First Chess Tournament with the Chicago Police Department's 14th District engaged kids & cops

Date: 
11/11/2015
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Children of all ages, Officer Chavez, a sign language interpreter (cntr) and David Heiser

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Commander Buslik with 1st Place Team from Kindergarten to 4th grade - Skinner West*

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1st Place Team 5th to 9th grade is from Kinzie*

From kindergarteners to high schoolers, close to 50 participants in the Renaissance Knights Chess Foundation event went through four chess match rounds, sometimes with 14th District Police Officers, in Moos Elementary School, 1711 N. California, last Saturday. 

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Sheila and David Heiser talk with CAPS Sergeant Reyes

This was the Renaissance Knights Chess Foundation's first event partnership with the Chicago Police Department explained David Heiser, who with his wife Sheila, started the foundation just over 12 years ago. 

While their son could sit and read Harry Potter books, other activities were harder for him. Then he started playing chess. "Chess gave him one thing that he could focus on," said Heiser. 

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Intense concentration

The problem was that he had no one to play with. Then at a summer camp, they learned that a chess teacher lived close to their home. Next they learned that there were state tournaments, national tournaments and that other cities had programs. 

Having experienced what chess could do for their son, they knew there would be benefits for all kids. Now they have weekly sessions with 11 Chicago schools and 10 suburban schools. In addition they have a monthly tournament. 

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One student waiting for an opponent

Sheila pointed out that they have two students who have been attending there monthly tournament for  several years, one of them "has been coming for five years and never missed one session." 

"We seem to get a lot of kids who have ADHD, ADD or some spectrum of autism. Chess seems to be something they can do that calms them down," Heiser explained. 

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Commander Buslik in one of the matches from which he "resigned"

While Heiser is a police officer in Northbrook, the 14th Police District became involved at the urging of 1st Ward Alderman Joe Moreno. This first tournament was a success, despite the fact that Commander Buslik was defeated each time. He assured everyone that he did not lose but merely "retired."Both officers and children appeared to be having an enjoyable time at chess and the interaction with local officers.

Each child received a necklace and the top two individual and top team in each section walked away with a trophy. The trophies and the recipients were: First place Micah Askew for K-4 section and Illia Svirinovskyi for 5-9 section, second place Elizabeth Codamon for 5-9th grade, and Justin Chen for kindergarten to 4th grade, first place team for 5th to 9th grade is Team Kinzie and first place team for kindergarten to 4th grade is Team Skinner West.

*Photos courtesy of David Heiser 

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