Back to Drawing Board -- Bryant Park NYC

Back to Drawing Board -- Bryant Park NYC

Jul 17, 2014, 5:29 PM |

On June 16, 2014 I visited a popular chess hangout in the heart of New York City called Bryant Park. 

Chess activities at Bryant Park are monitored by NYC Parks & Recreation and the Marshall Chess Club.  No chess hustlers or gambling allowed. Just friendly, witty players looking for a clean competitive fun. 

I gave myself the challenge of playing stronger opponents over the board to improve my game. Playing face to face is so much more rewarding than my usual correspondence games.

I knew these guys would be sharp, so my strategy was to attack early and create complications in hopes that my opponents would blunder. I was determined to do so, even if that meant ignoring basic principles, like castling early and developing pieces in the opening.

Such bold and aggressive methods worked well in previous matches.  I am not afraid to take risks and lay everything on the line for a chance at winnning.  And most days I am tactically sharp enough to pull it off.

But...I quickly found out this doesn't work against battle tested opponents. My wild attacks raised mummers and eyebrows! 

"Maybe this kid knows something?!", I could feel the onlookers wonder to themselves. 

My opponents wobbled, but alas, they did not fall.  They regrouped and counterattacked, quickly exposing the errors in my process. 

One such opponent was Ian Wilkerson, President of the Jamaica Chess Federation and National Representative to FIDE.  We met by pure chance of passing through Bryant Park at the same time.  (I did not know who he was until after he defeated.)  But he was a very kind gentleman, and he encouraged the annotation of our game.  I've included it below some brief analysis.


I played six games at Bryant Park over a two week period. 

After four tough losses, I readjusted my approach. 

I slowed down, developed more thoroughly, and orchestrated stronger attacks without creating unneccesary weaknesses. 

On my fifth game, I earned a draw.

And then, finally, it happened -- I won.