes his million-dollar smile as they ask him a few questions. No… not the “how many moves can you think ahead” questions, but “are there any chess groupies at the tournaments”!?!? Not sure which question is worse, but TMZ is basically a fun show about celebrity gossip looking for a laugh. It was a nice segment until someone on the show mentioned the word, “nerd”. TMZ just defeated the theme of the segment. Oh well. It was fun anyway.

Take a look!

TMZ: https://www.tmz.com/videos/0_jbxn7fl2/


  1. I’m curious about NM James Black.
    This is an interesting moment in time between the three young lions. We are currently seeing the widest differences in FIDE and USCF ratings between them. And I may be reading too much into NM James Black’s recent travails, but it seems to me that he never fully recovered from the June-July 2012 disappointments concluding in the 2012 US Cadet. None of them did well in that tournament, but the other two have made major strides since then.

  2. I don’t think his poor performance at the Cadet 3 years ago had anything to do with him being practically a no show at almost all the tournaments. Chess is a demanding cerebral game and as these kids mature and begin to take on bigger responsivities, they quickly realize that while time is endless, they have a finite time to get things done and that requires prioritizing. His dad is a good friend of mine and the last time I spoke with him, I probed him about James. His dad made me sigh, but as a parent of a teen myself, I fully understood and appreciated his viewpoint. However, this weekend all three of them will be playing in The NY State Scholastic Championship in Saratoga, NY. Their last scholastic tournaments will undoubtedly be The High School Nationals in Atlanta, GA, next month. It’s been a lot of fun for me to watch them grow and compete against one another over the years and I will miss the competition. Now, it’s time for them to move on and I wish all of them the very in their next chapter.

  3. I see. Thanks. I made that guess based on the fact that he had a career high rating at that point, seemed to be the picture of enthusiasm (and literally the ‘famous’ photo on this site of he and Josh admiring chess literature), then lost a bunch of points, and thereafter became very inactive and never returned to that ratings level. I figured I was reading too much into it. Life is complicated I’m a very very distant bystander!

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