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Checkmates

Kids meet seniors for chess and chat.

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Common ground between kids and senior citizens isn’t always easy to come by, but Renee Yarzig’s Cross-Generation Chess program brings the two groups together across a gridded board. It started in 2004, when Yarzig started teaching kids and seniors she worked with at the Jewish Community Center on the Upper West Side. Today, CGC meets monthly, in multiple locations to accommodate seniors who have difficulty traveling, and attracts a handful of elderly masters among the neophytes. (Yarzig says she herself learned the game as a child by facing off against her parents’ friends in Michigan.) This Sunday at Central Park’s Chess and Checkers House—which Yarzig had a hand in reopening after a ten-year shutdown—she’ll bring more than three dozen chess sets as well as a classical musician or two to provide accompaniment. In fact, two of her players (of music and chess) have become friendly: Dalton third-grader Teddy Katz, a violinist, and IBM retiree Yvonne Florant Morrison, his piano accompanist. “Seniors don’t know many kids,” says the precocious young Upper East Sider. “So this makes me feel sort of special.”

7/23 from 2 to 5 p.m., Central Park, Chess and Checkers House, mid-park at 65th St.; 8/27 from 2 to 5 p.m., Goldwater Hospital, Roosevelt Island; 9/30 from 2 to 5 p.m., Stanley M. Isaacs Center, 415 E. 93rd St., nr. First Ave.; 10/22 from 2 to 4 p.m., Central Harlem Senior Citizens Coalition, 120 W. 140th St., nr. Seventh Ave. (917-822-3141); free.


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