Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Little Local Flavour # 1 - Keleti Station, Budapest, Hungary

During the last ten years I've spent many an hour waiting to change trains in Budapest's cavernous Keleti station. Every time I'm in the station, the first place I head for is the platform with the Keleti chess players society. Without fail, there are always a number of intense games in progress, with the regulars eagerly engaged in matches against passengers while they wait for their trains. This goes on in the centre of the main hall of the station with noise, confusion and milling crowds all around them, yet it never seems to break their concentration. Most of the regular players are retirees who use the platform as their social meeting place, and they enjoy offering sage advice and commentary on the moves made by passengers as they play. A few years ago I had an hour to wait for a train to Pecs, so I agreed to play a game against one of the grizzled veterans. Predictably, I was thrashed in less than thirty minutes, despite the helpful advice of the onlookers. Have you ever noticed these players? Have a look the next time you are in the station, I'm sure they must be crowded around watching a match on the platform right now...

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