So a platinum-selling hip-hop producer, a chess grandmaster, the world’s most famous turntablist and a Brazilian martial arts specialist walk into a community center. …
No, it’s not the beginning of a joke, but a sample of what you might find at a Hip-Hop Chess Federation event.
On a recent Saturday, the HHCF held Hip-Hop, Chess and Life Strategies 2 at San Francisco’s Omega Boys Club. Part tournament and exhibition, part symposium and panel discussion, the event attracted a great mix of ages and cultures.
“I like chess. It makes my mind go good,” said Will Spain, 6.
“I thought these people were so fabulous, so dynamic,” said his mother, Leah.
…Banjoko, an author and journalist known as the bishop of hip-hop, has been enamored of chess since his father taught him the game as a kid. In his two-volume series of self-published books, “Lyrical Swords,” Banjoko (who also blogs for SFGate.com) juxtaposes interviews and essays on his three favorite passions in life: chess, martial arts and hip-hop (not necessarily in that order).
…”Chess is, for a lot of these people, an intellectual dirty secret,” Banjoko says. “It’s in itself a mental martial art,” proven to improve math skills and reading comprehension. Banjoko says it’s also “a proven tool for uplifting minds,” as well as “a way to enrich kids (spiritually) without religious dogma.”
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