Promoting Non-Violence and Positive Engagement

Cops and Kids Chess Initiative

The Chicago Public Schools and Renaissance Knights Chess Foundation, in partnership with the Chicago Police Department, developed the Cops & Kids Chess initiative as a year-round after-school program for elementary and high school students which includes a tournament with police officers and student players. The program is intended to promote non-violence and increase positive relationships with youth and police officers while utilizing the game of chess as the vehicle for engagement.


To afford additional engagement opportunities to students from diverse communities throughout the city and employ Police officers to serve as mentors and role models through chess centered programs. We are developing a pilot program within select police districts in communities in need as well as organizing an annual chess tournament where cops and kids will compete as team members in a fun, rewarding and safe environment.

Importance of chess

We recognize the many outcomes and skills that chess provides our youth; such as strategy, analytical, critical thinking, team building, math concepts, life skills to name a few. We also plan to use chess as a vehicle to promote non-violence, serve as positive engagement and a tool to foster a positive relationship with the Chicago police and youth from diverse communities throughout the city of Chicago.

  • Promote non-violence
  • Promote family and community engagement
  • Increase positive relations between youth and police officers
  • Provide fun, rewarding, and safe out of school time activities
  • Foster ongoing relationships between students and police officers
  • Provide a safe and welcoming environment
  • Develop academic, social and life skills
  • Support Chicago Public Schools’ chess programs
  • Career awareness in law enforcement
  • Develop academic, social and life skills
After-School Clubs

By establishing and supporting after-school chess programs within police districts in communities in need and working with the Chicago Police Department, beat police officers visit these clubs on a weekly basis to interact with the children. These clubs bring the academic benefit of chess to children while providing them with positive social groups, goals and aspirations, and allow disadvantaged children to expand their minds in a way that alleviate social pressures in a safe environment.

Chicago Chess League

In support of the CPS Academic Chess Competition program, The Chicago Chess League provides opportunities for students in this initiative to participate in chess competition through a formal chess league.

As an extension of the after school chess programs, tournaments are the motivation that encourages students to expect nothing less than mastery of the subject for them. The challenge of chess competition is where students test and showcase their skills while learning to perform under pressure, recognize weaknesses and develop good sportsmanship skills.

Cops & Kids Chess Tournament

Sponsored by the Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Police Department, Cook County Sheriff’s Office, and the Renaissance Knights Foundation, the showcase event for the initiative is open to players in grades K-12 from the Chicago area to participate in free of charge. The tournament is a team event where students are partnered with a police officer or law enforcement personnel to form teams. The teams then compete in a 4-round no elimination tournament on Saturday, October 28, 2017, at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Chess Teaches Planning and Foresight

Having teenagers play chess might just save their lives. It goes like this: one of the last parts of the brain to develop is the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for planning, judgment, and self-control. So adolescents are scientifically immature until this part develops. Strategy games like chess can promote prefrontal cortex development and help them make better decisions in all areas of life, perhaps keeping them from making a stupid, risky choice of the kind associated with being a teenager.

Support and Partners

We will accomplish our goals through a coordinated effort using a cooperation model. We will drive the initiative though strategic partnerships and support from key political, community and business leaders, parents and the children.

We have garnered the support of: