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Alex TenBarge
Jul 1, 2018

Day 26: An Evening Downtown

1 comment

Edited: Jul 1, 2018




I met my Dad and Sister in Soho for dinner on this warm Friday afternoon. As I longboarded from Midtown to SoHo, I passed Washington Square Park. I have NEVER been to Washington Square Park but I’ve always wanted to go. Partially for the scenery, partially for the fountain, but mainly for the Chess. As you may or may not know, I love to play Chess. I play it multiple times throughout my day, when I wake up, when I fall asleep, and all in between. Online, I have always seen videos of Chess hustlers at Washington Square Park playing fast blitz games for money. I know they’re pretty good because if not they wouldn’t be there. I knew I had to play one. As I arrived at the park I looked around for the famous chess tables. I went from north to south then east to west. I finally found them on the southwest corner of the park. I watch a couple of games and observe the aggressive and fast Chess Hustlers. 5 minute games are wagered at $5 and anything beyond that time limit is wagered at $10 or up. I ask the man for game and he accepts and also mutters some incoherent words. I sit down and he sets the clock for 5 minutes. We start the game fast, moving pieces every other second. All I could hear was the sound of the pieces hitting the board and the sound of our hands hitting the clock. Throughout the game he kept commenting on how it was going and what he was going to do. At one point I made a more complex move and he was quite impressed by it saying “Ooh ok you wanna play like that” I just laughed and we continued. He took a piece and was technically up in the game. As the end game came he blundered and I took a piece back taking the upper hand. After a couple of moves he resigned and aggressively asked what my chess rating was. I told him 1500 (an average score) and he didn’t believe me. I insisted that my score was 1500 and he told me to stop lying. I didn’t know what to say because that actually is my score, so I showed him my chess app where it stated my score. He still didn’t believe me! He asks to play again and I reluctantly agree. We go through the beginning game fast, creating our initial positions in under 30 seconds. Now, we both take our time thinking about how our next moves will affect the rest of the game. We trade pieces at almost every opportunity, leaving just our Kings, some pawns, and a rook each. As the clock went down we started to move faster and faster. I felt less nervous than I did when I started. All of a sudden a set of moves were available that left me up not only a pawn but a rook too. After initiating it, he realized what it would lead to. Only a couple of moves later, he resigned and became a bit nicer to me. I was so ecstatic about beating a hustler that I told him to keep his money. I thanked him for the games and went on to dinner.


Dinner was phenomenal. We went to a place I used to go to as a kid and we had some pleasant family time. Thank you Dad and Emma!







Joe Zoyhofski
Jul 1, 2018

I can’t believe you’ve never been to Washington Sq. Park before! That was the first place I ever went in Manhattan, actually with my Urban Plunge group. Glad you had fun lol

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