Medicine Hat’s giant chess set is approximately 19 ft. in length and is made of Indonesian teak wood. The set joins a permanent 20 ft. king piece.NEWS PHOTO KENDALL KING, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published 10:30 May 13, 2022

By KENDALL KING, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Medicine Hat’s giant chess set will soon return to downtown.

The chess set – deemed the largest in the world by Guinness World Records – has been an annual tradition in Medicine Hat since 2005. Each spring, the set takes up residence in the park between Medicine Hat Public Library and the Court of Queen’s Bench. It remains open to the public until the end of summer, when it is placed in storage for the cold weather months.

While open, community members can visit the giant chess set and challenge their friends or family to a game of epic proportions. There are also smaller chess sets available throughout the park.

“(The set is meant) to promote chess as a recreational activity for all ages and to provide educational experiences for interested youth and individuals,” Rita Bessant, CORE Association executive director, told the News.

Organizers not only wish to promote chess, they also hope the set shines a spotlight on Medicine Hat, especially the city’s downtown.

“CORE Association loves the downtown,” Bessant said. “We do every single thing we can to promote the downtown core and brings lots of people down.

“Last year, we had 794 people come and play chess, and that’s not counting local people. They came from a wide variety of places; Halifax, Quebec, Fort McMurray, just to name a few.”

The set was first introduced by the Medicine Hat Chess Club, however the CORE Association took over management of it in 2014. CORE clients are employed to oversee the set and welcome players.

“This has been a great asset,” Bessant said. “It has promoted summer employment for the individuals we serve … And it’s an in a beautiful location. So, it’s a wonderful summer activity.”

Bessant welcomes the community to join in the opening ceremony, beginning at noon on May 27. Several city officials will be in attendance. Food and drink will be offered.

While the 2022 opening ceremony will be held May 27 at noon, the set will officially open May 31. Operating hours throughout the summer will be 11 a.m. to 4 p.m, Tuesday to Saturday.

This item reprinted with permission from Medicine Hat News, Medicine Hat, Alberta