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Youth Compete in Hip-Hop Chess Tournament

Looks like we can give RZA credit for yet another intellectual revolution that’s trickled down to America’s youth. Earlier this month, Words, Beats & Life, a nonprofit educational organization that strives to empower and spread knowledge to urban youth, held its fifth annual hip-hop chess tournament at the Historical Society of Washington.

The event, formally titled ‘Bum Rush the Boards,’ let 250 registered participants compete in a six round chess tournament that was broken up with hands-on tutorials in the basics of original hip-hop culture. Kids could watch and learn some classic break-dancing moves, watch a DJ scratch records or get some quiet lyric writing in between chess matches.

“For the creators of ‘Bum Rush the Boards,’ there is a logical connection between chess and hip-hop,” explained Mazi Mutafa, Word, Beats & Life’s executive director, in a recent interview with Ready Set DC. “Hip-hop culture, like chess, is highly competitive. It is filled with opportunities to battle and compete to win over crowds, crews, and sponsors. By connecting hip-hop to chess, we have created a chess tournament that exposes youth to a culture (hip-hop) and a science (chess) that requires them to think ahead, manage their talent, and size up their adversary.”

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