STUDENTS | May 2, 2018
Chicago Public Schools students from more than 40 schools challenged Chicago Police officers to a game of chess at the first Cops & Kids Culminating Chess Challenge on Wednesday.
More than 145 students came together to compete in the end-of-year challenge. The tournament took place at Guaranteed Rate Field, 333 W. 35th St. Chief Education Officer LaTanya McDade and Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson were in attendance.
“This type of relationship building that is taking place is critically important to promote peace, unity and relationships within all of our communities throughout the city of Chicago,” McDade said. “We’re excited for the continuation of this into the second year.”
The Cops & Kids program, held in partnership with the Renaissance Knights Chess Foundation and CPD, is structured to improve chess skills and foster positive relationships between young people and police officers. Through the program the local police officers make weekly visits to 15 local after-school chess clubs. They’ve been practicing since September.
“This is what the City of Chicago invites, the police and kids working together,” said Johnson, “so we can see each other in a different light.”
Fifth-grader Davonte Pennington, an 11 year-old at Alex Haley Academy, has been playing chess for two years. He said playing chess with police officers is fun.
“I won two [matches] and only lost one,” he said. “I think this [tournament] is great because you can play, you can have fun, and you can talk. It’s amazing.”
Earle STEM Academy chess player Lavell Harris is new to the game, with Wednesday being his first competition.
“I was nervous because this is my first time playing chess and it’s with people who’ve been playing for three to four years,” said the seventh-grader.
“I practice everyday in the morning,” Lavell said, adding that he won one game. “Chess is fun.”