HHCF’s “Mind Over Matter” panel rocks!

Emelio Rivera speaking
during the ‘Mind Over Matter’ panel.

“Mind Over Matter” was the theme of the Hip Hop Chess Federation’s (HHCF) weekend of events which included an intriguing panel discussion. HHCF activities were held concurrent with the KO Finisher jiu jitsu tournament. RZA was the defending champions after winning his title in the inaugural tournament in 2007.

Since the historic tournament in 2007, the HHCF has done a number of projects in the Bay area. However, HHCF founder Adisa Banjoko decided to select Los Angeles for the site of his tournament in order to coincide with the KO Finisher jiu jitsu tournament. Due to some cancellations, a few of the players were forced to stand-in including Adisa. In the end, it was RZA defending his title losing only one game.

“Mind Over Matter” in effect! Adisa Banjoko leads the discussion.
Photos by Paul Moran.

The panel was very insightful as all of the panelists told their respective stories and offered their perspective on how chess can assist in helping raise sharpen decision-making skills and perhaps help students in a number of ways. Perhaps the most stirring comments were made by actor Emilio Rivera who spoke of his troubles as a gang member and recovering drug addict. RZA of the Wu Tang Clan offered some nuggets of wisdom as well. Everyone had something different to offer.

RZA (Wu Tang Clan)
Emilio Rivera (“Alvarez” from Sons of Anarchy)
Rakaa Iriscience (Dilated Peoples)
Andrew McGregor (LA Chessboxing)
Sergio Flores (Assistant Superintendent, Partnership of Los Angeles Schools)
Dr. Martin Gomez (Principal, Los Angeles Santee High School)

* * *

Listen to “Mind Over Matter” panel with Adisa Banjoko

Nate Jackson, “RZA Preserves his Titles as Hip-Hop Chess Master,” OC Weekly, 18 February 2014.


  1. Pingback: Daily Chess News Links March 5, 2014 | blog.chesscafe.com
  2. it’s hard to take this seriously. how good is the rza? what would his fide or even uscf rating be? (uscf search came up empty)

    i’d have more respect if he showed up to the world open or even the podunk quads…

    1. He has been estimated about 1400. That’s not really the point of this. It’s a celebrity tournament to bring attention the fusion of different artistic themes including martial arts, hip hop and chess. When we see celebrities play, we are curious on their strength, but they may have some interesting insight on what they see in the game. RZA is a chess aficionado and speaks on the value of chess far more eloquently that some GMs I’ve heard.

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