City Life – The Sunday Chess Players, Chirag Delhi
The weekly tournament.
[Text and photos by Maynak Austen Soofi]
These two just can’t get enough of a good thing.
For some 30 years, they’ve gotten together every Sunday, usually under a peepal tree, to play chess. “All week long we look forward to this!” says Virender Pal, 75.
His considerably younger partner fully agrees. “We used to play in a park every Sunday for four hours,” explains Jitender Ahlwat, 56, “but there were a lot of dogs around that place, so we had to move.”
They’re now hard at play under that peepal tree in south Delhi’s Chirag Delhi roadside, for a grueling session of game strategies and maneuverings — Mr Pal at one stage humming an old Hindi film song.
The two gentlemen first met years ago at a local club over a game of chess. And decided then and there to compete every week.
Apart from that, they appear to have little in common. Mr Pal owns an electrical goods store, while Mr Ahlwat teaches political science in a school. They, however, do share a pink table fan for the days when it gets just too hot.
But now a most delicate question. Who is a more frequent winner?
Laughter, followed by utter silence. The game soon ends and The Delhi Walla pledges to withhold the victor’s identity.
The friendly timepass