Dozens Play Chess in Public to Defy SF Crackdown
Making legal things illegal is always an excuse among liberals.
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At least for an afternoon, the chess players were back at the usual spot they’ve occupied for years along downtown San Francisco’s busy Market Street.
But instead of hustling a dollar here and a dollar there with deft openings and clever traps, the mostly homeless players and their supporters were playing Sunday in defiance of a recent police crackdown and ban on the public games. And they were backed by a brass band and several homeless advocates who helped organize the three-hour “chess-in” under bright, blue skies on a hot San Francisco afternoon.
Earlier this month, police confiscated chess gear, tables and chairs at the site.
Police said the games had begun to attract illegal gambling and drug sales to the area adjacent to a cable car terminal, which is a popular tourist destination. Nearby merchants had also complained about an increase in illegal activity.
“We don’t mind the chess players and would like to have them back,” said Cody Hunt, manager of an electronics store in front of which the games were played. “But lately, the games have attracted loud dice games and open drug deals, and nobody needs that.”