Thaychi or Kizhithaddu is a vagourous game, which demands great skill, agility and dexterity of the body and mind. The playing court consists of a block with a frontage of about 30 to 40 feet in length with parallel lines drawn at distances of about 6 feet, thus having several rectangles one below the other. A vertical line is drawn in the middle dividing the rectangles into two smaller rectangles on either side. The number of rectangles could be increased or decreased according to the availability of players.
The players of one team, who, by a form of toss, become “defenders”, will stand on the parallel lines, one on each line to prevent the members of the other team, known as “attackers”, crossing the parallel lines and ultimately crossing the last line. A player who crosses the last line becomes a pazham, a ripe fruit. He could wait at the back of the court till the rest of his team had crossed the last line or he could re enter the court after announcing that he intended to reach the point of departure. If he succeeds in reaching and crossing the first line, he wins a point for his team. If he re enters the court when his team mates, who are known as kay, raw fruit, are still struggling to cross the lines, he should make sure that he does not step into any of the smaller rectangles where one or many of his companions may be locked in; his breaking through the defense will be more difficult as he as well the kay in the other half of the rectangle, will have only a restricted movement to outwit and outplay the defenders. The defender from whom a kay escapes would then turn back and block the pazham from breaking through.
It is to be noted that to break through the defense line the “attacker” has to cross the line without getting tapped by the “defender” while he crosses. One can get tapped only when the attacker is over the line and not before or after he had crossed the line.
There is an important player in the defense who is known as kizhi, a parrot. He has the freedom to move about the court on all the frames and also on the dividing vertical line. If he taps the attacker while the latter crosses or even stands at a “touchable distance,” the attacker would be disqualified and his team would lose. The team becomes then the defending team. Kizhi, however, should take care that while he touches the attacker, he should not step inside the court to reach him. He should always be on the line.
The above process goes on until a certain number of combats decided upon earlier had been carried out. The team that gets the most number of points wins the game.
Needless to say that the game is a vigorous and exhausting one. The crossing of the lines demands much skill, agility and speed. The attacker prances about within the rectangle like a panther in a cage.
Until recently tournaments were conducted regularly in which teams from community centers and sports organizations took part. There were definite rules and regulations governing these events.