As the first African American to win the Birmingham City Chess Championship, first in 1999 and again in 2000, Orrin Hudson knows how to make the winning move.
But as a former gang member in his teen and the seventh of 13 children growing up in Birmingham public housing, Hudson knows that the principles of chess — concentration, self-esteem, problem-solving skills and discipline — apply just as well to the game of life. Following these principles, Hudson became an Alabama State Trooper.
Hudson was called to action shortly after learning of a robbery that ended the lives of five employees for $2,400, realizing for evil to prevail, the only thing required is that good people do nothing. So he founded Be Someone, Inc., and a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, to share his knowledge of choosing peace instead of violence and to put brains before bullets.
Now, he teaches the youth to stop chasing after the wrong cash and go after K.A.S.H.: knowledge, Attitude, Skill and Habits.
“Make Your Next Move Your Best Move and Every Move after that,” Hudson said. “Think it out. Don’t shoot it out.”
His speeches combine high energy performance, straight talk, personal experience and passion, teaching young people the invaluable life lesson a high school teacher named James Edge passed onto him: take time to think things through.
"With his help, I began to understand life through a chessboard,” Hudson said. “He showed me that every move you make has consequences and in order to improve my game and my life, I had to make better choices. I slowly realized that I was responsible for my own success or failure.”
In the same way that chess helped Hudson develop his focus and skills, his organization’s ultimate mission is to build character, hope and inspiration so that kids can realize their full potential.
Hudson also authored One Move at a Time: How to Play and Win at Chess and Life! weaving chess strategies into 21 life lessons.
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