By David Wade

BOSTON (CBS) – It’s a game of focus, strategy, patience, and being able to look ahead several moves.

No doubt, chess is a tough, mental contest.

But what if you’re playing many games at once? That’s what happened today in Boston, and it’s remarkable to watch.

“My name is Larry Christiansen, Grandmaster. Today here at South Station I’ll be doing a simultaneous exhibition, a chess exhibition, playing up to 20 players at once,” says Christiansen.

That’s right, he’s going up against 20 players.

But Christiansen, a 3-time U.S. champion, is a chess Grandmaster, one of about 100 in the United States.

“That’s the highest level next to world champion that you can reach in the chess world,” he explains.

And every month Larry takes on all comers at South Station. It’s part of an effort to bring more vitality to the commuters’ hub.

“It’s always fun. It’s fun to engage with the public, bring more people into the game,” says Christiansen.

Larry Christiansen takes on 20 chess players at once.

Larry Christiansen takes on 20 chess players at once.

But how does he do it, spending just seconds at each board?

“The whole circuit will take maybe two minutes,” said Christiansen.

It’s like he takes a snapshot and needs just a glance to make his move.

“They always have a trick up their sleeve. You have to be ready. I always ask, ‘What’s the dirty rat trying to do here?’” said Christiansen said with a laugh.

“He’s very good. That’s all I have to say. He’s definitely beating me right now,” says one of the opponents Larry is clobbering.

But sometimes, rarely, he actually loses.

“It happens about one out of 100 games. It does happen, more than lightning strikes,” Larry says.

“It’s really fun because you get to interact with real chess players,” says Eli Perry, an elementary school student trying out his chops today.

And that’s the goal, to learn.

“In chess if you make the same mistake 10 times in a row, you should take up checkers,” Christiansen says.

Today Larry had 55 wins, one draw and 2 losses.  Larry plays at South Station the second Tuesday of every month.

David Wade

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