Best of the Bronx: Chess instructor inspires kids

Santos used to be a chess instructor for Montefiore Hospital but left to teach the game to kids in the community.

Santos used to be a chess instructor for Montefiore Hospital but left to teach the game to kids in the community. (6/27/16)

THE BRONX - Children from P.S. 111 are racing to play chess with a Bronx man every afternoon after school.

"I say if you beat me, I'll buy you an ice cream or something," Romeo Santos says. "So, they come over here every day trying to beat me and now it's to the point they don't even think about ice cream."

Santos used to be a chess instructor for Montefiore Hospital but left to teach the game to kids in the community.

Parents say they gladly approve.

"He keeps them focused is what I think is the best part," says Yemary Martinez.

Santos says his expertise goes beyond the game itself.

"Some of the teachers say 'I don't know how you got this kid to sit down when he doesn't sit in class.' With me, it's once you take the time to be patient with them and show passion, curiosity takes over from there."

Santos says he wants the kids he teaches to think twice before making a move in chess, because he believes that translates to thinking twice before ever making a decision in life.

"If you make that one mistake, it messes up the rest of your life," he says.

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