The county hosted a youth chess tournament Saturday to mark the addition of chess tables to Waterfront Park. Photo credit:Patricia Ramirez, County News Center

Play chess now at the downtown Waterfront Park following San Diego County’s Saturday opening of the play zone, with a tournament and ribbon-cutting.

The chess tables, next to the playground, near the corner of Pacific Highway and Ash Street, include one ADA-accessible table.

Chess pieces can be checked out on a first-come, first-served basis from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at the park office, at the south entrance of the County Administration Center, according to Gig Conaughton, a county spokesman.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Nathan Fletcher and young chess tournament competitors helped cut the ribbon Saturday.

“You may not think of this as recreation in a traditional sense,” Fletcher said, “but the benefits of playing a game that demands this type of strategic thinking can grow exponentially when you have the opportunity to play it outside, in the fresh air and in a peaceful, social park setting.”

The chess tables are part of a larger renovation for the park that opened in 2014. Other additions include a dog park, exercise equipment, pickleball and basketball courts, and a place to play T-ball.

Saturday’s tournament included competitors in three age groups: “knights” up to 11 years old; “rooks,” 12-14 years, and “royals” 15-18.

All participants received commemorative chess board sets. Second-place finishers in each category received $25 gift cards. Winners in each category received a trophy and a $50 gift card.

The County’s Department of Parks and Recreation said it hopes to open some of the other park improvements by spring of 2022.

– City News Service

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