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Amidst financial crises and unprecedented public school budget cuts, Intermediate School 318 in Brooklyn, New York, has assembled the best junior high chess team in the nation. Brooklyn Castle follows five chess team members for one year, and documents their challenges and triumphs both on and off the chessboard. Justus is a prodigiously talented 10-year-old trying to navigate the unfamiliar pressures that come with newfound success and adulation. Eleven year old Patrick struggles with ADHD, and uses chess to improve his concentration. Alexis, 12, already views chess as a means to attain a higher education and support his immigrant family. Rochelle – an ambitious 13-year-old – strives to become the first African-American female to reach the level of chess master. And the team’s emotional and outspoken leader, 12-year-old Pobo, rallies his fellow students against school budget cuts while running for school president. In each of these young lives, we observe the profound impact of chess: a beautiful and complex game offered as a unique learning experience in an underfunded school.