The Chess Art Thread


How great is Dylan Thomas !!!!!!!!!


I do a bit of photography. Here's a shot I took a couple weeks ago for an online contest...

Copyright 2008 Keith McFarland


Beautiful shot guru #:)


Chris Dimino  "Magnifying Glass Chess Set"


Washington Square Park Tables



With the passion of a sinner who had found religion, I pored over any chess paraphernalia I could get my hands on, hoping, with each page, to unearth the deepest mysteries of the game.  I pestered my dad (who now lived in New York and who I got to see once a week) to buy me chess books and I studied them with missionary zeal, imprinting on my mind patterns and ideas, subtle strategies and crushing blows for use against future unsuspecting opponents.  The many technical terms--isolani, intermezzo, zugzwang, to name a few--became as familiar to me as balls, strikes, and home runs in a baseball game, and I learned to rattle off the names of the greatest players from times past--Emanuel Lasker, Alexander Alekhine, Vasily Smyslov, Bobby Fischer--as easily I could talk about Joe Dimaggio, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and the legendary Babe Ruth.

After learning chess notation, a system of letters and numbers that allows players to record each game played, I was able to review some of the grandest moments in chess history:  Wilhelm Steinitz vs. Curt von Bardeleben in 1895, where World Champion Steinitz, playing the white pieces, chased Bardeleben's king back and forth the way a cat would a mouse, all the while leaving his own pieces precariously hovering on a line that divided existence and nothingness, before his opponent, humiliated by the endless string of attacks, left the scene without admitting to the inevitable defeat; Jose Raul Capablanca vs. Frank Marshall in 1918, where Capablanca, facing a ferocious new idea that his opponent had spent years devising, defended like a master fencer, ducking and parrying before turning the point on his demoralized adversary; or Bent Larsen vs. Borris Spassky in 1970, where a black pawn broke free from its normal plodding life, raced down the board like Carl Lewis chasing gold at the Olympics, and broke into the ranks of the white army with devastating effect, a tiny H-bomb creating chaos, despair, and, finally death.

The games of the grandmasters were artistic, symphonic, exciting, and brutal all rolled into one.  While other teenagers wanted to follow the old commercial and Be Like Mike (as in Michael Jordan), I wanted to be like another Mike, Mikhail Tal of Latvia, the greatest tactical genius who ever lived.  His games were bench-clearing brawls.  While many of his contemporaries slowly maneuvered for position, trying to induce a slight weakness that they could massage to slow but sure victory, Tal was consumed by the ever-present compulsion to attack.  His pieces moved like sharks sniffing blood in the water.  His games were thrilling, intoxicating, and vicious, like boxer Mike Tyson in his prime.  While Tal's moves were not always mathematically accurate (computers have since shown that he made his share of mistakes), his opponents would get lost in the hurricane of complex possibilities and naked aggression.  At age twenty-three, his audacious style catapulted him to the very top of world chess, making him the youngest world champion in history.

I would replay his games late into the night, my head swirling from the chaos and brazenness of his moves.  I felt as though I were watching the legendary battles of King Arthur:  bishops slicing the board like blazing arrows, knights trampling the enemy underfoot, kings being ripped from their castles and dragged to the middle of the village square to face the executioner.  I dreamed of playing games like that, Maurice Ashley vs. some-top-Russian, where my best moves would dazzle like jewels before my opponent's eyes and leave grandmasters wondering what genius created such a masterpiece.  Through Tal's inspiration, and with the passion of a young man who had found his calling, I eventually decided that I wanted to--had to--one day become an international grandmaster.

That goal altered the course of my life in many fundamental ways.  For one, my circle of friends shrank.  Unintentionally, I built up a wall against my old acquaintances who had begun swimming in the direction of a strong seductive current, where drugs, money, violence, jail, and, in a few sad instances, death were patiently waiting downstream.  The shock of yet another teenage companion being arrested often left me cold and numb; all I could do was shake my head;

My mother, who at the time had no idea what future there could be in chess, appreciated how it kept me out of trouble, knowing that wherever I was, a chessboard or chess book was probably not far away.  The friends I kept were mostly chess players, and we spent more Friday nights than I care to count locked in combat until the sun woke us from our spell.  Even my choice of girlfriends was limited since most were not interested in playing second fiddle to a board game.

While I lost many friends my age, I gained many more who were older.  As I sought out the best players I could find, I would frequent the venerable Marshall and Manhattan Chess Clubs, play in local chess tournaments, and visit nearby parks.  It was at the chess tables in Prospect Park, the largest in Brooklyn, where I would meet a group of Black chess players who took the game seriously, men in their twenties and thirties who religiously played chess every day after work and all day on the weekends.  Although they played chess for money, they were not hustlers; the money was a way of keeping random pretenders from calling next game on the most competitive tables.

I watched with fascination as George "The Fire Breather" Golden battled William "The Exterminator" Morrison in speed chess, marveling at how hands could dart about with the alacrity and precision of a concert pianist when all the moves of the game had to be played in less than five minutes per side and often in under one second per move.

There were others: Ernest Steve Colding, who loved to sing "I Feel Good" by James Brown when he had you by the throat; Chris Welcome, who would blow cigarette smoke over the board when the game started to turn against him; Herminion Baez, the instigator, who made sure you knew what negative chess-playing rumors were being spread about you, including the ones he himself might have started.

There was also Ronnie Simpson, closest to me in age, who noted my enthusiasm and took me under his wing, our many skirmishes hardened me for international competition in the years ahead.  And Willie Johnson, nicknamed Pop because he had a child as a teenager, who spotted my talent early and became like a surrogate father to me, giving me time, advice, and even money whenever he saw I needed a little help.

Only later would I realize their importance to me as role models.  They made it cool for me to pursue chess as an intellectual activity, which was not popular in our community.  Their enormous respect for book knowledge validated all the time I spent studying.  Being Expert-level players and viciously competitive, they provided me with a goal to shoot for.  I hungered to get better, if only to beat every last one of them, an impulse they welcomed.  The age difference also worked in my favor:  The adult male contact that I lacked as a child was no longer an issue.  I was growing as a chess player and learning how to be a man, all at the same time.

With chess being such an international game, it sparked in me an interest in world affairs, a desire to travel, and the wish to learn various languages.  I would read about chess tournaments in exotic locales and dreamily wonder what the city, country, and people were like.  At local chess tournaments I would meet players from Russia, England, Germany, France, Colombia, Nigeria, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Barbados--literally scores of countries where chess had taken root over the years.  I befriended and grew to respect a variety of people--whites, Jews, Latinos, Asians--in a way that was highly unlikely for someone from my background.  This was a respect born from a common interest, a shared love for a game that created an instant, enduring connection.

Chess also opened my eyes to the empowering nature of books.  If I wanted to explore key variations in the Caro Khan Defense, practice manifold ways to deliver checkmate, or study the finer nuances of rook endgames, there was always a book to satisfy my need.  I would get excited when I read a chapter from a book one day and, soon after, apply what I had learned against one of my friends.  Unlike at school, where the information studied promised applicability in some far-off future but often seemed virtually irrelevant, almost every chess book I studied produced quick rewards.  I could feel myself getting stronger, more knowledgeable on a daily basis.  That instructive quality of books opened my eyes: after that, whenever I had an interest--languages, martial arts, weight lifting--I would invariably search for the best book I could find before physically practicing the thing itself.


From:  Chess for Success by Maurice Ashley


"Mexican Bone and Cedar Chess Set"  Ty's collection


"Cambodian/Thai Chess Set"  Ty's Collection


"Cambodian/Thai Chess Set"  Ty's Collection


my poem about chess that was used to make the same-named video that you've all had the opportunity to see...

Squares of Black and White

At last they meet,
again and again –
on the eldest of all battlefields

Armies equal,
armies grim –
faces like carved out of wood

Infantry, cavalry, royalty alike;
they have all come
in search of glorious victory for their king

The forces of white finally advance
but have they strayed into victory or defeat
for them it is still just future unseen

Nothing can now undo this hate of war;
spears fly, swords spill blood –
the soil soon reaps a harvest of battle-fallen dead

As the heat of the battle rises on,
few are able to keep their mind calm
in this havoc of strategy and death

But as time runs on,
the attack of one side becomes a desperate retreat
until the time when their king himself must bear arms and fight

Alas, after the song of sword and shield has sung,
after the death of many loyal men has come to pass;
one side has outwitted the other in this ancient combat art

All eyes now rest on the fallen king;
will he suffer the tools of war and bleed
or will he step off the board and admit dire defeat?


Good question Enamoured.  Thanks.


Abstract arts!


Kazimir Malevich  "Black Square"  1915


Wassily Kandinsky  "On White 2"  1923


Theo Van Doesburg  "Counter-CompositionV"  (1924)


glad you like phishcake5! great thread btw folks! :cheers:


"Philippines: Moro Chess Set"  from the Moranoa poeple in the Philippines  Ty's collection




I think this is the coolist thread EVER!!!!!!

Put it back on TOP!!!


phishcake5 wrote:


One more Zademack, I also find this one quite interesting....although a little spooky.

...yep,, this sort of thing happens to me all the time, those annoying Druids popping up, humming and knocking over my pieces and such!...Grrrrrrr!


"Chess or Bike Parts"  Mad-ster

Edit: Finally found the info for this one:)