Chess players in Prague have their own café in Karlín

If you’ve spent a day or two in Prague, you’ll know that the city is dotted with cafes, from the small and cozy places offering good coffee and traditional Czech desserts to the luxury cafes in Prague’s historic city center usually frequented by tourists. But, increasingly clients want more than just good coffee and so some Prague coffee houses are offering a special program to go with it.  

For those looking for more than just a cup of good coffee there is a wide variety of cafes to choose from in Prague. One where you are served by a robotic arm, another where your image is printed onto the foam of your cappuccino, a café where your order arrives on a model train or one which offers a wall of roses for selfie-lovers.

Photo: Dominika Palka,  Gambit Cafe

There are several where you can play board games but there is only one coffee house in Prague reserved for lovers of chess and you will find it in the trendy district of Karlín.

Dominika Palka, who owns Gambit café, is a former professional chess player from Warsaw, Poland. Dominika had two dreams – one was to come and live in Prague, the other was to find a way to make a living somehow connected to chess.

“When I came to Prague I started working at the Řehoř Samsa Bookstore and Cafe, and I got permission to organize a small chess club there. People soon started coming over and showing an interest. So I decided to try opening a chess café of my own."

Dominika Palka found a suitable location in Karlín, word got out and the café soon became a hub for professional and amateur chess players.

Photo: Dominika Palka,  Gambit Cafe

“It is a place where anyone can come to enjoy a game of chess and it has a very special atmosphere.   Chess players of every level meet here, from total amateurs to professional players. We have regulars who come once or twice a week for a few games of chess, to relax and to chat with people who share the same passion. Friendships are made between people who are just starting out and those who have been in the chess world for a long time. We even had a chess coach who found two talented players here."

Professionals also come to Gambit Café to prepare for tournaments and to try new moves against players on their level. And chess is not all you will find. Dominika says that she’s started expanding her offer to make the café attractive to an even broader clientele.

Photo: Zdeněk Rerych,  Gambit Cafe

“We have started organizing cultural events as well. We have gallery space where young artists show their work –both Czech and foreign artists, we have poetry reading events, book trading nights and literary get-togethers.”

So even if chess is not your thing and you just happen to be passing by Gambit Café in Karlín don’t worry about feeling out of place –the coffee is great, the atmosphere is friendly, everyone is welcome and you never know, you may find you have a dormant talent waiting to be discovered.

Photo: Zdeněk Rerych,  Gambit Cafe
Authors: Daniela Lazarová , Václav Müller | Source: Český rozhlas
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