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  • The Cops & 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 y...

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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.

Cops & Kids Initiative

The Initiative will serve as a pilot program for 5 CPS schools. We will establish and support after-school chess programs within police districts in communities in need. In collaboration with the Chicago Police Department, police officers will visit clubs or meet at an off-site neutral location on a weekly basis to interact and play chess with the students. Cops & Kids will bring the academic benefit of chess to children while providing them with positive social groups, goals and aspirations, and will allow all children to expand their thinking and alleviate social pressures in a safe environment.

The Initiative will also support local community chess programs; i.e. chess a National Night Out events, Family Chess Day at a school, community chess classes, etc.

Chicago Chess League

In support of the CPS Academic Chess Competition program, we want to provide opportunities for students in this initiative to participate in chess competition through the establishment of a formal chess league based on team competition.

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 will be open to players in grades K-12 from the Chicago area to participate in free of charge. The tournament will be a team event where students will be partnered with a police officer or law enforcement personnel to form teams. The teams will compete in a 4-round no elimination tournament. Trophies will be awarded in each section and each participant will receive a commemorative souvenir.

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 Chicago Mayor Rahm, Emanuel, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, Chicago Board of Education President Frank Clark, Chicago Public Schools Chief Education Officer Janice Jackson, and 1st Ward Alderman Joe Moreno.

About Renaissance Knights

Renaissance Knights is a nonprofit 501(C)(3) educational organization dedicated to bringing the many benefits of chess to children and young people throughout the Chicago area by providing a complete chess curriculum, enrichment programs, tournaments and events. Since 2006, we have been partnered with Chicago Public Schools. Through this partnership we have establish and support over 50 after school chess clubs, served over 25,000 children, provided thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment and scholarships to Chicago children, schools and community groups, and sponsored chess at many special events in Chicago.

About Chicago Public Schools

Chicago Public Schools serves 381,000 students in 652 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district. Through the Academic Chess programs and the First Move Programs, CPS currently provides chess opportunities to several thousands of CPS students via in-school and after school chess programs. Our goal in the near future is to expand chess programming and initiatives and to afford chess opportunities to additional low resourced students from diverse communities throughout the city.


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