Street Grand Master

Dare to challenge me ?
Dare to challenge me ?

I found this attractive view when I was strolling down the Sudirman street in Jakarta. The cars in the street just turned their headlamps on implying the dusk had turned into night. A middle-aged man spread two chess boards at a sidewalk with a lit candle between them, the candle light was just enough for minimum illumination needed by his stall.

He also put a pile of 2 or 3 packs of cigarette near the checkered board as the prize.

Chess pieces. From left to right: Pawn, Rook, Knight, Bishop, Queen and King.
Chess pieces. From left to right: Pawn, Rook, Knight, Bishop, Queen and King. | Source

He challenged the passers by.

After putting himself at a convenient position behind the board, the man arranged some chess pieces on each board and ready for any challenge to come. It seemed that he had prepared every chessman to be placed on particular position. There are completely16 chess pieces at the opponent side ranging from Pawns, Knight, Bishop, Rooks, Queen up to the King while at his side there were only : one pawn, a bishop and the king . That was a contrast position which was hoped to become a tempting view and make anyone optimistic in challenging him.

With some packs of cigarette as a bait, his chess vendor tried to attract passers-by to drop by and challenge him. What they need to do to grab those cigarettes was just pay 5,000 rupiah (around half a buck) and beat him in 3 (three) steps of the chess match.

He was ready to play simultaneously against 2 contenders with his two chess boards in front of him.

Many people were attracted and tried their luck. All of the challengers would have the same things to do for the match: squat at the opposite side of the chess board, and absorbed down at "the battle field" while they were thinking hard about the strategy to win the game.

Some opponents also puffed their smoke to make them relax. I had to agree that it was not easy to win the competition in only 3 steps although the contender had a full-fledged troop with him not to mention for an average chess enthusiast like me.

Two contestants had played but I noticed no one managed to beat the "grand master" so the prizes still stayed there. Every time the looser ended the game he would shift his squatting position to give way to another challenger to act.

The more opponents to come the more income he got, and it would be even much better for him if no opponent won the game since he didn't have to lose the cigarette prizes.

The night was getting older. Onlookers still gathered around the chess stall when I saw another curious contestant took his turn, but I had to go home to write this story for you.

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Comments 7 comments

Ipeoney profile image

Ipeoney 6 years ago from USA

This a cool funny story. The street grand master could earn a very good daily income for life. Thanks for sharing

agusfanani profile image

agusfanani 6 years ago from Indonesia Author

Thank you very much for your nice comments. yes It can be an income for those who have skill in playing chess.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

He was obviously very sure of himself to challenge people in this way. Smart man! I played a little chess many years ago but did not play enough to get very good at it. My brothers were better players.

agusfanani profile image

agusfanani 6 years ago from Indonesia Author

Yes, I think that's a potential (or sometimes we call it a gift) that this humble person has. He also showed me a lesson that 'Where there is a will, there is a way' in making a living. Thank you PeggyW.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

He was not only using his special talent or gift to make money but he was also entertaining people in a fun way. We can use more good honest entertainment in this world. Hope that this street grand master fulfills his needs and keeps adding joy to those he encounters. Nice!

2patricias profile image

2patricias 6 years ago from Sussex by the Sea

I don't think I've ever seen anyone doing this in a European city. Certainly I've seen plenty of people begging, but this shows enterprise.

Thanks for sharing this glimpse of a far away place.

agusfanani profile image

agusfanani 6 years ago from Indonesia Author

@Peggy W :You're right, I have to appreciate the way this man makes a living in his modest, creative way instead of becoming a beggar. Thank you very much Peggy W.

@2patricias : He's a man with dignity and know how to make good use of his potential. Thank you Patricia.

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