Hnefatafl Tournament Planned for Hull in 2017
Sunday, 6th March 2016
Next summer in Hull, England, there will be a live tournament of hnefatafl, the Viking game of skill and strategy. Planned for 17th June 2017, the tournament will take place in the Hull & East Riding Museum.
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Hnefatafl is sometimes referred to as "Viking Chess", though it isn't really a form of chess. While chess was invented in India in the first millennium, hnefatafl was invented in Scandinavia at about the same time, and the two did not meet for several hundred years.
With the help of Hull City Council, arrangements have been made to hold the tournament in the Hull & East Riding Museum. Part of a cluster of museums called the "Museums Quarter", this one holds the city's archaeological collection, which includes some hnefatafl pieces and other mediaeval board gaming material.
The date has been chosen to coincide with the city's "Year of Culture" celebrations. Hull was awarded the UK City of Culture status for 2017, and the hnefatafl tournament is part of a large number of heritage and cultural events that will take part in the city.
Alongside the tournament itself will be an exhibition of the game. It is expected to feature some games from Damian Walker's collection, which include the elusive 1980 York Hnefatafl and the 1965 Breakthru from 3M. The exhibition will also feature wall-mounted displays and information to take away.
Existing hnefatafl players will be interested to note that the Tablut rules will be employed at the tournament. While many tournaments feature modern rules, sometimes formulated specially for their respective tournament, tablut dates back to at least 1732 and Damian Walker believes that they are as close as we will get to the game that the Vikings played. More information about tablut is available elsewhere on this page.
Planning for the event is at an early stage; the 2016 Hnefatafl season has not yet started. But now that a date and venue has been confirmed for the Hull tournament, further details can be put together. More information will be published on this site as it becomes available.