Park Royal mall owners relent on chess playing ban

The mall did a complete reversal less than one month after management sent out a missive that threatened loitering chess players with arrest


Chess players at Park Royal Mall | Paul McGrath

After an ill-fated attempt at exile, Park Royal welcomed back kings and queens and the chess players who command them last Sunday.

The mall did a complete reversal less than one month after management sent out a missive that threatened loitering chess players with arrest. The loosely affiliated rook club will now play their games at an exclusive spot on the second floor of Park Royal South. The new space constitutes a “win-win,” according to Sentinel Hill resident George Ingham, who has played chess at Park Royal for half a century. “It’s not a case of having a war, it’s a case of having some peace.”

While he reprimanded the Park Royal letter writer, Ingham said he also tried to kaibosh two food court protests because he didn’t want to hurt Park Royal. “Once you destroy something you can’t get it back,” he said.

The chess boardroom will be able to accommodate 28 players, according to a release from Park Royal.

Ingham said he’s hopeful the spot can handle the group’s swelling membership. At least 15 new players have shown up in recent weeks with chess boards in hand.

“We don’t know whether we doubled our numbers now or not,” Ingham said. “We’re quite happy to have everybody there.”

The mall’s about-face is great news, according to frequent chess player Terry Fellows, who contributed to the joint press release issued by Park Royal. “This is about more than playing a game, it’s about a location to socialize and build community amongst friends, new and old,” he stated.

Management at Park Royal agreed. “We are pleased to have reached an agreement that will see chess continue to be played at Park Royal,” stated mall vice-president Rick Amantea in the release.

A community chess event is set for later this year.

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