29 May '16, 5am

Checkmate? Purists fight to revive Myanmar's ancient chess

Checkmate? Purists fight to revive Myanmar's ancient chess

YANGON: Gripping a monkey-faced chess piece, Thein Zaw swipes his hand across the chequerboard and topples an advancing demon, demonstrating an ancient form of the game that Myanmar traditionalists are battling to revive. Sittuyin, as Myanmar's unique chess is called, is similar to the modern game but has distinctive pieces as well as moves that echo a time when warriors used it to finetune real fighting strategies. Elephants rampage across the squares, a military general marches in place of the queen and players have creative freedom to arrange many of the pieces as they wish, behind front-line pawns that start almost spear-to-chest. "The game can feel like you are fighting a war," said Thein Zaw, a five-times Myanmar chess champion, during a recent Sittuyin contest in downtown Yangon. His match is combative from the outset, with slain pieces quickly piling up on either s...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/checkmate...

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