Ales Astrowski's chess fundamentally changes the meaning of the game, bringing it closer to the realities of modern politics and the historical truth of the past.
In the late 1990s, Ales Astrowski, MD, professor at Grodno State Medical University, began to create a Belarusian national brand - a souvenir for which visitors would come to our country even from far abroad. After much thinking, chess was chosen as a souvenir.
Ales Astrowski: "You think you need to do something regional for Belarus. And I decided that the usual chess can be replaced by chess made of methacrylate, where a team of bumblebees and bees gather against a team of hornets and wasps. And all these insects inside - they glow and the pieces come to life. And I think, here it is - a great piece to sell as a Belarusian souvenir. And suddenly in a dream... "
In his dream, Ales Astrowski saw an unusual wooden board measuring 9x9 squares instead of the traditional 8x8, each square of which, closer to the centre, rose above the previous one to form an equilateral pyramid. And at the very top is the "throne" - the central square of the chessboard.
Ales Astrowski: "That's the basic idea of this chess game - not to kill each other, as it used to be, but in a much more peaceful and far more relevant way to our reality - to seize power".
And to seize power in the game itself is proposed as follows: two princely dynasties are fighting for the position of the grand duke of the country (as, incidentally, happened more than once in the history of Belarus). And they will be able to take this position if one of the representatives of the clans captures the "throne".
It is true that the presence of the "throne" is what makes this chess unique, radically changing the strategy of the game. In addition, the ancient Belarusian names of the pieces have returned to chess. Thus, "pawn" became "ratnik", "queen" became "hietman", "king" became "kniaź", and "bishop" became "harmata". In addition, a new exotic figure appeared - the "kniažyč" - the heir to the ruler of the state.
Ales Astrowski: "What should be in a democratic state? A ruler deliberately prepares a successor - even in a situation where he has almost no power yet. And the father hands over power beautifully to his son or another successor in the interests of the state".
The final rules, which have been worked on for over 10 years, were published on July 15, 2010, the anniversary of the Battle of Grunwald. You can read them below. Good luck playing Belarusian chess of the past and probably of the future!