In this article I combine old and new data to provide an up to date contribution on social play in primates and, particularly, in chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes). Play behaviour is an ontogenetic trait in many mammalian species and is widely believed to have an important role in the assembly of adult behaviour. However, play may be at work also during some peculiar situations favouring cohesion and social manipulation. Here, I investigate some topics on social play. Firstly, I investigate the social mechanisms which are at the basis of the play-partner choice by exploring the “play intensity matching” hypothesis. Original data are used to examine how young chimpanzees modulate play sessions by using play signals (meta-communication). Secondly, I present data on the distribution of social play and grooming in the periods around feeding time and in a control condition, showing that play frequencies between adults and unrelated subjects are signifi cantly higher during pre-feeding. I discuss the possibility that play behaviour can be used to prevent confl ict escalation and to increase a peaceful co-feeding (pre-confl ict management). Finally, in a comparative approach, I contrast data collected on the two Pan species in order to evaluate whether, despite their phylogenetic closeness and similar social structure (fi ssion-fusion society), chimpanzees and bonobos (Pan paniscus) show diff erences in adult play behavior.