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TEDxWilmington talk: "Chess Champions of Murdertown USA"

Megan Pauly
Delaware Public Media

Wilmington’s “Murdertown USA” title has resonated with many, including Walter Nathan Durant.


Durant is a teacher at Thomas Edison Charter School in Wilmington, and also gave a TEDx Wilmington talk titled “Chess Champions of Murdertown USA.”

A few years ago, leadership at Edison started a chess team.


Teacher Walter Durant was once a student of Edison’s current principal at a school in Philadelphia, and on his chess team, which inspired him to help found his own team.

“He had a team in Philly in the mid 90s that I played on that won the national chess championship. So we brought chess here to Wilmington and we’ve been trying and trying and trying but we finally won a national chess championship – Delaware’s first,” Durant said.


The team doesn’t recruit kids from outside the school, and Durant is proud of the team’s success. The kids have won two national championships in the past three years.


Durant hopes the team provides a safe haven for kids and helps distract them from violence in the community.


“Just last week, a young lady was found murdered less than 100 yards from our front door. This is the environment that our kids have to walk through,” Durant said.


He says every year he’s worked at Edison, a young person from the community has been buried.



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