Chess is king at Central Festival

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Not every foreigner in Pattaya spends the days in the bars. Some are doing what they likely do back home: Play chess in the park.

Well, in Pattaya, with its lack of greenery, there’s not so much a park as some concrete benches in front of Central Festival Pattaya Beach. But the idea is the same: residents and tourists drop in for pickup games to pass the time amid Thailand’s lovely winter weather.

Visitors gather to play chess on the beach promenade in Central Pattaya. Visitors gather to play chess on the beach promenade in Central Pattaya.

British national Paul Frain Frow comes out daily for a few games. He said he spends four months a year in Pattaya and meets lots of new friends. Most are expats, but a fair number of tourists also join him for a game.

Frow said playing chess outside the mall is a nice way to pass the time, but he wishes the city would spend more time cleaning the area and keeping hawkers and beggars away from the players, as it affects their concentration.