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Checkmate In Massapequa

Referred to as the “Game of Kings,” chess has enjoyed an enduring popularity over the centuries, and who would have ever guessed that, hundreds of years after its invention, America’s largest purveyor of chess paraphernalia, Your Move Chess and Games, would find its home right here in Massapequa.  

“That’s actually been part of the name since I’ve been working here,” said owner Quentin Turner. “There are not many brick-and-mortar chess stores...there are only three in New York, and we are by far the biggest. As such, we’re unique and a destination for a lot of visiting chess fans...we’ve had people come and visit the store from Canada, Australia, Ecuador. Our store is a gallery of sorts, with a lot of hand-carved sets on display, so people will travel a fairly large distance to see this stuff in person before they buy.”

Turner, born and raised in Melville and currently residing in Valley Stream, wasn’t always the store’s owner; originally, he started working at Your Move when he was 16 after noticing a job listing at the career center of his high school, and stayed with the business throughout college and graduate school, obtaining his Master’s degree in Psychology.

Your Move Chess and Games originated in Merrick and then moved to Huntington, where it remained for 16 years. The business initially specialized in computers, especially ones centered on playing chess, but with the advent of big electronic chains such as Best Buy, the decision was made by the store’s original owner to switch gears and evolve the business model around traditional chess sets and board games instead. Eventually, Your Move relocated to a storefront on Broadway in North Massapequa in 2002, where it has remained ever since.

While enduring the rigors of graduate school and working at Your Move during semester breaks, Turner became disillusioned about his prospective career path, and when the owner of Your Move presented him with an alternative — taking over the store — it was a decision that he devoted some good, hard thought towards accepting.  

“Steve, the owner of Your Move, wanted to retire, and he approached me and asked if running the store was something that I would like to do...we talked about it, and I said okay,” he said. “For the next three years, we worked together while I learned the business...after that, for the next eight years, I was on my own and paying Steve off. I officially finished paying him off and gained full control last year, although I’ve essentially been running everything since I came back...he hasn’t even really stepped foot in the store in seven or eight years.”

Your Move’s sales floor is a virtual gallery devoted to a plethora of varied and unique chess sets and loose pieces from around the world; no matter what the theme or style, what you’re looking for is most likely there, just waiting for you to come in and buy it. However, it’s not all about chess; in addition, a large number of other board games are available for purchase as well.

“We import a lot of stuff directly from manufacturers overseas,” Turner said. “We get marble sets from Pakistan, wooden sets from India, boards from Spain, stuff from Poland, Indonesia...there’s stuff from many different countries, as well as from the United States. We’re always looking for new chess sets, which are what we mostly carry of course, but we also offer a lot of other types of board games. We’ve been expanding that selection for a while now, as that’s something that I personally enjoy and they’re experiencing a bit of a renaissance right now.”

Despite doing a majority of the store’s business through its website (70 percent versus 30 percent walk-in traffic), Turner said he still feels it’s important to maintain a physical storefront, as it give customers a sense of confidence in the business; in addition, he has some interesting ideas on how to expand the scope of Your Move’s physical presence in the near future.

“We’re in a three-year lease right now, so we’re here for a few more years at least...we may move to a bigger location at some point, but for now, the plan is to take down some temporary walls here this summer to expand the store space and add a social aspect in the form of a chess lounge,” he said. “It won’t be as big as we’d like it to be, but space is a big issue...there’s no basement here and my wife won’t let me put inventory in the garage anymore. We eventually might have to move to a bigger location, and if so, we’ll expand the lounge, allow chess teachers to hold lessons, and so on. There really aren’t a lot of places where people to just sit down, hang out, and play chess and board games, and we’d like to change that.”