Bashni (башни - "Towers"), also called Stolbovye Shashki (Столбовые шашки - Column Checkers), is a variant of Russian Checkers. The Russian name of the game is often incorrectly transcribed as Bashne or even Bashnya.
The game was first mentioned in 1875 by V. Viskotivitov (Moscow) in a book about Russian boardgames. Ten years later the famous Russian chess historian D. I. Sargin wrote a short article on Bashni for the magazine Raduga ("Rainbow"). Some famous chess masters also loved Bashni, e.g. Emanuel Lasker and Mikhail Chigorin. Nonetheless, the game almost became forgotten. In 1985, Mikhal Rotchin and Alexey Gavrilov started to revive the game in Russia.
Today the game is extremely popular in St. Petersburg. There are clubs and tournaments in Russia (St. Petersburg, Moscow) and the Ukraine. The game has also some very talented followers in the west, such as Benedikt Rosenau (Germany) who might be the best player outside Russia.
Bashni was first described in the west by Heinz Machatscheck in his book Stein um Stein, Exotik der Brettspiele (Verlag Neues Leben, Berlin (German Democratic Republic)) in 1984. Afterwards, Peter Michaelson, a Lutheran pastor in Dronningborg (Denmark), tried to spread the game in his country, but largely without success. In the early 2000s, Bashni was extensively covered in the Canadian magazine Abstract Games. Today it can be played online on igGameCenter, where it attracted numerous western players too.
The rules are almost the same as for Russian Checkers.
The only difference between Bashni and Russian Checkers is that instead of pieces being removed from the board when they are jumped, they are placed under the piece that jumped them, forming a "column". A column is under the control of the player whose piece is on top, and has the move and jump capabilities of that piece (so that, for instance, a column with a Black officer on top is under Black's control, and can move and jump in either direction.) If a column is itself jumped, only the top piece is removed to go under the column doing the jumping.
Anatholy Zbardg (Ukraine) – Sergey N. Ivanov (Moscow, Russia)
(1) c3-d4 f6-e5 (2) d4xf6 e7xg5 (3) g3-f4 d6-c5 (4) f4-e5 f6xd4 (5) f2-g3 d4xf2xh4 (6) h2-g3 h4xf2 (7) g1xe3 g5-f4 (8) e3xg5 g7-f6 (9) g5xe7 f8xd6 (10) f4-e5 d6xf4 (11) d2-e3 f4xd2 (12) c1xe3 b6-a5 (13) e3-f4 e7-f6 (14) f4-e5 f6xd4 (15) d2-c3 c5-b4 (16) a3xc5xe3 d8-e7 (17) e3xc5 d4xb6 (18) f2-e3 e5-d4 (19) c3xe5 c7-d6 (20) e5xc7 b8xd6 (21) c7xe5 e7-f6 (22) e5xg7 h6xf8 (23) d6xb4 c5xa3xc1+ (24) e3xg5 f4xh6 (25) g5-f6 b4-c3 (26) e1-f2 c3-d2 (27) f2-g3 d2-c1+ (28) White resigns.
General web sites
- Stolbovye Shashki on Russian Wikipedia
- Bashni on BoardGameGeek
- Bashni on mindsports.nl
- Bashni at World of Abstract Games
- Bashni at Giochi di Tavoliere (Italian)
- Bashni at gambler.ru (Russian)