Lecture by Eduardo Scala

Lecture by Eduardo Scala: Notes on Castilla y León and the history of the millenarian game. Arévalo, chess global city.

Chess, Alpha-Omega, Temple for every religion with a millenarian history, has deep roots in Castilla y León. In the flag of Castilla y León we can see two castles or rooks with two rampant lions.

The Benedictine Saint Genadio de Astorga is the first saint related to chess. He strongly advised his monks to practice this silent game to reach God through concentration. He died around 936 A.D. in the beautiful river Oza Valley. I dare rename it Chess Valley as it is there where we can behold the famous ivory chessmen kept at the church of Peñalba de Santiago (El Bierzo, León).

Six centuries later the chess player saint, from Ávila, Teresa de Jesús, states that God can only be checkmated with the Queen Humbleness.
Alfonso X El sabio, King of Castilla and León (and Toledo, Galicia, Sevilla, Córdoba, Murcia, Jaén and Algarve) between 1252 and 1284 finished the great work projected in the codex Libro de los juegos de Axedrez, dados y tablas.

Isabel I of Castilla (tanto monta, Catholic Monarchs’ motto) inspires the creation of the poweful piece called queen; Lucena’s book Repetición de amores y arte de axedrez is published in Salamanca in 1497. This is the oldest incunabulum ever, dedicated to the memory of Prince Juan, son to the Catholic Monarchs. Prince Juan, who had died that same year, was probably a chess player as his parents were.

The city of Arévalo, seen from the sky, shows a clear connection with the millenarian game: a rook and a knight on the flag and the tower of the chessboards.

No other place in the world, dedicated to chess, has such an old temple as the San Martín Church, with its Mudejar tower from the 12th century and the symbolic twelve chessboards around its cube. Moreover, in this historical Castilian city we feel the presence of Isabel I. In the background we can see the Castle-Silo, a fortress from the 15th century which keeps the legendary Sissa’s grains of wheat.

Despite the inhabitants of Arévalo, chess players and politicians, all these historical facts make Arévalo the Global City of Chess, a city destined to spread the culture and benefits of the most universal of the games in order to serve our society.

November 29 at 12:30
Venue: Historical building of the University of Salamanca

Free admission /Limited capacity on a first-come basis