@MomOnaBreak Chessing in the Luxembourg Gardens

@MomOnaBreak Chessing in the Luxembourg Gardens

RoaringPawn
RoaringPawn
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The idea for this blog came from Olya @MomOnaBreak and her Chess With Benefits post. There she visited Paris and took a chance to play some chess in the Luxembourg Gardens.

From New York's Washington Park, via Belgrade, to Moscow chess players get together to share their passion. How strong their zeal for chess is, is clearly displayed in the three following photos.

Union SquareTwo street warriors. Rain (er, snow), or shine. The Union Square, NYC

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Kalemegdan Park, BelgradeThe Kalemegdan Park, Belgrade

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Chess players, Tsvetnoy Boulevard in MoscowTsvetnoy Boulevard, Moscow, 1950s

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In Paris, it is the Luxembourg Gardens that is chess players' Mecca. Le Jardin has taken over the primacy from the Jardin des Plantes some thirty years ago.

In 1611, Marie de' Medici, the widow of Henry IV and the regent for the King Louis XIII, decided to build a palace in imitation of the Pitti Palace in her native Florence. In 1612 she planted 2,000 elm trees, and directed gardeners to build a park in the style she had known as a child in Italy. The garden today is owned by the French Senate, which meets in the Palace.

Back to the present. And so strolling through the Jardin de Luxembourg one day during her Paris visit, @MomOnaBreak noticed a dozen local men playing chess and soon joined them in play. I made a comment on her blog to which I added the following painting. And it is the point where this story began unfolding... 

Fred Butts (b 1942) Luxembourg Gardens (1986)Fred Butts (1942, American) The Luxembourg Gardens (unfinished), 1986

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Fred is from California. His fascination with impressionism drew him to study painting in France. Using colors pointillistically, with a palette knife, he created the technique he so passionately sought.

After this I looked for more images of the Gardens on the Net. I tweeted them one by one until it became "Une petite série culture échiquéenne à Paris," the way one of Parisians made a remark on Twitter.

Jeu d’échecs au Jardin du Luxembourg en 1986 (Fred Butts)Fred Butts, Jeu d’échecs au Jardin du Luxembourg, 1986

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The following one by Butts has nothing to do with the Gardens, couldn't help but share it with you. 

Your Move, by Fred ButtsFred Butts, Your_Move 

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So here is a tour through the Gardens for you to get a better sense about what kind of place Le Jardin is. Some photos, paintings, drawings follow...

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Le Jardin du Luxembourg, Feb 16, 2017

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Echecs au Jardin du Luxembourg

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Où jouer aux échecs à Paris? Where can one play chess in Paris? asks The Figaro. In the Gardens! It is the place where you can push wood and get instructed by the best chess professors.

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Weather permitting, players gather together in the Gardens (at times there may be more than 200). This place enjoys the world fame: both Grandmasters of chess and passing foreigners know this place & come join the nucleus of regulars and well-known figures who animate the garden

Aurore Texierwork by Aurore Texier

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Jeu d’échecs au jardin du Luxembourg, aquarelle de Harry Boudchicha (né à Paris, 1972)Jeu d’échecs au jardin du Luxembourg, water color by Harry Boudchicha (b. 1972)

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The world #5 Maxime Vachier Lagrave is visiting the Luxembourg Gardens, too. His apartment is near-by and whenever in Paris he goes there for a hike, or a casual game. Here with Grégoire Bedrossian while "preparing" for the 2019 St. Louis Rapid & Blitz.

Blitzing in the Gardens

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The charm that chess players add to the Gardens has not escaped the notice of many filmmakers and advertisers who often like to use the game of chess.

MVL Jardin du Luxembourg

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Guillaume Le Baube, Les joueurs d'echecs au Jardin du LuxembourgGuillaume Le Baube, Les joueurs d'echecs au Jardin du Luxembourg

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Aurore Texier Les joueurs d'échecs au Jardin du LuxembourgAurore Texier, Les joueurs d'échecs au Jardin du Luxembourg

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Chess in the Luxembourg Gardens an oil painting of an unknown artist

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Nick Savides (1988) Chess players (in Paris)Nick Savides, Chess players 

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"As eschecs jouent li plus saige et li viel." says Ch. de Rol. VIII from the 11th century. Chess is played by the wisest and the oldest

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In the above French proverb we see the ancient form of the word chess in French, "eschec" or "eschac" meaning booty (butin Fr = the goods plundered from the enemy in war).

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Chess Game, in Garden of Luxembourg by Virgile Escalant (2015)Chess game in the Garden of Luxembourg, by Virgile Escalant (2015)

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tatiana_bielus Instagram Jardin du Luxembourg 1612 by Marie de' MediciThe players in the Gardens, Tatiana Bielus on Instagram

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The players in the Garden, 1960

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Chess Players, the French style, Le Jardin Du Luxembourg 

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And finally here is Olya @MomOnaBreak playing in the Luxembourg Gardens

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Olya, thanks for the blog idea!