ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - Police and students are teaming up to learn chess and about one another. Chess is a thinking game and the St. Louis Chess Club thinks its a perfect tool to unite inner city students and police officers with learning and listening.
Lt. Perri Johnson explains whats going on, “Let's sit down on a chess board and while we are playing we are going to talk, get to know each other, find out about each other. You can see me for more than a guy with a uniform on.”
Students and police learn the game along side Chess Club members. Chess Club President and founder Rex Sinquefield says there is no equivalent in teaching a kid how to focus. “You watch these kids concentrate. I bet at this age they don't concentrate that much on any of their courses and study like they do on a chess game.”
These middle school students also think this a great way to see police in a different light. Litreol Young says, “Yeah, I think it could help because a lot of people are scared of police right now.”
“A lot of them are misinformed. Some of them have had negative experiences so that's all they have to go on. If they don't have anyone in their lives to combat that, then we got to fight that,” said Lt. Perri Johnson.
Officers become accredited chess instructors, teaching critical thinking, planning and logic. At first some students were not sure this was a good idea but now, welcome it.
Rex Sinqufield is also trying to organize a "Guns 'n Hoses" type of event between police and fire around the game of chess in the future. He also says Cards Manager Mike Matheny plays chess every night after games to keep his mind sharp.