Bronx students play chess against NYPD officers: ‘I want them to have goals’

Bronx students play chess against NYPD officers: ‘I want them to have goals’

BRONX, N.Y. (PIX11) — Officers from the NYPD’s 47th precinct traded in their badges for chess pieces Wednesday in a game where they faced off against students at Baychester Middle School.

Breaking down barriers that often divide police and the community was a major goal of the tournament as organizers of the Young Kings & Queens Chess Club hoped to foster unity within the neighborhood.

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“They were really kind,” said student Oscar Zambrano. “They were having fun. I was actually teaching one of the officers, Officer Diaz. He’s an amazing guy.”

During the game, which took place in the school’s cafeteria, the clack of each chess move created an atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding.

“People think that police I guess aren’t doing their job well but I feel like they are, and they really do a lot to help our community,” said student Fatimah Ceesay. The 12-year-old also added, “To see that they actually enjoy playing chess actually just gives me a different view of them.”

Romeo Davis is the head of the Young Kings & Queens Chess Club who organized the tournament hoping to mend bonds in the community one chess piece at a time.

“We just want to break down all them barriers,” Davis said. “All them narratives. All the bad rep about each other and we just try to start something new, and the only way you going to build a seed — with any seed it takes it to grow, it needs water, it needs sun, it needs soil. Right here we just planted a seed today.”

Davis is hoping students take the lessons learned in the game beyond the chess board and use their critical thinking skills in the real world.

“I’ve learned to really think before I do stuff and that really can help me with my everyday life,” said student Carla Peña.

The chess instructor is working to give the North Bronx teens the tools they need to flourish.

“I want to give these kids the resources to have a chance to succeed in life,” Davis said. “I don’t want them to have dreams, I want them to have goals.”

This is the chess club’s first tournament partnering with NYPD and as Davis looks to continue strengthening the bond between officers and students, he said it certainly won’t be the last.

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