The world's biggest chess game – possibly by far

8/29/2009 – The chess board is 1200 x 1200 feet in size, with squares measuring 150 feet and pieces 30 to 60 feet in size. The best place to view the action is from the Kyffhäuser Monument in Thuringia, Germany, from an elevation of 1500 feet. The opponents are IM Elisabeth Pähtz, Germany's top female player, and an Internet community that votes every morning at 10 a.m. on their move. You can join in.

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The world's biggest chess game

The Kyffhäuser-Denkmal (Kyffhäuser Monument) is also known as the Barbarossa-Denkmal (Barbarossa Monument) or the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Denkmal (Kaiser Wilhelm Monument) and stands on the summit of the Kyffhäuser Mountain at an elevation of over 1,574 feet (500 metres), near Bad Frankenhausen in the state of Thuringia in central Germany. The monument itself is 265 feet (80 metres) tall and was built at the end of the 19th Century in 1890-96 and features a 22 foot (6.5 metres) tall sandstone figure of the medieval Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I von Hohenstaufen, better known as Barbarossa, with a bronze equestrian statue of Kaiser William I above him. The tower itself is topped by a huge imperial crown, which can be reached by visitors by climbing a 247-step stairway. From there you have an excellent panoramic view of the surrounding countryside.

There is a tradition of building giant field images in front of the Kyffhäuser Monument, to attract even more tourists. This year the image was of a truly gigantic chess board measuring 400 x 400 metres (1200 x 1200 feet) on its side. It was built on a harvested field in full view of the monument.


A tractor maps out the chessboard


...which is almost complete


After that the pieces are formed out of white and red plastic sheets


This is a red (= black) rook, with the Kyffhäuser Monument in the background


A view of the finished chessboard from the monument


A close-up view


An ariel view of the monument and the giant chessboard

Since August 17, 2009, Germany's strongest female player, IM Elisabeth Pähtz, is playing a game on this giant chessboard. Her opponents are a virtual chess community voting for their moves on the Internet. This can be done up to 10:00 a.m. every day. Elisabeth then has time until 4 p.m. to play her move. With each move the pieces are adjusted on the chessboard. You can watch the game on a web cam here:


Click on the image to go to the live web cam page

Elisabeth Pähtz (photo above by Frank Hoppe) was born on January 8th 1985 in Erfurt, Germany. She is the daughter of GM Thomas Pähtz. At the age of nine she won the U11 German Championship, then became the runner up in the European and World Championships. In 2002 she won the Youth World Championship and in 2005 the Junior World Championship. Here's a ChessBase report on that feat.

Here is the game so far:

Virtual opponents - Paehtz,Elisabeth [E05]
Kyffhaeuser Game, 29.08.2009
1.d4 e6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nf3 d5 4.g3 Be7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 dxc4 7.Qc2 a6 8.a4 Bd7 9.Qxc4 Bc6 10.Nc3 b5 11.Qd3 b4 12.Nb1 Be4

The virtual opponents of Elisabeth Pähtz stand to win ten Fritz 11 chess programs and ten season tickets for the Kyffhäuser Monument. They can also win a place in a simultaneous exhibition by Elisabeth, to be played at the monument on September 12th at 11:00 a.m.


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