Henry Townley Heald

Chess Players in Washington Square Park

For more than 50 years, chess players have flocked to Washington Square Park. In 1955, a series of chess tournaments was held in the park and although a regular player, Charles Eastman, garnered the top prize (a $100 savings bond), it was a 12-year-old boy who captivated the attention of his fellow participants and onlookers. Despite his age, the young Bobby Fischer went undefeated until losing on the final day of the month-long tournament. Ultimately the Brooklyn prodigy went on to become a U.S. and international chess champion and arguably one of the greatest chess players of all-time.

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