ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – It’s a game that’s easy to learn, but hard to master. Chess is a time-honored game that tests even the brightest among us.  And on Friday, the worlds of chess and hip-hop, came together in Albuquerque.

On Friday, the Mortal Kombat rapid chess tournament was held at the Albuquerque Institute for Mathematics and Science, in partnership with Wu-Tang Management. Competitors of all ages participated for cash prizes all in preparation for a state tournament on the scholastic level.

“We have something that keeps kids from getting into anything that might not get them further. You can’t expect to save everyone or do something that’s above and beyond. But what you can do is participate, give kids things to do,” said Sage Badweather, with sponsor Wu-Tang Management.

As players moved rooks, knights and queens, a member of rap royalty came to inspire and cheer them on. “Children are the future, like Whitney Houston would say, I believe that children are the future, teach them well and let them lead the way,” said Cappadonna of Wu-Tang Clan.

Leading the way one square at a time. “If you’re thinking about it, whenever you’re young, get into it whenever you’re done. Don’t wait until you’re older,” said Miles Casillas, age 10.

The state NMAA scholastic tournament will take place in February 2024. for a chance to move on to the nationals.