Playing Chess in New York City

You may think that playing chess is something only elder people are good at. Well, you should change your mind about it. In October 2017, the best-rated chess players in the world are:

  • Magnus Carlsem, 27, from Norway
  • Levon Aronian, 35, from Armenia
  • Maxim Vachier-Lagrave, 26, from France

This proves that chess is a game in which your ability is much more important than your age (really, the more experienced you are, the better you are at playing!), and it can bring together very different people (for their age, culture or social background), who can enjoy themselves and improve their skills literally everywhere in the world.

Probably, in the next years, chess is going to better involve the youngest, since online playing offers always new opponents to play against, every time of the day (and night). You easily get passionate about chess, and there is no age limit for playing. Simply, the more you play, the better you get at doing it.

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Chess Playing for the Non-Digital People

Online playing is surely very convenient, you are not meant to be anywhere in particular: an internet connection is enough to let you enter as many games as you wish. But what if you feel like having an “old style”, analogic game?

Well, there are a lot of places where you can meet people and play chess with them, especially if you are in New York. One of the most famous places is in the Village, more precisely in Washington Square Park. Here chess is a culture and, in this area (the so-called “Chess District”), you will find several chess shops, including Village Chess Shop, the oldest in NYC.

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Playing Chess in Washington Square Park

There is a corner in Washington Square Park where you can find chess tables waiting for people to gather and play. One a match starts; usually people stop and watch it. This creates a lively, exciting situation for the players at the table. Probably you have seen this New York corner in a 1994 film, searching for Bobby Fischer.

Playing and having fun is only a part of the deal in Washington Square Part since here you will find people offering you to play for money: usually, it is a 5$ for a 2-games match, no matter who the winner is going to be. But it can also be more expensive, depending on player’s experience. Let’s consider it like a sort of chess lesson in the park.
Gambling is quite usual as well here, and you will find people making their living at the chess tables, bringing their own boards and offering to play chess matches with people passing by.

Beware of Hustlers!

There is only one thing you should beware: hustlers. Playing sidewalk chess for money is their main job, and inexperienced – and unfocused – players are such an easy prey for them to win: you will get hustled without even realizing it, and you will lose your money in no time at all.

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