Somerset County News

An Even Dozen: Freeholder Issues Challenge to Young Chess Players

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Somerset County Freeholder Brian Levine has issued a challenge to young chess players to match their skills against him in a simultaneous chess match May 14 in Rocky Hill. Credits: courtesy Brian Levine
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ROCKY HILL, NJ - Somerset County Freeholder Deputy Director Brian D. Levine will challenge up to a dozen chess players from the area schools to match their skills against him in simultaneous chess games at the Mary Jacobs Library, 64 Washington St. on Monday, May 14, beginning at 5 p.m.

Though not necessarily a spectator sport, onlookers are welcome.

“I love working with kids and I love playing chess,” said Levine, “so this chess exhibition is perfect for me.  Instead of the instant response of a video game or the constant viewing of a phone, chess provides youth (and adults) with the opportunity to slow down, concentrate, think, and work towards a well-planned yet creative goal.”

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The former mayor of Franklin Township, Levine – last year named “Freeholder of the Year” by the New Jersey Conference of Mayors – learned the game as a seven-year-old when he watched his father and cousin playing chess.  He went on to study the game, becoming a high school champion at J.P. Stevens HS in Edison, and top player in the conference in which his high school competed.

Levine has organized similar youth challenges over the past several years and has yet to be beaten.

Levine is not only a lifetime chess player, but also a lifetime book lover.  “I am enamored with all kinds of books – I am an eclectic reader, moving from one genre to another as I finish each book,” said Levine.  “That is another reason why it is so endearing to me to provide this challenge in our library.”

Before the games begin, the contestants will receive a brief chess lesson form International Chess Master Dean Ippolito, of the Dean of Chess Academy in Branchburg.

Anyone who manages to outmaneuver  Levine will receive a gift from the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey.  Levine is donating half-a-dozen tournament quality chess sets and boards to the library, in addition to giving a “chess pin” to all who challenge him.

Though he is hopes to become an official Chess Master some day, Levine is currently in the top 20 percent of tournament chess players nationally, and the top one percent of all people who know how to play chess.

Further information is available by calling Levine at (732) 213-5535 or the Somerset County Library system, (908) 526-4016.

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