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Dozens play chess in public to defy S.F. crackdown

SAN FRANCISCO Dozens of people backed by a brass band are playing chess in downtown San Francisco to defy a recent crackdown by police on the public games that have been a staple of the city for years.

Earlier this month, police confiscated chess gear, tables and chairs used by the mostly homeless players.

Police say the games had begun to attract illegal gambling and drug sales to an area adjacent to a cable car terminal, which is a popular tourist destination. Nearby merchants also complained about an increase in illegal activity around the games.

On Sunday, homeless advocates and the chess players organized a "chess-in" and played for hours on the city's busy Market Street in balmy, sunny weather with no visible police presence.