Chess and icy mate: the Manotick family build a life-size chessboard in the courtyard
OTTAWA – Chess is a great way to pass the time during these cold winter months, but a family in Manotick, Ont., Wanted to combine the two.
This version of the game not only exercises your mind but also your body.
“We were just tired of sitting inside and wanted to do something with the snow. So we made a huge chess board,” says Kimberly Carr.
The chess pieces are about two to three feet tall, with a few pieces of solid snow and ice weighing over 40 pounds. It took Carr and her mother Vicki a month to build the chessboard in their backyard.
“Last November I really started watching The Queens Gambit,” Carr says. “And that had a huge influence on, I guess, my newfound admiration for chess. And I really wanted to learn to play chess.”
When Vicki heard what Kimberly wanted to do, she was into it.
“She was the one who came up with the idea of the chessboard. I said great.”
Both had little or no experience with chess before taking on the challenge of building a life-size chess board. Now they can’t get enough.
“It’s polite. It’s Pentecost. It’s strategy,” said Vicki.
“My mom and I went out one night and started a game and we had to draw on it at one in the morning,” Kimberly says.
Another reason they did this was to give Kimberly’s nephew Ethan a way to enjoy the game he loves, on the outside. The two secretly built the board without his knowledge.
When finished, they invited him in for the big reveal.
“When I first saw it I thought it was amazing,” Ethan says. “I didn’t even know it was there until they opened the blinds right over there.”
“She raised the blinds and there you are,” Vicki said. “The look on his face was worth a million dollars.”
Now playing the game they all love is also keeping them in shape.
“The parts are quite heavy to move,” Kimberly explains. “And once you get around, I just have to take my jacket off and you start to warm up. It’s actually a really good exercise.”
Who Said You Need A Gym? a few towers and knights will give you hours of entertainment and a workout in your backyard.
“I love the outdoors,” says Vicki. “It was the best winter I have ever had.”