Upgrade to Chess.com Premium!

My Visit to the Washington Square Park Chess Scene!

  • erik
  • | Oct 31, 2007 at 1:05 PM
  • | Posted in: erik's Blog
  • | 10241 reads
  • | 18 comments

My wife and I have been planning a much-needed vacation together without the kids, so we decided to visit New York City this last week while my parents watched the little ones. And, what trip would be complete without a visit to famous Washington Square park to play chess with the gentlemen (and husslers!)? So off we went! I brought some cash, and she brought a book and the camera.

I have to admit - I was really intimidated. I felt like I was walking into a tiger's den. I mean, these guys sit and play chess ALL DAY! I was very nervous. Anyway, I sat down first with one guy who was blasting some pleasant jazz music. He said "I don't gamble, so games are $5 for 2 games." Fine with me! I was just there for the experience. He set the clock and off we went. Surprisingly, he didn't start picking me apart tactically like I thought might happen. It was a more closed position (which I like). Pretty soon I was squeezing him. Then I was grabbing pawns. And much to my surprise, I won!! Then we played again with the same result!?! He was really upset and asked me about my rating, which I disclosed is about 1500 USCF (or something like that - I'm not sure). He said $5 for 2 more games which I was happy to oblige (these guys need the cash more than I do...). In the third game we had a bloody battle attacking opposite sides and his reached me first, giving him the win. The fourth game he crumbled, gave me his queen, and then stomped off blaming the losses on distractions and lack of coffee. So I moved over to another table.

The next guy was SO much nicer. But that didn't help his chess. I gave him a solid beating in the first game (which were all at 5|0 time controls). Then in the second I was up by 2 pawns and massive crushing attack when I suddenly sacrificed my knight in a tragic almost-brilliancy... until I remembered that rooks can move sideways and my advantage disappeared and I came undone and lost.

I moved on to the best player who was there that day (admittedly it was a smaller crowd - only about 8 people playing and none of the best guys were there). Game 1 with the new guy (still at $5 per 2 games) was a tough battle where he was losing, then swindled me, and then I re-swindled him with a clever perpetual check sequence to save the game with a draw. But in the next 2 games I just destroyed him.

Overall, I was happy with my 6.5/9 performance, but I was also a little sad that I had come in and busted these guys up on their own turf, and was disappointed that I didn't get the beating I was hoping for (I actually like to lose against stronger players). So while Washington Square Park is still a legend in my mind, it isn't the impenetrable fortress of chess prowess I thought it was. Hopefully next time some of the power players will be around to crush me like the patzer I am!

Click here for the pictures!


Comments


  • 7 years ago

    Lord-Svenstikov

    My family and I are going to New York this summer. Is this park worth seeing (bearing in mind that I will have to drag 3 non-chess players along if I want to see it)?

    While I'm at it, can anyone recommend anything else in the New York area that we could visit?


  • 8 years ago

    sk8erkid

    ya
  • 8 years ago

    charles797

    sounds rather intresting not that i would play them
  • 8 years ago

    chessiq

    Interesting. Thanks for the info.
  • 8 years ago

    shadowc

    Like bucks for entertainment... mmm.. That remainds me of something... lol
  • 8 years ago

    erik

    it means i pay $5 to the guy i play with, but he keeps it no matter what the outcome is.
  • 8 years ago

    chessiq

    Thanks for sharing.

    BTW, what does "I don't gamble..." but "... 2 games for $5" mean? who do you pay/give the $5?

    Thx. 


  • 8 years ago

    Kevin

    In NFL football, home field advantage moves the line by +/-3 points.  I wonder how much of an advantage it is to play on your home turf in chess... or at a minimum, on your home board... especially the ones where the bishops and pawns look similar.
  • 8 years ago

    erik

    wow! thanks for sharing that DeepNF3!!
  • 8 years ago

    kaspariano

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 8 years ago

    shadowc

    Nice... Man I've been there and never payed attention to those guys... Those were times off chess I think...
  • 8 years ago

    Don1

    maybe these guys should get out of the park now and then & get on chess.com!
  • 8 years ago

    jay

    Good times! Definitely my favorite activity each time I visit NYC. Both times I've been there I've seen several masters and lots of people above 1900. But glad you put on a good show for chess.com.
  • 8 years ago

    littleman

    hahahaha maybe being on this site has improved u more then u thought or maybe its a case of peoples ideas that proved to be wrong. well presented mate and well done on your wins.... Cool
  • 8 years ago

    likesforests

    How unexpected! I always imagined the players there would be stronger than that... must be from all the movies... but congraulations on your victory.


  • 8 years ago

    Patzer24

    haha, nice description of your experience at Washington Square Park. Quite interesting!

     

    I think all the Chess.com staff should take a trip out there equipped with their Chess.com gear and crazy blitz skills to become "chess husslers" for the day to bring in some pocket change for the Chess.com site  Laughing


Back to Top

Post your reply: