Javea Festival – Living Chess performance

Javea’s annual living chess performance (Ajedrez Viviente de Xàbia) was declared a Festival of National Tourism Interest in 2002.

But what exactly is a living chess performance?

If you’re in Javea in the summer month of July, you can’t miss out on this incredible piece of theatre performed by local school children in Javea. 

Also read: Javea Festival

Photo credit: xabia.org

When is the Living Chess performance in Javea?

On the last Saturday in July every year.

Where is the Living Chess performance in Javea?

Performances used to be in the Pabellón Municipal de Deportes, but in 2022 were held on the Avenida de Lepanto in the port of Javea.

What’s the highlight of the Living Chess performance in Javea?

The living chess theatre performance in Javea only takes place on one night – it’s free, so don’t miss it!

Javea’s Living Chess performance

The first Living Chess performance took place in 1996 in Javea.

Though it sounds like it, the performance is not strictly a game of chess. Instead it’s a work of theatre which tells the story of Javea through performers arranged on a chess board.

The first edition in 1996 was part of the annual Festes de la Mare de Déu de Loreto – the port of Javea’s main festival of the year. 

But it was so popular that it’s been held every year since, and since 2002 is a Fiesta de Interés Turístico Nacional.

Every year the performance is different. For example, one year told the story of King James I and his Moorish adversary Al-Azraq, who once controlled castles in the interior of the Marina Alta region even after Valencia and Denia had fallen to the Christians. Another year told the story of pirate attacks on Javea, and in 2022 the theme was a 1475 Valencian poem called ‘the chessboard of love’. 

The living chess performances are typically held at 10:30pm, but are very much family affairs. All of the performers are local school children aged between 6 and 14.

You don’t need a knowledge of chess to enjoy the performance. 

In some years, famous Javea residents like Pedro Duque (the first Spanish astronaut in space), Matías Prats (a well known TV presenter on Agencia 3) and Juan Carlos Ferrero (former ATP world no. 1).
You can find out more about the upcoming Living Chess performance on the official website (in Spanish) http://www.ajedrezvivientexabia.com/.