(VOVworld) – Human chess, where people take the place of chess pieces, is a lively war of nerves. Human chess takes place at spring festivals In Binh Dinh province.
In An Nhon township, the cradle of traditional martial arts, human chess matches are held on the 5th and 6th day of the first lunar month.
On a large terrain designed as a chessboard, the game is entering a critical stage accompanied by the sound of drumbeats. A boy dressed in a blue soldier’s uniform is dodging a blow from a girl in a red soldier uniform. Spectators are admiring the skillful martial arts.
An announcer stands in the middle of the chessboard. After each move, he recites a line of poetry or sings a phrase of a song. The important performers are those who play the role of the two Kings. Mr. Quang, a chess expert, told VOV: “The gestures of the Kings vary. When his troops advance and kill an enemy, the King unsheathes his sword to the accompaniment of drumbeats and waving flags. When he is put in check, the King staggers a bit and sings a song of defeat or reserves the situation depending on the strength of his rival’s move”.
The more improvisational the King’s speech is, the better. Verses are taken from poems and classical works, which praise the traditions of the Vietnamese nation.
When spring comes, master martial artist Minh Hoang travels from Hanoi to An Nhon for the human chess matches. He says he not only loves this game but also learns martial arts each time. The 32 human chess pieces are all good at traditional martial arts. Hoang says each army has 7 types of pieces: King, Bishop, Elephant, Rook, Cannon, Knight and Pawn. Each piece has its own way of moving: “Martial arts in human chess has been studied and developed into specific fights. Except for the King, Bishop, and Elephant, the remaining 4 pieces have their own fights, comprised of 81 positions. They are very special and diverse”.
A human chess game is a combination of folklore, folk wisdom and martial arts. Minh Anh, the 8-year-old son of master martial artist Minh Hoang, is excited about watching the game: “I‘ve heard a song about the Trung sisters riding elephants to defeat the enemy. I want to learn chess and martial arts and participate in a human chess game”.
Each game lasts about 2 hours. If there is no winner after 2 hours, organizers hold a drawing to decide the winner. The game ends with a collective martial arts performance by both teams.