Giant Chess Set Planned For OC’s Somerset Plaza

OCEAN CITY – Somerset Street will be seeing some changes this summer, with the opening of a new retail store along the downtown street as well as the addition of a giant chess set, to be displayed for public use in front of the store.

Summer Set Games, a retail shop featuring family board games, will be making its debut along Somerset Street this summer. Kirill Dunaev, owner of Summer Set Games, presented the Mayor and Council with his idea for a giant chess set this week, receiving unanimous support from the City Council.

“Ocean City and OCDC [Ocean City Development Corporation] have spent so much time and effort for Somerset Plaza. The street has been closed to traffic and good-looking stone pavements been installed. We believe we can contribute to the street by adding a giant chess set,” said Dunaev.

The mobile giant chess set will include a nine-foot by nine foot, 65-pound mat with 21-pound plastic chess pieces, the tallest one reaching 25 inches in height. The chess set will be set up each day in front of Summer Set Games along Somerset Street and removed each night.

The chess set will be a free amenity along the street, said Dunaev.

A similar chess set stands in the First Street Mall in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. “It brings a lot of attention, it’s free entertainment for the public and it’s definitely fun and educational,” said Dunaev.

Dunaev noted that he would be setting up the chess set each morning, after Boardwalk biking hours so as not to interfere with bicycle traffic along the street. Dunaev also said he would be willing to remove the set during any special events along Somerset Street.

“As Summer Set Games, we believe this giant chess set will affect every business positively on the street, bringing more people and attention to this beautiful plaza. It will not interfere with any enterprise,” he said.

The council embraced the idea, applauding Dunaev for bringing something new and family friendly to the downtown area.

“I can’t wait for the first chess tournament,” said Council member Nancy Howard.

“I think it’s a great idea. I think it’s going to draw a crowd and we’ve been trying to get people down Somerset Street,” said Council member Jim Hall.

“I have to applaud him because he’s putting in a business other than a T-shirt shop,” said Council member Mary Knight.