April 23, 2015
The Calgary Public Library says a giant chessboard available at its downtown central branch has seen a warm reception since it was introduced in October 2014 – and it’s doing more than building a love for the game.
Gerry Burger-Martindale, senior manager of the central library branch, said staff members have been delighted with the uptake and note while the majority of players are men, the game of chess is helping to create a stronger community, overall.
“You see all sorts of demographics playing each other,” Burger-Martindale said, noting when people are playing on the big board, it does attract spectators.
The popularity has been “way beyond our expectations,” she added.
In the past, Burger-Martindale said patrons would line up at the front door in the mornings and rush in to be the first to get on the library computers, but since the giant chessboard was introduced, that’s changed.
“In the winter, people were running in to get at the chess set to be the ones to use it, first thing,” she said.
On Thursday, while the large chessboard was idle, some were engaged in games on the library’s smaller chess sets, and player Frank Litorco said his experience has been “absolutely fantastic.”
“I think it’s a great way to gather the community,” he said, after making a move.
“It’s a community of people who are passionate about chess from all walks of life, regardless of income, whether you’re an immigrant or if you’ve lived here for a very long time,” he added.
Although he’s only been playing chess for roughly a year, the community at the central library has allowed him to gain more experience competing with long-time players.
“For people that haven’t had an opportunity to play against other people, it’s a great thing.”
From: Metro News