Concrete chess and ping-pong tables opening celebrated at Middleton’s Centennial Park
MIDDLETON, NS – New additions to an Annapolis County park will help more people enjoy the outdoors and may instill in them a love of chess or ping-pong.
City of Middleton Active Living Coordinator Lisa Fenton said the additions to Centennial Park will help bring families and the city closer together.
A celebration attended by students from Annapolis East Elementary School, representatives from Chess Nova Scotia and Annapolis MPP Carman Kerr took place at the park on November 12.
Two new concrete chess tables, a concrete ping-pong table, and associated parts and equipment were officially unveiled. The tables were custom made by Concreations of Dartmouth.
âWe were really excited to be able to launch this before winter,â said Fenton.
In a first game of chess, Grade 5 student Piper Wagstaff faced National Certified Chess Master Roger Langen, reigning Nova Scotia Open champion and Chess Nova Scotia secretary.
Wagstaff, 10, said she enjoyed the chance to pick up some tips from such a well-established player, and that she really enjoys the new chess tables and seats.
She agreed that having the equipment available might get more people interested in playing. Wagstaff has only been playing for about a year and continues to learn and improve.
âI really like playing and trying to beat my brotherâ¦ because he’s really good,â she said.
‘Poetry’ of the game
Langen said he thought it was great to see the outdoor chess tables, which are much more common in large urban centers, set up in the park. He said they are beautifully designed, the squares are the right size, and there are pretty skirts around the tables to hold chess pieces, clocks or coffee cups.
Langen loves “poetry in the game”, which he finds very beautiful. He said that most of the players who are drawn to chess are interested in geometric and mathematical aspects, which are very strong.
âThey’ll also tell you that the game shows, when played correctly, a lot of harmony, and it reminds them in a musical way,â Langen said. “Some of the best players are actually musicians and opera singers.”
At 72, Langen is a bit of an anomaly in the chess world. He said the oldest age for top-level play is usually between 22 and 34 years old.
Langen learned to play while a student at the University of Newfoundland. He said it nearly cost him his sophomore year at Memorial because he had “become obsessed” with the game.
He said Chess Nova Scotia is working on programs for schools and community centers with a provincial grant. They are starting to resume operations following the COVID-19 pandemic and are planning a major international chess event in Halifax next summer.
More additions to come
Fenton said the presence of the tables would hopefully help spark more interest among the area’s youth and get them playing. People can contact the town’s recreation office to borrow chess pieces and table tennis equipment.
âWe’ve seen people play before even though we haven’t really officially opened it,â Fenton said. âIt’s nice to see the excitement. “
Fenton, who moved here from California, said outdoor chess tables and other outdoor activities are common there. Some Nova Scotians may think the weather in the province is a barrier to holding such activities here, but she said that was not the case.
Fenton said they will add paths to chess and ping-pong tables next spring to make them more accessible.
She said other elements of the upcoming project include free Wi-Fi, video surveillance, two barbecues, accessible picnic tables, a movie screen and projector, as well as a new roof for the house. pergola, which was lost during Hurricane Dorian.