Chess might be the national hobby in Russia but it is an agreed fact that it was first played in northern India. ‘Shatranj’ also has an important part in the Mahabharata.
Probably the most popular and intellectual board game in the world – chess, is one that needs a lot of concentration and presence of mind.
Now, imagine playing chess on a busy Kolkata road that is also a shopping area where there is constant yelling of street hawkers, honking of vehicles and a sea of people flooding every nook and corner of the street. Well, that is pretty much the ordeal below the Gariahat flyover, where you will find some grave looking faces competing against each other with sweat beads trickling down their foreheads as spectators await their next move.
That moment is so important for them, that the surrounding hullabaloo has zero effect on their concentration power.
When Kolkatans couple their daily dose of adda with a session of creative brain racking, what you get is some really cool fun evenings that are worth narrating to your future generations. This is a must visit scene for every chess lover in Kolkata. Not that those who aren’t interested in chess need not visit.
It is always delightful to watch such scenes where life stands still for a few moments in stark contrast to our fast-paced millennial lives.
Also, while watching, learn a little of the tricks used by the regular players. You never know when these moves might inspire you to be the next Vishwanathan Anand.
About the place
Although the games start from 11 a.m, it is only after 4pm that the crowd comes to the spot. On an average, you will find about 20-30 people calmly while away time with their chess boards sprawled out in front of them, in all its might.
Earlier, it was these street hawkers who started the trend of playing chess under the flyover. Then, Debashish Basu, an ardent lover of the board game, in 2006 decided to give it an organized form. He called some friends and known people, organized tournaments and made this place famous for chess players.
“I have been playing chess here since the year 2006, everyday, I see many people come here to gather around the chess board. Some parents even bring their children here to practice chess.” – Subir Ghosh, member of the Gariahat Chess Club.
The idea of playing this much loved board game in the open, intrigued people and that is what made people flock to this quirky chess adda.
Also, if chess doesn’t interest you, you can also play caroms here.
FIDE members, Bengal champion players like Kunal Chatterjee and Gariahat Chess Club members can also be spotted at this cool adda.
Here, you will find people from all age groups; one being an 87 year old wracking their brains about the next move.
Go ahead, checkmate, this place is welcoming to freshers and regulars alike.
Check out this video where even in the busiest of situations people are concentrating so much to give the perfect move on the chess board.