A young Brooklyn chess player now has fans in Texas. Justus Williams, a 13-year-old I.S. 318 student and a prodigious chess talent, drew an enthusiastic crowd to an Austin park on Sunday following the premiere of Brooklyn Castle at the South by Southwest Film Festival, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
Williams is one of five featured teens in Brooklyn Castle, a documentary that tells the story of I.S. 318’s renowned chess team and the public school budget cuts that stand to endanger its success.
The crowd in downtown Austin’s Brush Square Park was gathered to watch Williams play 11 chess matches simultaneously, squaring off against 8 boys, two men and one girl. According to the Statesman, Brooklyn’s hometown hero played dominantly during the three hours he spent at the boards, beating several of his opponents and coming to a draw against others.
I.S. 318, an East Williamsburg school where a majority of students come from homes with incomes below the federal poverty line, boasts the most winning junior high school chess team in the country according to the website for Brooklyn Castle.
After signing a young fan’s chessboard at the Austin demonstration, Williams confirmed to the Statesman that it was the first time he’d been asked for an autograph.