Swordplay in Slovakia

7/17/2013 – Deep in Slovakia, in the midst of a volcanic caldera, lies Banska Stiavnica. This medieval town is a World Heritage Site and for the last years has hosted a spectacular live chess event as a part of its medieval summer festivities. While GM Sergey Mosvesian and GM Jan Markos fought on a board, the live pieces enacted sword fights for the audience. Don't miss this beautiful pictorial.

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Swordplay in Slovakia

By Milan Maros

Deep in Slovakia, in the midst of a volcanic caldera, lies the beautiful town of Banska Stiavnica. It is a completely preserved medieval town, and because of their historical value, the town and its surroundings were proclaimed by the UNESCO to be a World Heritage Site in 1993.

Banska Stiavnica - a mouthful if you are not from the area, but a place worth adding
to your list of noteworthy vacation spots.

There they organized the 2013 International Championship of Slovakia, an open that attracted over 170 players, that was won by the Canadian IM Tomas Krnan. Not being Solvakian, the title of 2013 Slovak Champion was won by GM Peter Michalik while Eva Repkova became the Slovak Women Champion.

The playing hall of the International Championship of Slovakia

Final ranking after nine rounds

Rk
Tit
Name
Fed
Rtg
Pts.
Perf
1
IM
Krnan Tomas
CAN
2411
7.5
2644
2
GM
Banusz Tamas
HUN
2588
7.0
2640
3
GM
Michalik Peter
SVK
2579
7.0
2585
4
GM
Markos Jan
SVK
2580
7.0
2580
5
Repka Christopher
SVK
2361
7.0
2442
6
IM
Cernousek Lukas
CZE
2454
7.0
2447
7
IM
Nagy Gabor
HUN
2449
7.0
2463
8
GM
Petrik Tomas
SVK
2512
6.5
2459
9
IM
Bokros Albert
HUN
2439
6.5
2439
10
IM
Leniart Arkadiusz
POL
2473
6.5
2403
11
FM
Korpa Bence
HUN
2308
6.5
2398
12
FM
Vojtek Vladimir
SVK
2278
6.5
2367
13
IM
Lanc Alois
SVK
2369
6.5
2233
14
GM
Fodor Tamas Jr.
HUN
2455
6.5
2394
15
FM
Gledura Benjamin
HUN
2421
6.5
2313
16
GM
Plachetka Jan
SVK
2355
6.0
2401
17
IM
Pacher Milan
SVK
2455
6.0
2391
18
IM
Aczel Gergely
HUN
2451
6.0
2355
19
Nemeth Denes
HUN
2257
6.0
2407
20
IM
Repkova Eva
SVK
2374
6.0
2310
21
GM
Talla Vladimir
CZE
2394
6.0
2232
22
GM
Manik Mikulas
SVK
2412
6.0
2311

The town, true to its reputation, organized a medieval festival including simuls by GM Sergey Mosvesian and GM Jan Markos as well as a spectacular livechess event.

The festivities start with the actors, all dressed in medieval-style clothing, arriving
in procession.

Ample bleachers were provided for the spectators who would soon be in full throng

One of the fighters accepts his weapon

En guarde!

The court jester

"Observe carefully as I make this ball disappear and come out of your ear"

Medieval damsels awaiting their knights

There were even concerts of era music including instruments.
We know you were studying the instruments, right?

The first simul starts in the town square

Sergey Movsesian gave the first simul

GM Jan Markos gave the other

Milan Maros (Tournament director) and GM Jan Markos at the town square

In such circumstances how could a child help but fall in love with the game?

GM Sergej Movsesian became the king of the Live Chess event, which took place on July 13. In the first match both players, GM Jan Markos and GM Sergej Movsesian, played a blindfold game. What made it especially impressive was that each of their moves was then enacted by the living pieces (actors) and when one player captured his opponent’s piece, there was a fight among the pieces using historical weapons (swords). The game ended in a draw and therefore both players continued with a blitz game played at three minutes with two seconds increment on a normal chess board which was won by Movsesian.

While they played a game using a normal board...

...the action raged.

When a piece was captured, a duel was fought out by the live pieces

Die you vile pawn!

Chess would be an easy TV sell if it always looked like this

For the grandmasters, the visuals were a bit more sedate

They still loved it, and probably never heard so many OHs
and AHs from their moves before

The Armenian GM has taken part in every edition of this event with the sole exception of 2011. He won against GM Stohl (2005), GM Navara (2006), GM Hracek (2007) and GM Markos (2008). In 2009 the live chess game was not played due to bad weather, then in 2010 he lost to GM Hikaru Nakamura in the blitz game, and last year he lost to GM Zoltan Almasi. This year he successfully regained the chess throne.

At last a king's demise was sounded...

... and a new king was crowned.

Well over a thousand spectators watched the show

After the event Movesesian commented that he loved this event and if possible, would come here again next year. He pointed out that even in Armenia where chess is the national sport, no such event is organized and he is unaware of any other in the world with such a level of organization.

Children gaped as further medieval spectacles took place

Pyrotechnical shows

Fire breathers

Beautiful dancers...

...concluded the show with an art of seductive swaying that is no longer common.

Admittedly dancing like this to Gangnam Style might require some adjustments

Photos by Marian Garai


Links

The games are being broadcast live on the official web site and on the chess server Playchess.com. If you are not a member you can download a free Playchess client there and get immediate access. You can also use ChessBase 12 or any of our Fritz compatible chess programs.


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