Memphis chess team features public showing of documentary 'Brooklyn Castle'

Members of the Douglass Elementary School chess program are celebrating the completion of the first year of the school’s “Smart Moves” program with a free public screening of the award-winning documentary “Brooklyn Castle.”

Streets Ministries is hosting the event Friday night at 7 p.m. at its Graham Heights location, 1304 Graham Street, and drinks and popcorn will be served.

“The movie draws the connection between chess education and the long term benefits for urban youth,” said Jeff Bulington, the veteran Memphis teacher and chess instructor who brought “Smart Moves” to Douglass after Lester Elementary School was moved into the Achievement School District. “Our students at Douglass are succeeding at learning how skills learned in chess can be used in the real world. They’re practicing new thinking strategies and transferring these skills into academic study and into their personal decision-making process.”

The movie closely follows nationally-ranked members of the renowned chess team at Brooklyn middle school I.S. 318, which has 65 percent of students qualifying for free and reduced lunches. Douglass has followed the example of I.S. 318 by making chess a part of its teaching curriculum, and its students are already challenging some of the top programs in the state.

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