Losing money from a trash-talking chess (or backgammon!) hustler in Washington Square Park or Union Square is a quintessential New York experience, up there with throwing yourself into an overcrowded subway car or failing to meet the credit card minimum at your local bodega.
Here’s a fun little video of a chess match in Washington Square park, only except for an amateur chess player destined to lose money and fall for cheap tricks, the hustler’s opponent is Grandmaster Maurice Ashley. As you’d expect, the Washington Sq. Park hustler starts out talking all sorts of trash, evidently unaware that his opponent became the first African-American International Grandmaster in 1999 and is, by all accounts, one of the best in the world.
Ashley systematically dismantles the hustler’s valiant attempts (which include, of course, some cheating).
Can you catch the fast one he tries to pull on Ashley? (The hustler’s hands are on the left):
Let’s slow it down. Watch as he tries to pull two pieces off the board in one move. Ashley, obviously, picks up on it pretty quickly:
The whole video is great, and almost as much fun as the real thing:
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