The Chess Players

Seemingly oblivious to the incessant scooter and automobile traffic racing by them, these two friends — or, so I imagine they are — are intently focused on their game of Chinese Chess. It was my first day in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi and though I had only walked a few hundred meters from our Old Quarter hotel, I had already captured a couple hundred images of the bustling, vibrant life of this city. Strolling along a busy boulevard I was working on my panning technique, primarily using the copious scooters streaming by as targets, when I espied these two, calmly playing their game. Perhaps they did this every day. Perhaps they just decided “this is a good place to play our game.” Regardless, their concentration amidst the vehicular maelstrom was fascinating. I took a series of snaps trying to capture them playing — quite easy — with the blurred motion of a scooter in the frame but not obscuring them — not quite as easy given how fast they were moving! One shot only worked, this one.

Image and words by Jeff Clay