Street chess in SF

If you ever go to the intersection of Market str. & 5th str. then you will definitely see this:

At first I thought this was just a way to spend some free time and socialize with others, but I was told that if I wanted to play the cost was about $2 per game. I know the rules of chess, but I cannot even remember the last time I actually tried to play. In any case, I was excited to try it out, and gave it a shot. My opponent was really fast; I must have seemed half asleep to him. At some point in the game I thought he could plan five moves ahead while I could barely plan my next one. The result? He beat me in five minutes without even sweating. In fact, I probably wasted his time as an opponent. As I was leaving a thought occurred to me: some of the people who play there regularly depend on winning to secure food, rent and whatnot. It is a means of survival for them, so tourists like me who go thereĀ  unprepared to see “how it is like” are an easy prey. When I get back to UofT, I’ll have to try to convince people who hang out at the CSSU (Computer Science Students Union) to play chess in between courses. I wonder if it’s a good idea…

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Street chess in SF