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Detective Cookie's After School Chess Project

  • September 14, 2022

Selena is an aspiring youth in Detective Cookie’s pilot program that has turned from a summer experiment into a remarkable success story of intergenerational cooperation – much needed in communities across the country.

When I spoke with long time chess promoter and Seattle Police Detective Denise (aka Detective Cookie), I immediately recognized this story needs to be told.

Selina, at just 10 years old played against much older women and won the 1st prize Under 1400 rated section in the Washington Women’s Championship this September.
- Detective Cookie

Many of these young people didn’t know what to do with their time…

Now they are playing chess with seniors on a regular basis, getting to know them, and even be able to tell highlights of “their senior’s” life story in a mini presentation.

The seniors are honored and provided with an outlet to make a difference in these young people’s lives – or even learn chess from the youth already excelling at chess.

“Bringing youth and elders together weekly to play chess has been outstanding” says Denise Bouldin.

“These youth have gotten the opportunity to interact with their elders and to learn the history of many of their elders.

They both have coached each other in the game of chess. Some of the chess teens/kids are very good at chess and have given each other a tough challenge.

“Bringing youth and elders together weekly to play chess has been outstanding” 

A couple of the seniors were new to chess and it was wonderful to see the youth teaching them how to play chess.”

Key to kicking off the program were small incentives at several stages, easier than it sounds.

Several people who heard about this story were so pleased, they stepped forward with donations including chess equipment.

The Detective Cookie CHESS PARK

Opening September 2022

Seattle Police Detective Denise “Cookie” Bouldin started a chess club for Rainier Beach youth. The game served well as a metaphor for life’s important decisions. Since then, Detective Cookie’s chess club has provided a safe haven and created an opportunity for neighbors of all ages to interact and build community.

To honor Detective Cookie and to carry forth the positive momentum of her work, a group of community leaders and volunteers formed the Friends of Det. Cookie Chess Park (FDCCP) and created a permanent chess park and community gathering space. 

The small public park encourages chess play on built-in chess tables and on a giant in-ground chess board. This park is meant to be an outdoor destination for her club as well as the greater community to learn, play and observe chess together in Rainier Beach, Seattle, WA.

The mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of children and families in Rainier Beach through the game of chess.


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