Weird California
Weird California
Weird California - By Joe Parzanese

Giant Chess Set

Map Embarcadero and Front Street, Morro Bay, California 93442

The Giant Chessboard of Morro Bay
The Giant Chessboard of Morro Bay

Sign at the Giant Chessboard of Centennial Parkway
Sign at the Giant Chessboard of Centennial Parkway

Located in the Centennial Parkway at the bottom of the Centennial Stairway, in the city of Morro Bay is the Morro Bay Giant Chessboard. Originally conceived back in 1970 / 1971, the Giant Chessboard opened in 1975, being dedicated on December 6th, 1975. The first game of chess played on the massive board was between two of the Giant Chessboard's creators: Wayne Bickford and Wachtang 'Botso' Korisheli.

The chess pieces are made from two redwood water tanks that had served the city for over 50 years, originally standing on Morro Bay Boulevard. The chess pieces range from 18 to 30 pounds with the pawns clocking in at 22 inches, the queens at 31 inches, and the kings 33 inches. It is estimated that in an average game, a player will end up lifting over 1000 pounds. Each square of the chessboard is 2 feet by 2 feet with the total board being 16 feet by 16 feet.

A white bishop, part of the Morro Bay Chess Set
A white bishop, part of the Morro Bay Chess Set
Several of the black chess pieces from the Morro Bay Chess Set
Several of the black chess pieces from the Morro Bay Chess Set
A bunch of the white pieces from the Morrow Bay Chess Set
A bunch of the white pieces from the Morrow Bay Chess Set

In 1983, the Morro Bay Chess Club added the chess tables that are located next to the Giant Chessboard. The Chess Club meets on Saturdays to play chess and show off the board. The Giant Chessboard is also available for reservations for a small fee. It can be reserved Monday through Friday from 8am to 5pm.

California has at least one other giant chess set located along Santana Row in San Jose. There might be two additional giant chess sets down in Burbank, one supposedly located in the courtyard of the campus for the tech company, Yahoo! while the other might be located on the bottom floor of the Burbank Mall. The World's Largest Chess Piece, however, stands fifteen feet tall and is located in St. Louis, Missouri.

For another giant board game in California, check out the World's Largest Monopoly Board in San Jose.

The Giant Chess Set of Morro Bay
The Giant Chess Set of Morro Bay
Tiffany exploring the Giant Chessboard of Morro Bay
Tiffany exploring the Giant Chessboard of Morro Bay


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Last Edited: 2015-11-04


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