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Knowledge, Attitude, Skills, and Habits.

Those are the attributes former state trooper and highway patrolman Orrin “Checkmate” Hudson instills in children through the game of chess — an unconventional if odd tactic that is changing the community around him for the better.

Inspired by a robbery gone wrong in his Alabama neighborhood, which left seven people injured from guns, Hudson decided to try a different approach to crime prevention.

“We’ve got to prevent our young people from getting caught up in the wrong crowd in the first place, because people go to jail all the time and they come out worse than they went in,” he said.

Chess saved Hudson’s life when the game of strategy was taught to him by who he describes as the only white teacher in his high school. Race is always mentioned in crime discussions, but Hudson teaches children that despite the color of your skin and the negative expectations placed on you, you too can succeed.

“It’s not about blame, it’s about aim. It doesn’t matter what color you are. It’s not the color but what’s inside. We got to teach young people that you’ve got everything you need to succeed. That if you make the right moves, you will get the right results. Nature is neutral,” he said.

Hudson not only travels from classroom to classroom instilling the importance of self-love, patience, analytical skills, and responsibility through chess, he also has a campaign called “Be You” that reiterates the significance of making the right choices.

“The object of the game is to protect the King. If you lose the King, if the King is trapped, the game is over. So, the King represents survival; it represents you. You are the football coach, you are the quarterback, you are everything. If you lose the game, you only have yourself to blame. Be someone. Everyone can be someone if they simply make the right moves,” Hudson explained.

By enforcing the importance of protecting one’s King in the game of chess, Hudson is teaching children the importance of self and how surroundings can influence livelihood.

Hudson is fortunate to have a great understanding of the law. He uses his experiences in law enforcement to save lives. The task is not an easy one, but it is one he takes great pride in. “I’ve discovered that prevention is better than detention. I’m all about trying to improve the world,” Hudson said.

The Federal Bureau Investigation (FBI) has recognized and honored Hudson for teaching thousands of children how to overcome the obstacles of life and make great life choices through chess.

“I got a chance to meet the head of the FBI and got a nice relationship with him and I get back to my email box and he sent me a friend request. So God is good,” he said of the ceremony.

For more information, please visit BeSomeone.org.

Nyasia Draper is a Brooklyn native, a freelance writer and at her happiest with a plate of food in one hand and an Apple product in the next. 

PHOTO CREDIT: Facebook