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Monday, August 7, 2017

Stan Vaughan and the Kingdom of Ourania: A Chess-Themed Micronation

Credit: micronation wiki

Well, here is something you don't see everyday. Ever heard of the "Kingdom of Ourania"? If you haven't, it's because it's one of those fake nations created by cranks for various reasons - especially to avoid taxes, declare themselves "sovereign", make themselves kings and thus free, and so on. But this particular micronation seems even more bizarre than most.

First, as per its web page on the micronation wiki, it actually claims as its territory a significant part of Antarctica, though it takes some digging to figure it out; there is no map of its alleged territory, perhaps because such a map would make the absurdity even more obvious. It claims a territory of about 1,700,000 square kilometers. That's one big micronation - roughly the size of France, Germany, and Italy combined.

Second, it is led by "His Majesty King Immanuel X Jesus-Izates Mono-Basileus (Christ-os) bar Ab-gar-os au Kamala bar Phraates, Lord of Lords of the Roman Empire". I have a suspicion this might not be his birth name.

Third, it set its sights, apparently, on being, of all things, a chess powerhouse. It issued a call for chess players, offering them land if they agree to play for Ourania in the chess olympiad, and issued a stamp celebrating the secret chess champion of the world, the man with the highest chess rating ever -- Stan Vaughan. Well, according to himself, anyway; in reality, he is a crank who believes himself to be world chess champion, the "real" successor to the famous Robert "Bobby" Fischer, a claim accepted by nobody but himself, among other reasons because his actual chess level is at best that of a good amateur.

The truly absurd thing here is, Vaughan's Ourania "stamp" is actually based on a real stamp. Somehow, Stan Vaughan was chosen by Burundi to be featured as one of four "chess masters" on a set of stamps it issued (picture from this link), together with those of the genuine chess champions Emanuel Lasker, Paul Morphy, and Alexandra Kosteniuk:

Credit: "Chess for all Ages" blog

Ourania may be the weirdest micronation ever, and that's saying something.

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