Nha Trang Travel Blog› entry 71 of 94 › view all entries
On my Vietnam Airline flight into Nha Trang, the inflight magazine Heritage published an interesting story about human chess. I recognized it as the unfamiliar game that I had seen here last year. Like then, a match will be played today and tomorrow (the second and third days of Tet). As I made a bicycle sweep around the block in a random 'Activity Check' I noticed the canvas 'board' being rolled out in front of the stage on the April 2 Square. While I lingered, colorful flags were set up, two side-board towers were jockeyed into position, and a cyclo arrived with a delivery of blue adult-sized plastic chairs. The cyclo driver did not understand my off-beat remark about checkers.
I wished that I had kept the Heritage issue.
The game in Vietnam adheres to the general rules of Chinese chess and varies slightly from western chess, though the intended goal is the same. The board itself is of a different size with different pieces including guards and cannons. Sixteen players on each side wear traditional red or blue costumes marked with a Chinese character to identify a certain chess piece.
When I returned in the evening, the game was in progress.
An emcee in traditional golden dress, possibly the referee, announced results of the battles and marked them on a large board up on the stage so that everyone could see how the game was going. Were it not for that board, the entire game would be played in two dimension from eye level.