Chess match with live pieces in Banská Bystrica square won by Hungarians

Knights’ duels, fire from muskets and cannons, medieval songs, and in particular a live chess match with pieces in period clothing dominated Banská Bystrica’s SNP Square on July 5.

Chess figurines parade through the main square in Banská Bystrica.  Chess figurines parade through the main square in Banská Bystrica. (Source: TASR)

Knights’ duels, fire from muskets and cannons, medieval songs, and in particular a live chess match with pieces in period clothing dominated Banská Bystrica’s SNP Square on July 5.

A prestigious chess game between the city and the Hungarian town of Visegrád was won by the southern neighbours, but the result was not the crucial thing, the ČTK newswire was told by organiser Peter Danáš.

On what was probably Slovakia’s biggest chess-board – 13 by 13 metres – live figurines from a Visegrád historical ensemble fought for victory; in subsequent games Slovak actors played. The audience could also watch live chess with a script set in advance, in which, for instance, Banská Bystrica’s mayor played against the Turkish governor of the Fiľakovo sandjak. “This game of 20 moves, with a pre-set outcome, is purely a scripted staging,” Danáš noted.

Several hundred people appraised the performance of individual figurines during moves. After each piece was ‘taken’, a duel or a shooting followed, and subsequently the figurine was escorted form the chess-board by two armigers. The history of live chess in Europe dates back to the eighth century, when the Frankish majordomo Charles Martel reportedly used to play it. Currently, these performances are probably most popular in southern European countries, in particular Italy, France, and Spain.

Visitors to Banská Bystrica were able to enjoy the art and costumes of more than two hundred performers from six countries: Slovakia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Italy, France, and Russia.

Top stories

News digest: Salvator pharmacy will resume its original function

Bratislava marks the 280th anniversary of Maria Theresa's coronation, what to do with unwanted books, and decommissioning a former nuclear plant might take longer than planned.


12 h
A huge scale model of Banská Štiavnica.

Weekend: Bratislava is all set for summer

Meet Ukrainian cinematographer Leonid Burlaka through a screen, explore Slovak science, or hop on historical trams.


13 h
Slovakia's former UN youth delegate Petra Pauerová.

The UN is only as good as we are, says Slovakia's former UN youth delegate

Petra Pauerová, a university student, talks about her experience as a UN youth delegate.


21 h
SkryťClose ad