Central Kyiv park gathers chess players all year long

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Culture, Ukraine

Recently Ukraine made it to the top-10 most dangerous countries in the world, beating Russia and even… North Korea. Also its capital Kyiv is one of the 10 least liveable cities in world, according to the Economist.

While the world think tanks create their ratings, we want to present you some sketches from the ordinary life of the capital of one of the most dangerous countries in the world.

For many years, Park Shevchenka, a park located in the heart of Kyiv, has gathered board games fans. Anyone can come here anytime and play checkers, backgammon or chess for free. The place is equipped with tables and benches, but the players bring the games themselves. Still, you will find company for yourself here almost every day, even during the winter.

Euromaidan Press collected some photo evidence of chess tournaments in the park.

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  • Oknemfrod

    This kind of activity has been going on in the Shevchenko Park (as well as other Kyiv parks) since I remember myself. Only now the place seems much better equipped with tables and seats. Back in the day, the players would just sit somewhat sideways on a slatted park bench with the board placed between them – not quite convenient for an hour-long game. However, in the Mariinsky Park between the Palace and Dynamo stadium, there were actually a number of rotunda-shaped semi-covered pavilions with tables and chairs and even the ability to get a loaner chess set and board. IIRC, the last time I espied those functioning thus was in the late 1960’s. Another curious tidbit of that old Soviet reality is that though playing chess and checkers was eagerly supported and playing dominoes – tolerated, playing card games in public was universally prohibited because doing so was considered gambling regardless of whether money stakes were involved or not.