Saint Louis Chess Club Pairs Inner City Students with Local Police through New Scholastic Program

Three prominent St. Louis organizations are bringing together three chess enthusiasts to benefit the city’s youth. The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis (CCSCSL), Saint Louis Public Schools and Saint Louis Metropolitan Police Department are partnering to launch Saint Louis CHESS Cops, or “Cops Helping Enhance Student Skills.” The program pairs Saint Louis area police officers with local inner city students to teach them the game of chess.

“Saint Louis CHESS Cops is a program that truly exhibits the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis’s positive involvement in the community and current affairs,” said Tony Rich, CCSCSL Executive Director. “It is a prime example of how chess can teach fundamental lessons, build constructive relationships, and ultimately make a difference in the lives of young people.”

The Saint Louis CHESS Cops program is currently comprised of eight local police officers who have gone through a certification process to become accredited chess instructors. Once certified, the police officers teach fundamental chess elements and the educational values that can be learned through chess. The curriculum they will teach incorporates lessons on critical thinking, planning and logic. The program is also designed to foster positive relationships between the police department and the local community.

“Our officers are so excited to be a part of this program,” said Lt. Perri Johnson of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. “It is critical for law enforcement to establish positive relationships with members of the St. Louis community early on, and this program helps us do just that.”

The St. Louis CHESS Cops program kicked-off with a ceremony at Gateway Middle School Feb. 22. Representatives from all three organizations were present, and the event concluded with matches between local students and their police chess instructors.

St. Louis CHESS Cops is one of many scholastic programs implemented by the CCSCSL to promote positive relationships and provide beneficial instruction to St. Louis Public School students.

“We are very pleased to see organizations like the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis working to promote programs that actively involve our city’s youth,” said Anthony Ruby Network Superintendent St. Louis Public Schools. “Chess gives our students a constructive outlet. Now, when our students see a police officer, we hope they will see a mentor.”

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