On a typical sunny day at Bancroft Park in Old Colorado City, Colo., you can see him moving pieces and taking on any challenger. With a calm, yet serious demeanor, he eyes the boards and studies his prey. By mid morning the pieces are set, and the game’s afoot.
Local resident Rico Gallegos of Old Colorado City, Colo., begins his attack on his competitor, and his girl, Missy Silvers. With a pensive look in his eye, he reaches in to make the first move.
But this is no ordinary game of chess. There are seven boards set end to end. Each properly assembled according to the rules. Friends and tourists come to watch at the Old Colorado City Plaza. Watching in wonderment how the game of Kings can be played with so many boards.
“I started playing like this when I was 7-years-old,” he says, “I’ve been paying here at the park like this for the past 5 years.”
He studies the boards. Watches as Silvers moves her queen. Smiles, then aggressively attacks and kills her move.
Slowly as the game progresses, his dominance of the board shows. He kills piece by piece until Silvers is trapped and has only a single King left. He moves in and checkmates.
Gallegos says the game is played the same as traditional chess only you use the full length of the connected boards and the moves are legal.
“You can have a rook or queen on one end and move it across all the boards to the other,” he says.
Although today he is only playing seven boards across, he says that he has had as many as 25 together at one time.
“The extra kings are taken off the board like regular pieces when they are captured,” he says, “but the last one is check mated.”
He says the best strategy to win is to break the back line and get your rooks and queens and begin breaking down their defenses from behind.
“The first thing I like to do is line my rooks up and attack,” he says,” but the best advice I can give you is to stay out of my back row.”
As Gallegos plays, friends and acquaintances come up to watch his moves. With laughter and a deep sense of camaraderie, he plays the day away.
“We (Missy and I) come down here everyday until it’s too cold or snows,” he says laughing, “we really like to play.”
And as the day wanes and the sun sets behind the Rocky Mountains, Gallegos and Silvers pack the boards and head home. Taking away a fun filled day and memories.