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Dozens Play Chess On Market Street To Defy SF Crackdown

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Somasiri Hettiwattage Neiunika Met of Sri Lanka competes in the Chess, Women's Classical round 2 during day three of the 4th Asian Indoor & Martial Arts Games at Yonsei International Campus on July 1, 2013 in Incheon, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

(Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — Dozens of people backed by a brass band played 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.

“We want our San Francisco tradition back, we want our chess tables back at Fifth and Market, we want our tradition back!” exclaimed one chess player.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)

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