IF you go down to the park today, you may hear cries of “checkmate” from concentrating chess masters.
A concrete chess table has been installed in Bury Knowle Park.
And local councillors, who paid for the table through their ward funds, hope the games table will encourage more people to come and make the most of the park.
Youngsters from St Andrew’s School couldn’t wait to check out the table, which was paid for through funds by the ward councillors.
Keen chess player Thomas Chapman hopes he and his friends will soon be able to have a chess party in the park.
The nine-year-old said: “I like chess because it gets your brain working.”
Thurston Tallack, nine, said: “I like chess because it is like fighting a little battle with little pieces.”
While 10-year-old Alex Norbrook added: “Chess is good because it helps you think and concentrate and it is fun to play in the park.”
Nine-year-old Mark Jezzard, said: “It is a good idea especially if you don’t have a chess board at home.”
The new chess table cost £1,500 and was jointly funded by ward councillors Ruth Wilkinson and David Rundle.
Residents first asked for a chess table to be positioned in Bury Knowle Park at Christmas time at a walkabout with the councillors.
Mr Rundle added: “We asked residents for a range of things they were interested in. It did take some time before it was put in place.
“Bury Knowle is a great park. I thought this was a good addition to the range of things that you can do.
“There’s something for the kids with the activity area. Now there’s also an opportunity to play a game sitting down.”
Players will have to bring their own sets to the park, but councillors hope to set up a lending system at the Headington Library.
Councillor Ruth Wilkinson said: “Lots of people visit Bury Knowle Park from Barton, Headington, Wood Farm and farther afield and it’s great to have an extra facility that can be enjoyed by young and old.”
Friends of Bury Knowle Park vice-chairman Jill Cummings has welcomed the new chess table.
She said: “It is a really good addition to the park. This was a lovely idea. The table really adds something to the park and hopefully we will be able to get more in the future.
“The friends are working with the parks department to install some raised flower beds in the sensory garden. We’re hoping to make it more accessible for disabled people in wheelchairs so that they can feel the flowers and get closer to them.
“This is part of a project to open up the park to a wider section of the community. If you look at New York, or cities around the world, people will sit outside and play chess. I just think it is a nice addition to the park.”