Do you like chess? And hnefatafl? The last word is not a mistake, but the name of an ancient Scandinavian board game, much like the modern pastime of grandmasters. In fact, there are many logic duels in the world that resemble in one way or another Ostap Bender's favourite sport. Japanese shogi with hieroglyphics, Byzantine round chess, Indian chaturanga and Chinese xiangqi, which can be played in threes, are just a few examples. Not so long ago, thanks to the efforts of the PRAS art studio, a Belarusian version of the famous game – Belarusian and Litvin chess - appeared. We talked to the studio's director Mikalaj Tamaszevicz about the history of their creation.
The first thing that catches your eye when you look at the board of Belarusian and Litvin chess is the difference in size from the classical version: a nine by nine square (in the classical version it is eight by eight). In the very centre is the "throne", a square surrounded by a "palace", a five by five square. The 'palace' and the 'throne' are made in the form of steps that rise above the board like a pyramid.
— Professor Ales Astrowski of Grodno Medical University literally dreamt about this chess in the late 1990s, says Mikalaj Tamaszevicz. - At night he imagined a team of bumblebees and bees confronting wasps and hornets on just such a platform. The biological education of Ales must have influenced his choice of characters. At that time I was working for "Zvyazda" newspaper, searching for interesting materials for the "Zvyazdarynachka" column, and I came across a picture of this chess on the Internet. We met with Ales Astrowski and decided to work on the game together. Being more familiar with chess strategy and tactics, I suggested some changes to the rules and concept, after which we set about making the board and pieces.