NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In an attempt to bridge the gap between the NYPD and New York City communities, the first-ever Chess in the Schools – NYPD Chess Tournament was held Saturday.

The event, held at 1 Police Plaza, invited 150 inner-city public school students from the five boroughs between the ages of 8 and 18 years old to compete with 50 uniformed NYPD officers in a chess tournament.

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The NYPD collaborated with the nonprofit organization Chess in the Schools, which aims to improve performance and build self-esteem among inner-city public school students through teaching chess.

Tournament organizers said they hope to bring together police officers and inner-city youth to build positive relationships both at the chess table and in the community.

“When we are playing officers it seems like there’s a common ground, and it’s also a really nice way to connect with people that we don’t normally get to connect to,” participant Rhoda Lynch told 1010 WINS.

Students and police officers were organized into 50 teams of four — three students and one officer per team — to compete in five rounds.

Students and police officers were given the opportunity to relax and get to know each other between rounds.

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But the matches weren’t just about winning.

“The larger message is to see us all as human beings…to bring the cops together with the kids,” Chief Joanne Jaffe said.

“I think hopefully some of these cops can be role models to these kids,” Kate Cordes with NYPD Community Affairs said.

Chess in the Schools was founded in 1986.

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