By Wook Kim
Updated February 23, 2007 at 05:00 AM EST

You can add The Kings of New York, Michael Weinreb’s lively, inspiring book, to the subgenre about Nerdy but Likable Kids Who Win Our Hearts as They Win Countless Chess Matches. (In fact, Josh Waitzkin, the now-grown-up prodigy of 1993’s ur-text Searching for Bobby Fischer, makes a brief cameo.) Weinreb spends a year with some remarkable high schoolers who do battle for Brooklyn’s ethnically diverse Edward R. Murrow High, eloquently showing the democratization of genius and ability. With his vivid portraits and brisk narrative style, he manages to find high drama in a roomful of brilliant young minds pushing little pieces across a 64-square grid. B+