Our Doc Studies alumnus, Simon Tchoukriel, class of 2021, won the National Board of Review Student Grant for his film Empire State of Chess.

Simon Tchoukriel is a filmmaker from France who originally moved to New York to play college soccer. In his work, Simon focuses on collectives and subcultures with a passion for games, whatever they may be, and what these activities tell us about our society at large.

Empire State of Chess is Simon Tchoukriel’s Doc Studies end of year film.

The game of chess has been bringing New Yorkers together for years in parks, squares, cozy clubs and tournament halls. But how can this beloved pastime survive amid a pandemic? Meet New York City’s most interesting pawn pushers, grandmasters, club owners and street players who keep the hope, and the game, alive.

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