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John Bain

The Santa Monica International Chess Park operated for decades, located on the beachfront strand at 652 Ocean Front Walk–just a few yards south of the iconic Santa Monica Pier and a short walk farther south to Venice’s “Muscle Beach.”

Santa Monica Chess Park several chess players engaged in a game

The Chess Park hosted players ranging from pre-kindergarten children to those approaching 100 years old–some players were beginners, some patzers, some hustlers, some Masters and some were world-famous international Grandmasters.

Santa Monica Chess Park playing chess with granddaughter on large board

A concrete chess board was imbedded in the ground allowing large chess pieces to be used along with an overhead demonstration board where the chess moves were displayed to spectators.

Entering the 21st Century, the Santa Monica City Council authorized and invested tens of thousands of dollars ($$$) to renovate the Chess Park–installing all new, high-quality, sturdy tables, chairs, chess boards, beautiful umbrellas and the giant concrete chess board with large pieces on the ground as well as the large overhead demonstration board.

Beautiful chess table & chairs at Santa Monica Chess Park 2021

The Chess Park featured fourteen tables, four chess boards per table and ten smaller tables with one chess board per table–enough tables, chairs and boards to seat 152 chess players!

The Problem

Homeless people–also known as unhoused people–including alcoholics, drug addicts, criminals and all their drug paraphernalia, tarps, equipment, dumpster food and trash overran the Chess Park 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The elected Santa Monica City Council proved hapless in developing a policy to police, manage and preserve the asset and the legacy of the once beautiful chess park.

Homeless clutter on chess table at Santa Monica Chess Park 2021

Council Overwhelmed by Complaints

Like a pawn storm on a castled King in a chess game, the neighbors’ and tourists’ complaints overwhelmed the elected City Council.

The Council did not take well to the criticism.

The Council put their heads together searching for a solution, hoping to salvage at least a draw from a challenging position–and found a solution!?

The Solution?

Worse than a Chess Blunder?!

The Polish-French Grandmaster Saviely Tatakover once famously said, “No one ever won a chess game by resigning.”

Ignoring the advice of Tatakover, the Council tipped over its King, capitulated to the drug addicts, alcoholics and criminals–and resigned from the fight in a position that had many possibilities for a draw.

Santa Monica Chess Park demolition


Instead, the Council authorized $10,000.00 to demolish the beautiful sturdy tables and chairs–each embedded in solid concrete foundations. The demolition crew uprooted tables & chairs, jackhammered the giant concrete chess board on the ground, tossed the umbrellas into the trash, and destroyed the Chess Park, essentially creating a large sandbox.

Problem solved! No more tarps draped over the tables and chairs, no more homemade porta-potties dug under the tables, no more drug paraphernalia, equipment, dumpster food and trash covering the table tops.In fact, no more chess tables, chairs or chess players!

To date, the elected Santa Monica City Council has not shared with the public the other solutions considered–in chess called variations–that might have salvaged the endgame.

Any suggestions?

Santa Monica Chess Park two chess players engaged in a chess game.

The Way It Was

An oldtimer enjoying a game of chess at The Santa Monica International Chess Park.

Be Ready To Play Chess


The International Chess Park Re-opens!

Santa Monica International Chess Park with sign and demo board!

The World’s Best-Selling

Scholastic Chess Workbooks!

Beginner’s BookChess Rules For Students

Chess Rules For Students workbook

“Knights Battle”

Chess Rules For Students is a workbook for students learning the game of chess and for beginning students returning to the game. No previous knowledge of chess is necessary. Parents unfamiliar with chess will find this booklet a valuable guide to their child’s new interest.

Chess Rules For Students is designed with students, coaches, and parents in mind. Reading level is appropriate for grade-school use. All major rules of chess are covered, and algebraic notation worksheets are included. Each page is in easy-to-use worksheet format.

A student-friendly Answer Key makes self-correction fun!

Beginners & Intermediate Book – Checkmate! Ideas For Students

Checkmate! Ideas For Students

“Knight Checkmates King!”

Checkmate! Ideas For Students is a workbook for beginning and intermediate students. Checkmate! covers the tactics used in checkmate attacks with clear explanations, diagrams and arrows to pinpoint the key features.

Unlike many other basic checkmate books, Checkmate! categorizes the checkmates by the tactics used to force the checkmate–like Pins, Sacrifices, Removing the Guard, Attraction, Clearance and Attacking Flight Squares–rather than only the checkmate pattern itself.

The worksheets and Answer Key are clear and simple for the student to use, and easy for the parent, teacher and coach to correct! Fun!

Intermediate & Advanced Book – Chess Tactics For Students

Chess Tactics For Students workbook

“Profiles Face-Off in King’s Shadow”

Chess Tactics For Students contains 434 carefully selected problems in worksheet format.

Chess Tactics has been extensively field tested with elementary, middle-school, and high-school students over a four-year period. This book is ideal for independent seat work as well as for homework and classroom instruction.

The worksheet format and Answer Key enable self-correction with minimal dependence or direct help from a chess teacher, coach, or parent.

Chess for Students Shop Now


Solve a chess puzzle, enter the weekly drawing as often as you like, and win awesome prizes! Winners’ prizes are listed below. If you don’t win this week, try again next week! New puzzles are posted daily!


Below are the weekly prizes we send out! If you don’t win, try again the following week for your chance to win! Click on the prize to learn more about it.

Checkmate In One Prize
Chess Rules For Students Workbook
An instructional workbook designed for students learning the game of chess. Click here to learn more!
Checkmate In Two Prize
Checkmate! Ideas For Students
An instructional workbook containing tactics in worksheet format used to checkmate--like Pins, Sacrifices, Removing the Guard, Attraction, Clearance, and Attacking Flight Squares!
Checkmate In Three Prize
Chess Tactics For Students
An instructional workbook containing 434 carefully selected problems presented in worksheet format.

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