USA's Top Daily Chess News Blog, Informative, Fun, and Positive

hosted by Chess Queen™ & 12th Women's World Chess Champion Alexandra Kosteniuk


Monday, March 5, 2012

How a detective makes chess help kids mend their life

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2012

Hi everyone,

We found this nice story about a police officer who has been helping kids get a hold over their life with chess. It's a commendable effort. Don't miss the story and the accompanying video. If you are doing something similar in your neighbourhood, or know someone who is making a contribution through chess, do write to us.

SEATTLE - Kentrell Anderson knows a good adversary when he's facing one. Looking across the white-and-black playing board, he sees a boy half his age.

"He's beating me, but at the same time he's teaching me," said 21-year-old Anderson, who just began learning chess
last month. He now joins a weekly chess club to improve his skills.

"Its a mind game. You gotta make every move count in chess because if you don't, its the end of the game," said Anderson.

He's sitting at a series of tables pushed together, with hands of every color flying over multiple different chess boards moving their pawns.

These two dozen gamers are not meeting at a fancy club downtown, but rather in a public library, with a notorious Rainier Valley view.

"Two people just got shot right across the street," says Detective D. "Cookie" Bouldin as she points out the window. "Another block the other way ... there was a shooting where two people were killed just two weeks ago."

Detective Bouldin is a woman many people in this neighborhood avoid at all costs. Not everyone in Seattle's Rainier Valley responds happily to the sight of a cop.

Witnessing drugs, violence, and gangs over the years compelled her to offer a positive alternative. She learned chess so that she could teach it to the kids. Some Saturday afternoons, she says she has 60 students show up to play.

Detective Bouldin coaches kids of all ages in chess strategy, gently egging them on.

"So you guys think you're gonna beat Detective Cookie this time?" she asks 5-year-old Chase, whose wary eyes indicate that he knows better.

"People told me I could easily go to a neighborhood. I refuse to go to another neighborhood; this neighborhood needs me right here," said Bouldin. "I wanted this neighborhood because there's so much violence happening right here. ... These kids need free time to just be a kid, and don't have to worry about violence, or nothing negative."

She sees a lot of real life lessons in a game of chess.

"There's consequences. Every move you make on the chess board, there's consequences. Every move you make out in real life, joining gangs, doing drugs - there's consequences," said Bouldin.

Her mentoring of Anderson is helping him consider tactics to apply to his own life. He says he's personally experienced stabbings and shootings. Now, he chooses gamers instead of gang members, as friends.

"(Chess) is a mind game, same as life," said Anderson.

But everyday life is no game to Anderson.

"I am homeless," he explains, as he itemizes the contents of his backpack: soap, deodorant, a toothbrush. He sleeps in a truck, but dreams of a better life.

Anderson frequently goes to the Rainier Beach library to educate himself, with hopes of college and a future job as a Boeing mechanic. He unzips another backpack pouch and pulls out reams of paperwork, including community college applications, his resume, and a detailed listing of Boeing mechanics' salaries.

Anderson discovered Detective Cookie's chess club while conducting his library research.

"That's what I'm doing to uplift myself - go to the library, get me some education, learn things I don't know," said Anderson. "(Chess) helps me. Keeps my mind straight and focused."

Detective Boudlin says she's received small grants from the Seattle Police Department and the Seattle Foundation, which pay for chess instructors to teach all the kids. But now, the chess club must come up with a new plan. Its funding is threatened.

This club that's helping young people, like Anderson, strategize his life to set goals, might itself suffer fatal consequences - due to lack of financial support.

Donations cam be made to Detective Cookie's Urban Youth Chess Club at the Seattle Neighborhood Group Inc., 1810 East Yesler Way, Seattle, WA 98122. The phone number is (206) 323-9666, and the website is

From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
Also see her personal blog at



Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home