Chess archery challenge at Horntye
With the Battle of Hastings firmly in mind, chess and archery have joined forces to present a new sporting challenge: chess archery. Nick Terdre reports.
In celebration of the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, archers from the Bayeux Bowmen will team up with local chess players for a novel chess archery contest to be held at Horntye Park Sports Complex.
Chess archery, the brainchild of Stewart Reuben, international consultant to the Hastings International Chess Congress (HICC), underwent a test run at Horntye Park last year, which was deemed a success. The forthcoming event, at 2pm on Thursday 27 October, will be an official world premier open to the public.
Two teams comprised of archers and chess players will compete against each other. Over the chess board, International Master and Wales international, Francis Rayner will face Woman FIDE Master, Rasa Norinkevicuite from Lithuania; both are members of Hastings and St Leonards Chess Club. Each will be teamed with four archers wielding different types of bow – recurve, compound, longbow and horsebow – from the Bayeux Bowmen club.
Each chess player nominates the type of piece he or she wants to play – a pawn, for example. One of their archer team mates then has to take aim at a target divided into segments representing the different types of chessman – in this case they have to hit a pawn. If they do, the chess player can make their planned move. If they hit another type of piece, that’s the one that has to be moved on the chessboard.
So, depending on the accuracy of the bowmen, the chess player can either conduct the game as planned in their head, or find themselves improvising madly.
Given the unhappy way Harold is believed to have met his fate, the link between Hastings and archery hardly needs pointing out. But less well-known outside the chess fraternity is that William the Conqueror was a chess player, as was his nephew, Louis the Fat, as HICC’s Pam Thomas points out.
So it was historically fitting when the first edition of the now world-famous Hastings Chess Congress took place in 1895, attracting some of the world’s greatest players and laying the foundation of a tradition that continues today; the next tournament will take place as usual over the New Year, also at Horntye.
Meanwhile the annual Maureen Charlesworth Chess Challenge was held earlier this month at the White Rock Hotel. First prize went to Rohit Sahu from Pestalozzi Village while the junior section was won by Ben Power of Hastings.
Chess Archery Contest Starts 2pm on Thursday 27 October at Horntye Park Sports Complex, Bohemia Rd, Hastings TN34 1EX. Admission free. Further information from Pam Thomas, PR Officer, Hastings International Chess Congress, on email@example.com.
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