I saw this group of people during my visit to Burnham Park and I remembered a similar situation when I was tricked in Cubao during my high school days.
How does this modus operandi work?
- You, the curious one, approach and observe these deeply thinking people trying to solve a chess problem.
- The Dealer, then tells everyone that you will win money if you solve the problem by only 3 moves.
- You, the smart one, thinks deeply and tries to simulate the moves to checkmate the king but you’re not into gambling so you won’t give their money. You’re just there to solve it on your own.
- Observer #1 then steps forward then places a bet about PhP20 to PhP100, the Dealer takes the money then Observer #1 makes a move but makes a wrong move thus his money will be on the pot. Observer #2, #3, #4, etc. will do the same thing. And some Observers tries again. (Confidence Booster #1)
- You, the smart one, would chuckle or tries to hide your smile from the losers and quickly your confidence level will be up.
- Observers would do the betting again (Confidence Booster #2).
- Then one of the people around will approach you and tell you the solution to the problem. (Super Confidence Booster) Let’s call him the Smart Observer. If you’ve noticed he wasn’t placing his bet while the other Observers are.
- You, now armed with a solution, tries to solve the problem and simulate and tries to prove that he is wrong. In the end you’ll conclude that it is true, it was the only possible solution for a checkmate. You’ll say to the Smart Observer that he had a good solution.
- Smart Observer will tell you that the bet for you to join is only about PhP60. He wants to join but lacks the money so he will ask you if you are willing to provide the half of the PhP60 bet and you’ll just split the winning in the middle.
- You, the confident and sure one, agrees to the terms of Smart Observer. He gives you the half, then you provide the other half of the bet. You then give the bet to the Dealer, he takes it and puts it inside his pocket.
- You, the bettor, tries to touch the pieces to start solving the problem but the Dealer will block your hand. You will not even have the chance to touch the pieces.
- The Dealer will say that you have not payed the right amount. You ask what the right amount is. He tells you that it is about PhP200. When you ask for your money back, he will not agree. A no return, no exchange policy is upheld.
- You, the hot-blooded-with-a-solution one, would then take out PhP200 and give it to the dealer. When you again tries to touch the pieces he would tell you that he made a mistake in the computation. It should be PhP300 but since you’ve given him PhP200 the pot now is raised to PhP500.
- If you bet again, he will do the same thing again until you realize that you are being tricked.
- You, the tricked one, would want to fight for your money back but realizes that there are about 9 abled men around you that are included in the modus operandi, so you will just walk out and never return again.
If you see this type of groups during your travels or everyday lives, avoid them and do not be curious about what they are doing. They are really good extortionists.
Disclaimer: I’m not sure if the people around the chessboard area are extortionists or they’re just a chess club doing their usual knowledge sharing ritual in the park. I just remembered the situation because of the group of people gathered around the chessboard and the placing of the pieces in the board.
Here’s a picture of the placing of the pieces if you want to solve the problem without the risk of running into extortionists.