Chess in the Park, Denver

Looking for an al fresco chess spot in Denver, Colorado?  Then come to the 16th Street Mall, between Arapahoe Street and Curtis Street.  Artists Doug Eichelberger and Susan Wick  created this group of tables with two ceramic tiled chess boards separated by a mosaic sculpture. It’s a great spot to find a pick up game and do some people watching.


Finding Pickup Games


In public places where folks gatherer you can sometimes find games to play. In parks, pubs, cafes, and clubs there is the opportunity to find people to play with. These causal games are sometimes called pick up games. But even when surrounded by people playing ,asking someone you do not know to play can be very intimidating. So here are some tips to help you encourage folks to play a game with you.

When approaching a game in progress look for protocol or rituals that may be happening during the game. For example in some places with a coin operated pool table, the person who wants to play next puts the coins for the next game on the rail. Are new players replacing the ones that lost or is this more like a game between old friends. You may also want to look for any house rules that are in play. Finding out what the social rules gives you a better chance of being invited to play

When going to a place where there are regular games bringing your own equipment helps. With your own game equipment you no longer have to wait for for other players to finish before start to play. Having your own equipment also telegraphs that you are interested in playing not just watching. In some circles the person who owns the equipment has the option to invite or refuse games. Having your own equipment when looking for games provides more opportunities to play.

When there is no one around you is playing all is not lost. Then it is time to practice to the fine art of fishing for a game. Fishing for a game is technique for encouraging other people to join you for a game.

To fish for a game you need to pick the right spot. Look for a place where it is alright to hang out. This place should have a good flow of people who may be interested in playing a game. Cafes with book shelves of games and parks where you have seen people playing in the past are good bets. I have even had good luck playing Xiangqi in some of the Chinese food restaurants around where I live. When fishing for a game success often depends on the proper location.

Now that you have picked your spot it is time go fishing. Set up your game where the people around you can see. While you are waiting do something fun like people watch, read, or maybe work out a position on your game board. When someone shows an interest in your game ask them if they know how to play. If they do invite them to, if not offer to teach them.

Playing a pick up game with someone you just meet can be a lot of fun. So keep these tips in mind and give to a try.