Every two years, the Italian
village of Marostica presents La Partita a Scacchi a Personaggi Viventi
which translates into the English language
as Chess With Live People
. Now played in even years during the month of September, the pageant dates back to 1454. The original chess match came about due to a classic love triangle
between two noblemen
and a princess
. The contesting men were ready to go to war
to press their suits
when the father of the princess acted. Rather than see bloodshed, he decreed that a chess match would be played with the winner marrying his daughter, to which all parties agreed.
The match takes place on a giant chess board beneath the castle with all the pageantry a tourist starved town can muster. Typically, an archer launches a flaming arrow from the castle parapets to land in the middle of the giant chess board to indicate the start of the match. A classic chess match is then played with the pieces consisting of human beings wearing medieval livery corresponding to the black and white chess pieces.
The 2002 edition of La Partita a Scacchi a Personaggi Viventi presents the classic chess match, The Immortal Game played by Adolf Anderssen against Lionel "nobody remembers my first name" Kieseritzky in 1851. In the match, Anderssen mates Kieseritzky who has all his pieces save three pawns, while the winning Anderssen is down a queen, both rooks, and a bishop.
Marostica is located midway between Vicenza and Venice, near Bassano del Grappa (which makes some pretty mean grappa).