21 March 2006

Chuko Games and Bakiev and Kulov

We stumbled on a chuko bone game being played. I was very pleased since the only games I had ever seen were because I asked people to show me how to play. This was a variation on the most common way to play- basically, trying to knock bones out of a circle.

There were two teams, red and white. The red team had younger players. They took turns throwing large bones (we were guessing yak bones; you can see the difference in size in the second picture where the larger bone is in the lower right hand corner) to knock the smaller sheep bones out of the circle. It seemed that if someone knocked a sheep bone out but was able to keep their yak bone in, they could go into the middle to knock bones out by hand- obviously a lot easier. The picture above shows this. One you'd placed your left foot, you had to keep it there. Each team would collect the bones (fourth picture) it knocked out and whoever knocked out the most won. The last picture is of the beginning of a game where all the bones are put in a small circle in the middle of the much larger circle.

In the middle of one of the games, Bakiev and Kulov walked by. Everyone else had been told to walk around the game, but when their huge group of suited men came by, they marched right through the game. Although they were careful not to kick any of the bones. The game went on afterwards.

There were many older men watching, calling out advice and even throwing out a bone every so often. It was fun to watch.

I went back with my younger son to watch some more while my husband and older son checked on shashlyk. While I was standing there, a reporter from the local news station starting talking to me- if I knew what they were playing, about the bones, etc. I told him about my interest in the game and then they interviewed me. They also asked if I thought these games were being lost, which was nice since they are and that bothers me. Too bad our TV doesn't pick up that channel anymore.

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