Sunday, 14 October 2012

Things I'll miss about Bosnia: #4

A public game of chess in Sarajevo attracts dozens of

Public games of chess

Wow, how I love bearing witness to these!

Public games of chess are an extremely common sight across many towns and cities in Bosnia. They are a favourite pastime of, particularly, elderly citizens, and, boy, do they take the games seriously.

'Big' games, involving larger-than-usual chess pieces, can gather crowds in the dozens, whilst there are also many people who partake in small one-on-one games of table chess outside their apartment buildings, as well as in public parks.

On most occasions, regardless of whether or not it is a 'big' or 'small' game, it all comes together to form some sort of social event; take the coffees (who knows where they get them from), the cigarettes, and whatever else, and there you have it - men sitting down over chess and discussing anything and everything.

Serious Business: A man celebrates during a game
of chess in Sarajevo, February 2004.
Of course, that's not when they are getting all 'antsy' over a contentious chess move, or an important play. (...and you thought football fans are crazy about their sport!)

Maybe I am looking in the wrong places, but you just don't see that sort of thing in Australia.

In fact, Bosnians are so serious about their chess, that they even have an annual international chess tournament staged in Sarajevo.

Further to that, the Bosna Sarajevo Chess Club have been European team champions on a total of four occasions since 1994.

I love it; and walking past these old guys enjoying a game outside always brings a bit of a smile to one's face.

In a day and age when most people are happy to camp themselves in front of their TV set or computer (..ahem..) rather than heading outdoors, I say: Well done, and keep it up, fellas!

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