West Philly’s Clark Park is known by those in the city’s thriving chess community as an egalitarian place where players of all skills gather. On this sunny spring day, its 10 tables are filled to capacity while others stand watch, waiting their turn as the sound of bongos and a flute drift softly through the air. Paul Bady (front left) is a regular at the park. “They call me MateMaster, because I mate people," he says. “I like chess because of the richness of it: It’s a game, but it’s a game within a game. It’s more than just moving the pieces — it’s 50 percent psychological. And there’s so much preparation that goes into it. Chess is probably an objective and universal standard like algebra, math, or calculus — it only gives back what you give out. That’s what I love about it. It doesn’t care about your race or color. If you put chess first, it will make you more knowledgeable about the game, but if you don’t study, you just stay where you are.”