A chess tournament for children and an acclaimed 2012 documentary film offer a boost to fans of the strategic game this weekend.
"Brooklyn Castle," which chronicles an inner-city school's rise to nationwide prominence in chess, opens Friday, Jan. 4, at the Pickford Film Center's Limelight Cinema. It's about I.S. 38 in Brooklyn, N.Y., where some 70 percent of students live below the poverty line but the school has won more national championships than any other school in the country.
It's playing to rave reviews and it won the Top 10 Audience Favorite at the Hotdocs film festival and the Audience Award at the noted South By Southwest film festival in Austin, Texas.
I.S. 38's "Chess Nuts" could do for chess players what the documentaries "Spellbound" and "Mad Hot Ballroom" did for word geeks and dancers.
Doug Malquist of Bellingham said he and others in the Wade King Chess Club are looking forward to the film, which is playing coincidentally with the local club's weekend King's Tournament.
"We're always excited whenever there's an avenue for people to learn about chess," Malquist said. "It's an international game. You don't have to speak the same language. You pull out a chess board and it's guaranteed you'll be able to play."
Malquist said chess offers a wealth of knowledge for young minds. He said it teaches responsibility, integrity and risk-assessment, among other skills.
"Chess follows life, pretty much," Malquist said. "You want to play to win ... but you don't want to harm anyone."
The King's Tournament will be from 8:15 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 5, in the cafeteria at Wade King Elementary, 2155 Yew Street Road. Chess players in kindergarten through eighth grade from around the region will compete, with matches starting after an opening ceremony at 9 a.m.
Entry deadline is Thursday, Jan. 3, with a fee of $15. Enter online at northwestchess.info/king13.html.
"Brooklyn Castle" shows Friday though Thursday, Jan. 10, at the Limelight, 1416 Cornwall Ave. Its running time is 101 minutes and it's rated PG for language.
Admission is $6 for chess club members who wear their club T-shirt or bring another related ID. Otherwise, general admission is $10, $7.50 for students with ID and children under 12. For show times, call 360-738-0735 or go online to pickfordcinema.org. For more information about the film, see brooklyncastle.com.
The location of the Bellingham showing of the film was corrected Jan. 3.
ROBERT MITTENDORF is a Herald copy editor and page designer. Suggest your ideas for local family-friendly events or day trips at 360-756-2805 or at email@example.com.