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Chess Players Ticketed For Using Park Tables

Cops Moved In Wearing Bullet-proof Vests, Stunning Onlookers

NEW YORK (1010 WINS/CBS 2) — There are thousands of chess tables in New York City parks and it turns out that playing on them can be illegal depending on where they are.

This is what a group of seven Upper Manhattan men learned last month.

It appears that the Inwood Hill Seven have become pawns after being issued summonses for playing chess in the neighborhood park.

1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan reports

The issue is the stone chess tables are in the Emerson Playground which has a warning sign stating “No Adults Without Children.”

Juan Torres and his friends have been playing chess at the tables for years. “Some of us are chess masters,” he said. “Saturdays and Sundays there are about 20 players here and we never have any complaint.”

On Oct 20. police busted up their chess game, storming in with bullet-proof vests, handing the seven players each a ticket for disobeying the park rules.

“Some of us got very outraged because there are so many things; there are a lot of assaults and robberies around and instead of checking them they’re checking this,” Torres said.

Some parents and residents who use the park are mounting a vigorous defense saying that the men teach neighborhood kids how to play the game.

“If they’re in there teaching a child to play chess aren’t they accompanied by a child?” one man told 1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan.

“That’s ridiculous, it’s chess, it’s educational, give me a break,” one woman said. “They need better things to do with their time.”

“I think the cops should fight real crime,” one man said.

Some parents are blaming the city for creating this situation by putting the chess tables inside a playground.

“Parents don’t use those chess tables, they’re watching their children so it just doesn’t make sense to have them in there,” Jill Ashley, an Inwood resident, told CBS 2 HD.

“We always thoguht it was kind of odd that they had the setup like that where men without children were hanging out in a playground,” Justin Ashley said.

CBS 2 reports some of the chess players are homeless and some parents said they’ve seen them nap in the park and bathe in the water fountain.

“It’s hard to tell who they are sitting in that playground,” Keith Ludwiczak, an Inwood resident, said. “Are they chess players or are they someone waiting for children?”

The 34th precinct commander told DNAInfo, a local blog, that he defends the tickets because the law is the law and the Parks Department defends its placement of the chess tables.

The men are due in court on Dec. 28.

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One Comment

  1. HARELM GOING H.A.M. says:


  2. Silver Bullet says:

    Yes, old men playing chess are a threat to our society and life as we know it. Whoever is complaining about this ‘problem’ should be tested for mental competence and in the event they have children, CPS should remove their children until their sanity is verified.
    In the meantime, the old guys should just keep on playing chess.

  3. Angel Elf says:

    This is just a case of discrimination against single or married people that don’t have children. My taxes pay for these parks but I am prohibited from using them just because I have no children. Why not partition the parks? Have a section for adults where children are not allowed? This law should be struck down.

  4. grown man says:

    Keith Ludwiczak, You are an idiot!

  5. beth says:

    “No Adults Without Children.”

    I cannot believe we have allowed this to happen. We need to find our voices again, New Yorkers!!!!

  6. Larry Smith says:

    Land of the free? LMAO. America is a corporate police state.

  7. John Curtis says:

    These harmless chessplayers were there to play chess.
    There were tables provided for them to play chess.
    They are not child molesters or common criminals.
    Some are poor and they integrate socially in their chess hubs in parks from all over the world. The motif may be to get the poor old men out of the park.
    Our children are a lot safer with decent chessplayers in the park!
    This same scenarion occurs in cities all over the world.
    We have just been through a WORLD WIDE RECESSION. Some homeleess and some poor men NEED to play chess and socially interact not be treated like common criminals.
    In Sydney Australias Hyde Park following the Depression of 1930’s council erected rainproof open huts and stone chesstables so homeless men could congregate and ‘dso something useful’ because there WERE NO Jobs.

    Have things changed so much you can persecute these poor old boys???
    Yes! These men are essentially just boys themselves playing in their own chess playground and society should remember that we would rather them be occupying their time as honored elderly citizenry than being Harrassed by civil officers abusing their positions on CHEAP TARGETS!!!!!

    John Curtis

  8. otto says:

    This is sad. Pathetic actually. The cops really needed to “storm in wearing bullet proof vests” to ticket chess players … ??? Maybe they should have tazed them too … chess players are notorious troublemakers … once those bishops & rooks start flying, watch out !!

  9. Darius Gaillard says:

    This has got to be on “Saturday Night Live”but who would believe it?
    Idiotic to be sure.

  10. sk says:

    this is the craisiest law have ever heard in a puiblic park. Whats wrong adults playing chess in a playgorund? Many times its the wild kids that cause trouble in the park. Why don’t we kick them out? Chess is a very educational game that kids can learn a lot from. It stimulates the mind. There needs to be more of an explanation for this law b/c it doesn’t make any sence.

  11. Ron says:

    Get these low lifes out of the park and away from the kids. The sign says no unsupervised adults in the park – what is the problem? The story says these bums are homeless and taking showers in the fountain and sleeping in the park. I wish the police did this in more parks so our kids don’t have to see the low lifes hanging around. Homeless men hang out in parks around my neighborhood too and it is such a shame that they are in nice neighborhoods doing this. Go to a shelter or get a job, don’t disturb the lives of people who actually work for a living.

    1. Angel Elf says:

      I am not a bum but a married person without children. Yet I cannot use the parks that my taxes pay for.

    2. Roger says:

      why is being homeless shamefull? have you ever sat with a homeless person and had a decent conversation with one? i have, its pretty interesting. theyve been through a lot, seen a lot, and its interesting to hear how they became homeless. go to a shelter or get a job? its really hard to get a job if you dont have a home address, or clothes to wear to the job. and a shelter will only provide you with a place to sleep at night, during the day you have to clear out. i think having homeless people in your park isnt something to be scared about, but rather an eye-opener to children, to show them that anything is possible to anyone. that they have to try hard and apply themselves the best they can or else they too may end up in such a struggle. you ron, seem to be a very ignorant person to think the way you do

  12. Kimmmy says:

    Who sanctioned this??? Which moron??

    Sounds like used their influence to have these gentlemen taken in.

    Reminds me of the a$$ hole who called police when kind were selling cupcakes without a permit.
    If you don’t have a child, you aren’t allowed to enjoy the park?
    Where as the sign posted? Why was the sign posted?
    When did NYC become occupied by nazi s?????

    What an outrage. I hope these gentlemen sue.

  13. Devenio says:

    How does the law allow discrimination in public parks? A childless person can’t enjoy the park? What has become of this NYC?

  14. mike debo says:

    Form what the article says- i have never seen or heard of this part- but there is apparently a sign that says- NO ADULTS ALLOWED WITHOUT CHILDREN. (aka making it easy to spot a roaming predator in a park full of kids.) That leads me to believe, these people who played chess there, are COMPLETE MORONS. Read the friggin sign. Idiots. Case closed.

  15. Johnny says:

    Sounds like a law Chuck Schumer would write.

  16. AbeS says:

    Can we stop conditioning men to fear children? Since when did adult males become a class of people regarded as child molesters guilty until proven innocent? To those concerned with the background of men playing chess in the park, yes, it only takes one slip up on your part, the parent, but it also takes one kidnapper/pederast. Parents need to protect their children by being present and aware, not by excluding others from being in the vicinity of their children. This is absurd.

    1. JR says:

      So our constitution allows us to ban childless people from PUBLIC parks? Who else can we ban: Old people, Gay people Black people maybe?
      I’m sure the cops were just doing there jobs like Good Germans.

      1. Adolf says:

        i happen to be german and would throw your racist butt in the oven

  17. A pal says:

    We should encourage these people to be off the street.
    Seems like NYPD did not have enough to do that day.
    Shame on you,NYPD.

    1. Keith Ludwiczak says:

      While many of the comments are correct about enforcement and how playing chess keeps people off the street, however a childrens playground is not a place that grown men should gather. Chess is a portable game, and can be played in many other places. The law is for the safety of the children, period!!!The police do a great job, and part of their job is to protect children from predators. It only takes one time, one mistake, one predator and a child is taken. Do any of you who believe that grown men should play in a childs playground know who the palyers are, and their backgrounds. A society must protect those who are the most vulnerable adn who need the most protection, CHILDREN.

      A concerned father


      1. Roger says:

        so your saying that we should not let people without children in the park because there is a POSSIBILITY that he is a predator? is it not possible for a father at the playground with his son, to be a predator? maybe he doesnt molest his son, but maybe other children? if a man went to a park with 1 child, would you notice him among the rest? if he left with 2, would you think twice of it? probably not. if you even noticed him leave, the thought running through you mind would probably be ‘oh that man is leaving with his 2 sons. or his son and his sons friend’

        how do we know that you KJL, are not a predator, and you want these other men out of the park because you feel threatened by the possibility of another predator in your hunting area. like a lion being threatened by another lion in its own hunting grounds. hm?

  18. kayaker says:

    The only thing more idiotic than the police action itself was the robotic defense of it.. It would have been far better if the Precinct Commander had just kept his mouth shut (“No comment”) instead of compounding this bit of apparently incredible administrative stupidity with his, “the law is the law” defense of it.

  19. Ralph Whiggham says:

    NYC is a Land of Poorly Written Laws, Randomly Enforced.

    (an old FRANK ZAPPA quote of America instead of NYC).

  20. Steve M. says:

    I guess all the real crime has been solved…

  21. mj says:

    the nypd is out of control ALWAYS over reacting. evey day we get closer to a complete police state and people support this . its scarey . if you can’t see that something is wrong with this you’re hopeless

    1. John Mac says:

      Is this how NYC is going to fix the budget? Shame on NYPD

  22. kds562 says:

    I guess those cops don’t play chess or they would know it is a non-violent activity
    and educational too. The cops need some commonsense education.

  23. C.J. says:

    I guess the police was trying to meet their quotas

  24. Scott says:

    I bet they wouldn’t be so fast to defend the men when one of there kids get assaulted or kidnaped. That’s what the laws or intended to prevent.

  25. Bishop Dubois says:

    The Peoples Republik of NYC is alive and well, a liberal nightmare of idiocy and political correctness.

  26. 2gruesome2b says:

    it appears we have become a nation of “inspector javerts”, mindless adhering to the letter of the law, rather than its spirit. in my humble opinion, this is the logical consequence of liberal thinking, portraying themselves as the self-annointed elite, who alone know what is best for everyone else.

    1. KPMc says:

      Are you sure you know what humble means?

Comments are closed.

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