Centennial Parkway's Giant Chessboard in Centennial Park was conceived in 1970 to 1971 as a memorial to the city's centennial celebration.
Designed by a Cal Poly architecture student, the unique Giant Chessboard and Centennial Stairway were opened in 1975. Centennial Stairway was constructed from recycled redwood and two dismantled water tanks that used to serve the city's water needs. An American flag, the California Bear flag, and the 13-starred American flag are strategically positioned at the top of the stairs that lead to the famous Giant Chessboard.
At one time the United States Chess Federation declared the chessboard only one of two in the U.S. with the other being New York. However, San Jose's Santana Row also has a fabulous outdoor chessboard which is often in use. In Morro Bay back in 1983 the Morro Bay Chess Club built chess tables and benches adjacent to the Giant Chessboard to enhance the chess play experience.
The Giant Chessboard is available for reservations, weekdays through the Morro Bay Recreation and Parks Department for a small fee. Visitors can play chess on weekends by contacting the Morro Bay Chess Club on Saturdays beginning at 12 noon.