Photo: Christine Kongsvik (CC BY-2.0)
WEST VANCOUVER—Park Royal Shopping Centre has launched a counter-attack on some of its regulars. The mall recently banned chess players from using space meant for food court patrons.
“Not since Deep Blue beat Kasparov has there been such a bold move,” declared the informal leader of the informal chess group, Ted Granby. “We’re not harming anybody. And let’s be honest, having a chess game set up next to Fortune Wok gives the place some class.”
“I sent a letter to Ted in late March, asking that his players find another space for their games,” said mall GM, Andria Richards. “Seriously. You people live in West Van. Just buy a damn burger combo, problem solved. Either that or move the gatherings to the library like normal freeloaders.”
Subway franchise owner Chet Denton agrees with Richards. “If they aren’t buying food, they shouldn’t be using the tables,” he said. “Plus, I’m tired of watching people spend eight hours a day playing a game while I work for a living.”
Richards’ letter threatened to involve police if the players don’t vacate. “The crime in West Van is white collar, so this makes sense,” said RCMP officer Jan Bent. “Arresting people for playing chess in a public space seems about right for this neighborhood.”
The mall’s biggest supporter may be Steve Marks, head of Park Royal security. “I’ve been waiting for this day to come,” said Marks. “Those chess playing punks are gonna see what happens to rule breakers.”