The rulers in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were different. Traiden and Hiedymin built castles, Voishalk took monastic vows and Yaunut ran barefoot through the snow away from his brothers into the woods. Vitaut dived from a rock into the Black Sea - to confirm the sea's affiliation with the principality - and established diplomatic relations with almost all Western European countries, as well as the Ottoman Empire, the Crimean Khanate and the Moscow lands. Alhierd led a harsh lifestyle, did not drink wine and managed to repel 70 Prussian and 30 Livonian attacks.

Копіі карон вялікіх князёў літоўскіх у палацы князёў ВКЛ у Вільні. Фота:
Copies of the crowns of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania in the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania in Vilnia. Photo:

The path to the throne could be different: simple - through the right of inheritance, or tortuous - through the struggle of political groups and intrigue. The Belarusian and Litvin chess field is a space of the ideal: justice works here - depth of thinking and foresight prevails. Ascends the throne the master, really worth to rule the territories of the principality. The party embodies a noble struggle that begins with the ability to see in the other half of the chess board a respectable opponent.

Кафля з выявай льва і аленя - сімвала барацьбы за ўладу. Полацк, XVII стагоддзе.
Tile with an image of a lion and a deer - symbol of the struggle for power. Polack, 17th century.

The starting position for a kniaź is traditionally the first line from the edge: e1 for whites and e9 for blacks. The kniaź can move one square in any direction, including diagonally. Standing in the center of the field - square e5 (throne), it must hold there at least one move - then its position in the state can be considered stable, and victory in the political struggle - won. During this one move the kniaź may be overthrown from the throne by declaring a rokash. Any other figure in the army is able to protect the ruler from attack: to bring the rebel off the field or to cover the kniaź.

While a kniažyč is fighting on the field next to the kniaź, it is impossible to declare a check to the kniaź.

At any moment of the game, deeming it useful for the common cause, the kniaź may sacrifice himself and leave the kniažyč as a heir.

An additional opportunity to avert danger is a castling: a double passage of the kniaź and the laddzia, between which there are no other figures and attacked squares. The kniaź takes two or three steps towards the laddzia, after which it is rebuilt at an adjacent position on the other side of the kniaź.

The project is in three dimensions

"Belarusian Chess" exists in digital, noble and gift versions. Get to know them.