Wodjenski crafts social distancing Chess board
Interacting with loved ones and friends is a complicated matter these days.
With stay-at-home and social distancing orders in place, getting together for game nights, dinners and general visits is not possible.
When Ryan Wodjenski of New Milford heard his 14-year-old twin nephews, Madox and Saxton Wodjenski, missed visiting him and participating in activities together, he jumped into action.
Ryan made a large-scale Chess board he and his nephews can play outdoors while still adhering to social distancing guidelines.
“They thought it was really cool,” Ryan said of his nephews’ reaction when they saw the board. “They lit up pretty good.”
Ryan’s family and his nephews and their parents, Ryan’s brother, Michael, and his wife Li Agen, have already played the game a few times.
The families live on adjoining properties.
Ryan crafted the board, its pieces and two long sticks with hooks that can move the pieces on the board.
The board is made out of a 4x4 plywood and features six-inch squares, half of which are stained walnut to match one of the sticks.
The board is hinged in the center and handholds on the outside of the board make it easy to pick up and store.
The pieces range from 6 to 13 inches in height.
For example, a king is about 13 inches tall and a rook is about 6.5 inches tall.
All pieces are moved with a hook on the end of the stick. And markers indicate a safe distance for everyone to be around the board.
“This will be great,” Ryan said he thought as he began crafting the set.
But as the project moved along, he acknowledged the time invested.
“It was a lot more involved than I anticipated,” Ryan said, noting it took about 40 hours to make.
“After spending all this time on it, I realize I should have made Checkers,” he quipped. “It would have been a lot easier.”
The Chess board was a surprise for Ryan’s nephews.
“They were shocked and awed,” Agen said of her sons’ reaction to the game. “As soon as they saw, they realized how much work he had put into it and they were just flabbergasted.”
Since Wodjenski couldn’t throw a football or play baseball with the boys, he find an alternative “safe” activity, Agen said.
“I thought it was amazing,” Agen said. “It’s so clever and he put so much thought into it.”
Wodjenski debuted his latest addition — Checkers pieces — to the family Sunday afternoon.