Community Rallies to Protect Chess Players

Apr 17, 2016, 9:17 AM |

Back in the days before Games + Video was a thing, many of us were forced to actually leave our basements and go to a chess club to get our gaming fix. Thirty or forty avid players would meet in a room somewhere, and play for few hours with only the sound of the chess clock to break the silence.

A group of chess players has been meeting regularly at a West Vancouver BC mall for more than fifty years to play. They've moved to different locations, and at one point even bought tables for the mall to install, but eventually wound up in the mall's Food Court.

That was until April 1st, when they were given letters threatening to have them arrested if they continued to play chess:

[Sophia] Hague's daughter, Ashley "Chess Girl" Tapp, started learning the game from Park Royal regulars when she was eight.

She's competed at the World Youth Chess Championships and promoted chess for girls, but if not for the Park Royal players she might never have learned the game, according to Hague.

"You have to sit at a board and not at a computer," Hague said. "It's the only place and only people in the city that welcomed her."

After much back and forth, including an appeal by the Mayor of West Vancouver, the mall has refused to budge. The mall then offered them $500 to go away.

Now the chess players have defied the Mall, and have returned. One local church is promising a "gentle protest" to support the players, while others have set up the usual petition.

Damn! I always knew that playing chess was cool!



This is not my writting!

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