The Champions' Game

  • Kirkus Reviews

    “A movie-ready narrative about how a scrappy, dauntless Henderson Middle School art teacher took a dozen students, most from underprivileged or lower-income backgrounds, to the 2015 National Chess Tournament and won. [The Champions’ Game] is a love letter to these students, to chess, and to El Paso.”  (starred review)

    - Kirkus Reviews
  • Kirkus Reviews

    “An inspiring, true story.” (starred review)

    - Kirkus Reviews

In 2015, a team of “border kids” from El Paso took the chess world by surprise.

For these kids, dreams of beating highly privileged students from “fancy” schools in upper-crust neighborhoods aren’t on the radar. They have bigger issues to deal with in life. Which is why it borders on the miraculous that they choose to voluntarily—even enthusiastically—commit countless hours every week to the practice of a game that they had known virtually nothing about until two years ago when art teacher Saul Ramirez started a chess club at Henderson Middle School.

The Champions’ Game follows Ramirez’s original 12 champions through their triumphs—and failures—at local, state and national chess competitions.

Under Ramirez’s caring but firm tutelage, the rising stars of El Paso hunker down, deal with the daily challenges of life and shrug off troubling national news riddled with racism and division, instead trusting Ramirez to mentor them in their new extracurricular passion—chess.