Hnefatafl: the Game of the Vikings

Grandmaster Peter Kelly Passes Away

Sunday, 30th November 2014

Peter Kelly, one of the most active proponents of hnefatafl, has passed away aged 75 after a long illness. A resident of Fetlar, one of the Shetland Islands of Scotland, Peter promoted the game and the island, making both better known around the world.

Peter's hnefatafl project was begun in 2007, with the formation of the Fetlar Hnefatafl Panel. Their objective was to create a standard set of rules for competition play, and to publicise them worldwide. This was achieved, and as Peter acknowledged, "people from Australia to Norway and the USA to England have adopted the FHP rules."

Most famously the rules were used on Fetlar itself, for the annual "World Quickplay Hnefatafl Championship". The success of this tournament in its first three years inspired other tournaments, including the English Regional Hnefatafl Tournament which has run for two years so far.

Peter was very active in promoting, encouraging and publicising hnefatafl play. After getting much of the population of Fetlar hooked on the game, he travelled around the Shetlands holding events to promote the game among children of all ages. And through the web he passed his enthusiasm on to a worldwide audience. In 2013 he helped to bring the game to UK television screens, when the BBC programme Countryfile visited Fetlar.

Peter has left behind a game more popular and well-known than he found it. His example, of organising on an island of fifty people a tournament that has become familiar to players around the world, has inspired others in more accessible locations to do the same. They are helped by the rules he has created and publicised. His efforts in have earned him the gratitude of hnefatafl players everywhere, and the well-deserved title of Grandmaster.


Thank you for this kind tribute to my husband Peter Kelly.

Janet Kelly - 12:15, 06/12/2014

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