Chess enthusiasts no longer welcome at Park Royal

A chess board. Matt King/Getty Images

Local chess enthusiasts have gathered at Park Royal mall in West Vancouver for 50 years, but in a recent letter from the mall administration, they’ve been told they’re no longer welcome.

Chess player John Fodor says he thinks they’re no longer allowed to use the food court because of a recent cost-benefit analysis, something he says he doesn’t understand.

“I find it hard to believe since we are all patrons here, and most of the time the food court is empty,” he said. “If I saw someone walking around with a tray, I would get up instantly and ask them to sit down.”

Park Royal has offered a one time donation of $500 for them to find a new space to play, but Fodor says they don’t want to rent a room, they want to stay at the mall.

“I feel sad because I love playing chess here,” said Fodor. “So many people have come up to us and asked for a pick up game. We meet people that way, we connect with people that way.”

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If the group refuses to comply, the mall has said they will contact the West Vancouver Police Department.

This weekend, a chess “flash mob” has been arranged for Saturday at 1pm at Park Royal.

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