PARSIPPANY, NJ - Somerset County Freeholder Brian D. Levine will return to playing tournament chess, after a twenty-year hiatus, on the team of International Master Dean Ippolito; the team name is “Dean of Chess – Makatenas.” The tournament, which is the United States Chess Team Tournament Championship, is being held at the Parsippany Hilton over the President’s Day weekend.
Freeholder Levine, who was the champion of John P. Stevens High School in Edison, New Jersey, and the top player in its conference, has received numerous chess trophies and awards through the years. “Chess is great for kids,” said Levine, “it allows them to slow down and concentrate. Thinking, being creative, and focusing on a task are some of the skills instilled by playing chess. I hope to be a role model for our youth.”
“1997 was the last time I played in a tournament,” Levine said, “I guess it is time to return to the circuit.” Levine was formerly Mayor in Franklin Township, Somerset County and in his second term as Freeholder. He has been known to play in the libraries, taking on a dozen youth at a time in chess games.
Team Captain, International Master Dean Ippolito, owns and runs Dean of Chess Academy, a school and club for chess players, in Branchburg, NJ. Ippolito was a child prodigy in chess. In 2006, the New Jersey Chess Federation named Ippolito as Chess Teacher of the Year. Additionally, in 2011, The United States Chess Federation awarded him the Frank J. Marshall Ambassador of Chess Award for his contributions to the chess world.
The team is named after Albert R. Makatenas, a former NJ Senior Champion. Makatenas, a World War II vet, passed away last year at the age of 94; he was a benefactor and supporter of chess for over seven decades.
Teams are made of four individuals. Six rounds (games) are played by each team. The top team, which “Dean of Chess – Makatenas” hopes to be, will be the US Chess Team Champion.