On Saturday (October 13), over 500 were in attendance at the San Francisco Design Center as Wu-Tang founder RZA took home the belt for winning the first annual Chess Kings Invitational, a tournament presented by the Hip-Hop Chess Federation (HHCF). While high school teams from around California's Bay Area competed for over $10,000 worth of scholarships, hip-hop celebrities like RZA, GZA, Sunspot Jonz, Casual and others spoke about the game's virtues, before competing for the coveted belt.

In the celebrity competition, each finalist played a total of five rounds, until an undefeated RZA met Monk (a member of Wu-Tang-affiliated group Black Knights) in the final round. "RZA pulled off the chess version of Rumble in the Jungle," says HHCF founder Adisa Banjoko. "It was the classic chess scenario of the student going after the teacher." After an intense game, RZA finally called "Checkmate" after trapping Monk's king in a back rank mate move.

In related news, the HHCF plans to hold the "All Queens Invitational" at the end of February 2008, which will feature some of the top female chess players from around the world alongside hip-hop's leading ladies.

Go to hiphopchessfederation.org for more information.