Detective Cookie’s Chess Club

“If you give youth something to do, they will come for it.” – Detective Cookie Bouldin.

The Seattle Police Foundation is a proud supporter of Detective Denise “Cookie” Bouldin’s weekly chess club, an interactive program for youth that takes place at the Rainier Beach Community Center from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Chess Club is free, and available to youth and adults age seven and older. 

The idea for the Chess Club sprang to life in 2006, as a way to provide a positive activity for youth. It began as a one-day tournament, and evolved into a thriving, inclusive program that’s had a lasting and powerful impact on youth in the Rainier Beach neighborhood and beyond. The Seattle Police Foundation helped seed this incredible legacy, supporting that pivotal tournament with supplies, trophies for winners, and food for participants. The day was a huge success, and the foundation for a reoccurring weekly program for youth was set.

Detective Cookie recognized the game’s potential right away.

Chess is a great equalizer, allowing youth of all ages and abilities the opportunity to play, build community, interact with their peers, and most of all, have fun! You don’t have to be the biggest, you don’t have to be the fastest, and you don’t have to be the strongest. You don’t even have to understand your opponent’s language. Anyone can sit down and play a game of chess.

Many of Detective Cookie’s young chess enthusiasts have developed quite a knack for the game, discovering important parallels between what happens on the chess board and what happens in real life.  

“We are bringing it to the chessboards instead of the streets,” Detective Cookie said. 

Today, SPF provides ongoing support to the weekly chess club, including funding to pay for snacks and/or lunch during chess club sessions. Additionally, funds are used to support food and transportation costs so that these young chess players can travel throughout Seattle and beyond to participate in tournaments. Detective Cookie’s Chess Club members are a force to be reckoned with in competition! In September of 2022 one of Detective Cookie’s 10-year-old students took first place in the U1400 section at the Washington Women’s Chess Championship held in north Seattle, at which 95% of the participants were adults.

Your support of the Seattle Police Foundation creates unique and lasting legacies that foster community engagement, positive interactions between police officers and community members, and priceless experiences that enrich the lives of Seattle community members. 

Detective Cookie’s Chess Club is a part of SEAPAL, a proactive, prevention-oriented strategy by the Seattle Police Department. If you have questions about Detective Cookie’s Chess Club, please contact Community Outreach Coordinator Henry Liu at: For more information about Detective Cookie’s Chess Park, visit the website.

To support this and other community outreach programs, visit our donation page

The Detective Cookie’s Chess Club is an offshoot of SPD’s Urban Youth Violence Resistance Training program, which taught a variety of lifelong skills to teens.

Detective Denise “Cookie” Bouldin facilitated anti-violence presentations on gang violence, drug prevention, peer pressure, self-esteem, leadership skills, tools for achieving academic success, and community pride. Each day of the training began with each child presenting their homework to Detective Cookie for review. Detective Cookie would also review each child’s weekly school progress report. Seattle Police Foundation funding allowed for each teen to receive a stipend for successfully completing the training. In addition to the skills learned by participants, this training was an opportunity for relationships to be built among police and teens.

Teens gave back to the community by selecting a community project — they coordinated a chess tournament at the local Rainier Vista Boys & Girls Club. Foundation funding purchased tournament supplies, trophies for winners, and food for the tournament.

Twenty kids participated in the first teen led Rainier Vista Chess Tournament. First through fifth place winners received trophies and all the kids received certificates of participation.  The chess tournament was a huge success, staff and kids requested the tournament become a recurring event!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Chess-Park-57-scaled.jpgIn September of 2022, Detective Cookie’s dedication to this community phenomenon became forever stamped on the Rainier Beach neighborhood with the grand opening of the Detective Cookie Chess Park. Fully funded by donations to the Friends of Detective Cookie Chess Park, this park features built-in chess tables and one giant-sized in-ground chess board, where all are welcome to gather and play chess. The park’s construction was completed by the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT).

Thanks to our friends at the Seattle Parks Foundation, the Friends of Detective Cookie Chess Park, and the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) for their creativity, vision, hard work, and perseverance in bringing this awesome park to fruition. This community gathering space is the culmination of over eight years of continual effort on their part, including the park’s planning, design, funding, and construction.

For more information about the Detective Cookie Chess Park, visit: Detective Cookie Chess Park. The park is located at 5025 S. Barton Place, Seattle, Washington, 98118.