HARLEM, Manhattan (PIX11) – Hundreds of people showed up for a special chess tournament in Harlem on Tuesday. Members of the NYPD faced off against young people from the neighborhood. It’s part of a continued effort to connect the community with resources and build relationships between residents and police.
Chess is a game of strategy, discipline and competition. Harlem community champion Jackie Rowe-Adams came up with the idea to use the love of the game to bring the community together.
Cody Winslow, 16, who is from a non-profit community group called Street Corner Resources, played against officer James Blizzard from the 33rd Precinct. The tournament attracted dozens of young people from several community organizations from all over Harlem for an afternoon of competitive chess. For many of them, it was a first chance to meet a member of the NYPD.
Rowe-Adams coordinated the event and hopes tournaments like these will help bring unity and hope to a neighborhood hurt by gun violence. Rowe-Adams is the founder of a group called Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E. She visited the White House last month to push for more federal help. Her headquarters is on 128th Street and offers counseling and support groups for parents who have lost their children to violent deaths.
Rowe-Adams understands the pain of neighborhood violence. She lost two of her sons to horrible acts of gun violence. She says a game of chess is the perfect first step in healing.
More than a hundred young people entered the competition Tuesday. The top 25 young chess players got gift cards and a memory that will last a lifetime. The NYPD, Street Corner Resources and Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E. will have more tournaments to come. For more information, visit the Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E. website.