Midnight chess: where beer and bishops meet


Tired of online chess? Whether you are a beginner who discovered the game by watching The Queen’s Gambit or a seasoned gamer strategizing 10 moves ahead, a nightly event (knight?) at the Brother’s Night store is here to bring you salvation. Grab an inside snack, soda or Jever, and enjoy an evening of chess looking at your opponent, not your screen.

Caught between an ice cream shop and a semi-permanent construction project near the bottom of Schönhauser Allee, nothing about this Späti will seem unique to you during the day. On the contrary, hanging out at your elevated table between a narrow strip of sidewalk and a well-used bike path is slightly off-putting. But nighttime visitors aren’t there for the vibe. Most of them are here to participate in Stranger Chess, a popular chess event open to everyone from beginner to expert. Here, seasoned players testing their strategies rub shoulders with newbies who, in addition to having a little fun, can glance around the tables to try and find tips and tricks from the chess masters.

The free event is hosted by Wolf Bōese, an avid gamer who left his house one night armed with a chess board and made it his mission to meet people. After weeks of wandering around Mitte, from Museumsinsel to Monbijoupark to Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Bōese managed to create a permanent location at Brother’s Night Shop six months ago. Very soon the number of enthusiastic players increased until one board was not enough, so Bōese decided to buy “a few” more (some nights there are up to 10 boards in action. !). Eager to join? You will find Bōese and his crew very focused every night, regardless of the weather. And on the way out, don’t forget to ask for the empty Pringles box, where grateful regulars like to leave a tip.


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