Il Vaticano refers to a hoax orchestrated by the subreddit /r/AnarchyChess, where participants discuss and make memes about a special move named "Il Vaticano." The supposed special move involves two bishops flanking two chess pieces on either side and switching positions with each other as a means of capturing the middle pieces. The hoax began in late December 2023, with Redditor MidnightFireworks being the earliest creator to discuss the move on December 20th. The subreddit /r/AnarchyChess often creates hoax chess moves, sometimes bolstered by the inclusion of the "En Passant," a real although uncommon chess move involving pawns.
On December 20th, 2023, Redditor /u/MidnightFireworks posted a graphic to /r/AnarchyChess showing the normal and "special" moves of various chess pieces, with the pawn's special move being the "En Passant" and the bishop's special move supposedly being the "Il Vaticano." The post gathered over 7,000 upvotes in over a month (seen below).
The replies to the aforementioned post contained various theories on how the move originated, with Redditor /u/HylianPikachu posting a comment speculating about the origin of the supposed move (seen below, left). On December 22nd, 2023, Redditor /u/KnewAgedMancHind posted a screenshot of an unknown user asking /r/chess if Il Vatcano is a real move. The post gathered over 14,000 upvotes in over a month (seen below, right).
On December 22nd, Redditor  /u/Quarterdillon posted another theory about the origins of the supposed move in the replies to the aforementioned post (seen below, left). On December 23rd Redditor /u/TheHayLord posted a image to /r/AnarchyChess, showing how two rooks can be utilized to "block" the supposed Il Vaticano move. The post gathered over 2,000 upvotes in over a month (seen below, right).
Also on December 23rd, Redditor /u/kamiland posted an image containing various memes popular on the /r/AnarchyChess subreddit, including a knight-rook wearing Deal With It glasses, a set-up for the "en passant" pawn move, a castled king and the Il Vaticano. The post gathered over 8,000 upvotes in over a month (seen below, left). On December 30th, Redditor /u/DaStalkingBiscuit posted an image of a chessboard alongside the caption, "shit shit shit guys I accidentally performed Il Vaticano on my king and queen, how do I undo this???" The post gathered over 5,000 upvotes in over a month (seen below, right).
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