Brassawe’s piece on playing the game of chess against humans and a computer made me think back to when I too played the game in earlier years; back then I was fascinated not only by the game itself but also by the way it was played in the fair city of Marostica.
It all started in 1454 when the town was a feud of Venice, the Serenissima; two young and ardent noblemen, Vieri da Vallonara e Rinaldo da Angarano, fell in love with the same young damsel Lionora, the daughter of Taddeo Parisio the Chatelain of Marostica; as it was the custom those days a duel to the, almost, death would have settled the score but our Taddeo wanted to keep either of the two from becoming an enemy so he devised a stratagem whereby the winner of the noble game of scacchi (chess) would have had the pleasure of marrying the fair Lionora; italians being italians the loser would have had the pleasure of marrying the fair Oldrada the younger sister (story real or invented, so what?).
To make it a day to remember the game of chess was to be played in the Piazza del Castello in the presence of the various families, the daughters and the citizens....with one peculiar aspect, the king and queen and horses and pawns and all were living people and animals.....the players were of course the two young noblemen......"History" does not record how it ended
Marostica decided in 1954 to re-create the spectacle with the organizers taking inspiration from the most memorable matches in the world history of the game, and play them every two years on the giant board of the Piazza (matches such as the Immortal and the Evergreen); the rules are simple and strict: a minimum of 16 moves to a maximum of 20, the match cannot last much longer than 30 minutes and be highly spectacular, with the pageantry they put on display what else?
A night view
The Kings and Queens arrive
Game is on
Back to a reality tournament