Washington DC hip-hop organization Words Beats & Life (WBL) are preparing to present their third annual Bum Rush the Boards hip-hop chess tournament.
The competition, which is open to players of all ages and skill levels, is happening on May 17th in DC. There will also be chess classes for newbies plus classes in how to DJ, emcee, b-boy/b-girl, and a how-to create graffiti art class.
Inspired in part by the Wu Tang Clan and other hip-hop artists and fans' keen interest in the stimulating board game of chess, and taking its name from Public Enemy's classic album Yo! Bum Rush the Show, Bum Rush the Boards, was created to promote the idea of strategic struggle within the hip-hop generation. The event's organizers say their hope is to "harness the power of hip-hop culture and the science of chess to open the minds of a generation to a host of new options the world has available to them."
Last year in San Jose, a gathering of martial arts, chess, and hip-hop enthusiasts convened for a free hip hop chess exhibition/ grudge match -- also geared for all ages. That event had similar positive goals of wanting to teach hip-hop generation youth the mental benefits of the age old game of chess. The NorCal event, organized by the the International Hip Hop Chess Federation's Leo Libiran and Adisa Banjoko (pictured left), featured on the boards that day Banjoko, DJ QBert, Casual, Davey D, and Boots Riley of The Coup, among others. It was RZA who won the Hip-Hop Chess Federation belt at last year's tournament.