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A living game

  • #1


    Differently of normal game, where it is played with wooden pieces, in the living game it is played with people only human

    This kind of game is very old. For instance, John of Austria celebrated the Lepant victory with a chess game where his servants, with the suitable dresses for the occasion, played a game in a large room on a floor with marble black and white paving stones.

    José Raul Capablanca also played in this way. In this wonderful picture you can see a game played against Herman Steiner in Los Angeles, 1933, Capablanca and Steiner, stay behind, each one with their chessboard. As you can see, they are paying attention about the thigh of the pawns more than the wooden pieces.  

    Position after 12… fxe6 

    Diagram that goes with the picture

    In other previous moment of the same game, that it is seen from the other side of the white ones, the bishop (the one with the bishop hat) just before to retreat to c4, looks the girl that just has moved from c7 to c6. After 10.Bc4, black puts his bishop on d6. Probably this will be the move that will lose the black.

    Position after 9…c6 

    The game is very beautiful. The white ones after weak the black castling sacrifice firstly a rook in a threat without truce sacrifice the other rook in an interesting endgame with checkmate at the other side of the chessboard.



     Video of the game  
    A video of the series “La pasión del ajedrez” where Leontxo García comment this interesting game (in spanish).

    The game commented by Vasily Panov:

    Capablanca i Herman Steiner in a casual game in Los Angeles in 1933


    Another living game between Capablanca and Sir George Thomas played in a London garden, 1936:

     Fragment game Capablanca vs George Thomas


  • #2

    Nice research. Keep up the fine work!
    I love articles on Living Chess.

    Actually, I put out several blog postings on living chess games. The above link, plus Part II  and Part III and this one called HN Pillsbury vs. MR. Rhoda Bowles.

    Since this is a forum and not a blog format, I'll add some more stuff.

    Another interesting living chess exhibition was given at the Pan-Am games in 1945. This event was hosted by the above-mentioned Herman Steiner at his Hollywood club and utilized some actors and starlets of the time. Steiner also participated in the living chess game.

    "Many movie stars attended the special events and the tournament games. A Living Chess Game was won by a team of Reshevsky, Fine, Horowitz, Steiner, Adams and Borochow [after 32 moves]. The defeated Pilnik, Rossetto, Cruz, Araiza and Camarena. The game was played with "living chess pieces" as Earl Carroll girls in white bathing suits were White pieces while Latin American beauties in formal gowns were the Black pieces. Bud [Bill] Williams and Barbara Hale of RKO were the Black king and queen. P. Clagett and Rosanne Murray of MGM were the White king and queen. Linda Darnell announced the moves. A suggestion that each team keep the captured pieces was turned down by the tournament committee!" [Jack Spense]




    Bill Williams, King of the black pieces, takes time out for a comfortable chat with Barbara Hale (left) and Queen of Ceremonies Linda Darnell (right), who announced the moves of the Living Chess Game. [actual caption]
  • #3

    It looks pretty cool! Do the players get to use a miniature board or do they have to play using only the people? As in no analysis board or anything like that.


  • #4



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