It’s check and mate for a group of men who were facing jail time for playing chess in an Upper Manhattan park.
Three of the six men who were slapped with summonses for playing chess in Inwood Hill Park in October were given adjournments in contemplation of dismissal yesterday — meaning if they stay out of trouble for six months, the matter will be dropped.
Two of the others turned down the deal out of principle, even though they could face up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
“They want to go to trial,” said their lawyer, civil-rights attorney Norman Siegel. “They feel the charges against them should be dismissed.”
The five — plus one other man who was a no-show in summons court — were busted by a bulletproof-vest-wearing group of cops Oct. 20 for playing chess at the built-in chess tables in the park’s playground area.
The group — two of whom had been playing there for years — was ticketed for “failure to comply with signs” because of a notice nearby that read, “Adults allowed in playground areas only when accompanied by a child under the age of 12.”
Most of the men said they had not noticed the signs. One, Yacahuda Harrison, 49, told The Post he had seen the signage, but had explicit permission from a park ranger to play there.
“The ranger said, ‘Oh no, that’s fine. That’s only written for pedophiles,” Harrison said.
He rejected the judge’s offer yesterday, and is expected to go to trial in Manhattan Criminal Court next week.
Police have defended the tickets, saying they were enforcing the law, while community reaction has been mixed.
“Is chess really something that should be considered a threat to the neighborhood?” area resident and mom Joanne Johnson wrote in a letter to the mayor and police commissioner.