Street Chess in the Middle of a Mall!
Only a chess lover would know what the yelling at a street chess board truly means! We found this interesting anecdote in an article on the Wollongong Crown Street Mall chessboard by Justin Huntsdale.
|Dapto's Oscar Murtzin visits the iconic Crown Street Mall chess board for a game several times per week. (Justin Huntsdale - ABC local)|
It looks like a serious and exclusive mens-only club, but you'll be pleased to see it's not all black and white when you meet one of the regular characters around the Crown Street Mall's mysterious giant chess board.
If you walk through Wollongong's Crown Street Mall on just about any given day, you've probably seen the serious business of men playing a giant game of chess. There are also a number of chairs and tables where other groups play cards.
Each morning a trolley of chess pieces and cardboard (to sit on) gets wheeled out from under the Mall's amphitheatre for a day's play. Men stand around in the brisk winter morning air with their fists tucked into their jackets, carefully watching a game of chess transpire. As the day moves on, and particularly during popular times on weekends things get a bit rowdy as a chess game hots up.
One day it got so rowdy the barber whose shop backs on to the chess board said he'd call the police if the yelling continued. The group is full of different nationalities, and most are retirees who meet to keep their brains active, enjoy a social outing and to get some fresh air.
I thought it was an exclusive club that never wanted to be disturbed. But then I met Oscar Murtzin from Dapto, who was only too happy to talk about his favourite hobby. "I like to meet the people here, I join a couple of games of chess and the time passes very quickly too," he said.
"Nearly every second day I'd come here - I come to the mall because I have something to get but I do it quickly so I can come back here."
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