words and pictures by Susan Fried
On Tuesday, May 22 at Van Asselt Elementary School, ten kids under 12 schooled seven Seattle Police Officers in the 2nd annual Detective “Cookie” Bouldin’s Urban Youth Chess Club “Kids vs. Cops” Chess Rumble Tournament. To be fair, several of the officers were new to the game or had very little experience, while some of their competitors had been playing for almost a third of their lives. Of course, that is because the kids started when they were four or five and now they are between six and eleven years old.
The competitors faced off across chess boards made from recycled scrap wood. The boards were fabricated by some of the inmates at Stafford Creek Prison who donated 20 boards to the Chess Club a few years ago and included a “What if…” story with each one to encourage the kids to work hard in school and make good choices in life. Over the 11-year history of Detective “Cookie” Bouldin’s brainchild, hundreds of kids have learned to play chess, made new friends, and become part of a community.
The chess “rumble” with the police officers provides an opportunity for the kids and community to have a positive interaction with law enforcement, and despite the fact that the kids took no mercy on the Seattle Police Officers, winning 35 out of the 40 matches, everyone had a good time.
Trophies were awarded for 1st through 6th Place with the 6th place trophy going to the only Seattle Police officer who won two games. All the other trophies went home with the kids.
The cops vowed to return the next year a little better prepared.