Fun and games in Moscow – an RT guide

Trying to escape stresses of the big city, Muscovites are taking inspiration from the games of their childhood. RT invites you to join in.

­Learning through playing

Moscow’s English Games and Conversation Club is not a typical tea-party but rather a games venue. Apart from other services, it offers a wide range of board games to play – they are all in English and involve a lot of talking. The idea is that twice a week for the modest fee of 50 rubles per hour anyone can come and play.

“We are making a club where people go to play, to entertain themselves and then they make their English better,” Anna Chalova, organizer of English Games and Conversation Club, told RT. “So it’s not only an educational club, it’s more of an entertainment club.”

The club was initially set up for Russians wanting to hone their English skills. Foreigners, however, come too to unwind after work or to feel more at home in Moscow.

“It’s fun. It’s in the evenings, people come here after work and they spend splendid time,” participant Stanislav Bakulinsky, told RT. “There’s a lot of laughter as you see. You just get out of here and you are happy, it’s like a small vacation every week!”

The organizers say they want to see even more foreigners to make the club a truly cosmopolitan affair.

­‘Chess Boulevard’ in central Moscow

Of course, life in a big city is not all work and no play. Apart from English board games, Moscow offers plenty of fun that you can join in, without needing perfect Russian to have a good time.

Try, for example, the universal language of chess. Every weekend throughout summer and early autumn, Moscow’s downtown boulevards turn into an arena where chess lovers battle it out. Set up six years ago, the initiative is called the Annual Moscow Chess Festival, transforming the capital’s Strastnoy Boulevard into Chess Boulevard. It is free of charge and anyone can join in. Even though it is an amateur competition, passions run high.

“The weather is great, so why not play outside,” Aleksandr Ivanov, a judge at the Annual Moscow Chess Festival, told RT. “Every year our festival is becoming more and more popular. Chess used to be big in this country – in every street people used to play and compete. And I’m very happy that this tradition is now reviving.”

­Games market in Winzavod

If you want to know what is new on the games market, head to one of the playing sessions organized by Mosigra Company – a network of board game shops.

“We offer a wide variety of board games,” Olga Tarabarina, event manager at Mosigra, told RT. “Several times a week, we organize free events across the city where people can come and try out a whole lot of them. Our team is there to help explain the rules and then people just have a good time.”

The meeting is held at Winzavod Contemporary Art Centre, where games come in Russian, English – or with no need to speak at all. If you like something, you can buy it on the spot.

“It’s more fun than playing at home,” a participant told RT. “Here, you not only try out new games but meet new people.”

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