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Chess and Checkers House, Central Park

About this listing

Offers 24 chess tables under a shady pergola open to all

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : Central Park
Parks and Gardens, Gathering Place

Place Matters Profile

For a free, friendly game of chess, regulars head to Central Park, in the area near 64th Street. Since the 1950s, the Chess and Checkers House there has hosted a socially diverse community, many of whom play every day. The space is known for its courteous character and lack of hustling, providing an alternative to the more frenetic, competitive atmosphere of chess meccas like Washington Square Park.

Players come from diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds and all ages, though many are old enough to be retired. Most of them are men. The "family" of players includes homeless men and foreign visitors, businessmen, tourists, and children. Beginners are welcome to play, and don't have to pay for their games, as they would in Washington Square ($3.00). Some have been champions in chess tournaments. Some have been playing each other for decades. The regulars are there "all the time," and some are...

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On The Web

Central Park Conservancy: Chess and Checkers House


Matthew Laufer

It's a family. Community of daily players includes people of all ages, nationalities and economic backgrounds. Some spend decades playing together, but chess continues to be the force which holds the group together.

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