According to Chess.com, “President Gerald Ford set October 9th, 1976 aside as a day ‘To give special recognition to a game that generates challenge, intellectual stimulation, and enjoyment for citizens of all ages.’ ”
Well, if Gerald Ford declared it, who’re we to deny him? I say, GO FORTH and PLAY CHESS! OUTSIDE! That’s right. Outside. There’re some really prime spots to play chess in the DC area. One of the biggest, fiercest, and busiest places to engage is right in Dupont Circle. Along the southeast side, there’re multiple tables set up with chess boards, and multiple regulars who’ll teach you to play for cold, hard cash. Even if you don’t end up playing, it’s good to watch and see what’s happening.
There’s also the Potbelly’s in Downtown Silver Spring, which is usually a pretty hopping place. Not as many chess regulars, but less intimidating and very welcoming. Also, Potbelly’s is right there. It’s practically an engraved invitation to while your afternoon away, mastering the art of chess while noshing on a hot sandwich.
If you’re looking for someplace to pick up a stress-free board, mat, or set of pieces wander down to Eastern Market and Labyrinth Games Store. They’ve got a pretty good selection of chess paraphanelia, and if they haven’t got what you’re looking for, they can order it.