64 fields, 32 figures and two colors: black and white. A Späti invites you to play chess in Berlin – at least since the Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit” the mental sport has become hip again. Wolf Bōese (38) sits almost every day and in all weathers in front of the store in Prenzlauer Berg, which at first glance seems ordinary, and plays chess with strangers.

His fellow players come from very different backgrounds: young people, street newspaper vendors and tourists. For him, “joint discovery and play” is the focus, Bōese tells the German Press Agency, while he unfolds four chess boards he has brought with him on the two beer tables.

For the last two months, Bōese can be found regularly in front of the Späti on Schönhauser Allee from 7 p.m. “From seven is reserved,” he says. Meanwhile he places knights, pawns, rooks and queens on the squares.

The idea came up during the pandemic

Gatherings of people in front of Spätis tend to have a negative reputation in Berlin. But according to Bōese, there have been no complaints from local residents so far. This is probably due to the fact that people who play chess usually drink less beer and are quieter.

Bōese originally comes from a small town in Brandenburg. 13 years ago he moved to Berlin. He works in the capital as a freelance digital designer and, due to his job, spends a lot of time in front of the computer. “I think every minute we’re not in front of the screen isn’t bad.”

The idea for the chess events came to him during the corona pandemic and the isolation associated with it. Bōese started walking and asking strangers to play chess with him. The name for his events, Stranger Chess, was born. And the idea did not go unnoticed: at the beginning of the year, the magazine “Exberliner” looked at the chess game in front of the late night bar with the title “Where beer and bishops meet”.