May Family Chess Night @ Bookman’s on Speedway celebrates May 5 Chess Fest with Alexandra Kosteniuk

April 18, 2012

Can you solve the puzzle for May? The puzzle comes from a winning game by Alexandra Kosteniuk. Black to move and mate in three.

Win a PRIZE!  Bring your puzzle solution to Bookman’s on Speedway Family Chess Night, 6:30-8:30pm, first Wednesday of every month–this month, May 2–and win a free prize. The whole family, new and experienced players are all invited to join us to play or learn chess.

Join us for a Tucson afternoon of chess fun May 5 at 9 Queen’s 5th Annual ChessFest featuring former Women’s World Chess Champion and Chess Queen Alexandra Kosteniuk.

This year’s Readymade Chess Fest draws inspiration and it’s name from the chess player and artist Marcel Duchamp. Here’s some background on this notorious chess master.

Marcel Duchamp. . .”all chess players are artists”

Marcel Duchamp was an artist who loved to play chess. He was born in France in 1887, became a U.S. citizen in 1955 and died in 1968. Some consider him one of the most important artists of the 20th century.

Many of his artworks were about chess. He believed both chess and art were made by head and by hand. During his career he increasingly became more interested in art that was mostly created by head rather than by hand. He described chess as “kinetic sculpture”–changing, in motion sculpture.

He invented an art form that he called “readymades”. He took everyday objects, such as a snow shovel, a comb, or a bicycle wheel mounted on a wooden stool, and changed them into art just by thinking of them as art and putting them in an art gallery. This was an important step in the history of art–it made art an idea rather than a traditionally artist made object, such as a drawing or a painting. He could be called the father of conceptual art.

He made many chess related art works. He designed rubber stamps to be able to make chess games that he could play through the mail (called correspondence chess). He designed a beautiful wooden chess set and later created a colored chess set. He invented a pocket sized, leather, traveling chess set.

Some of his most famous works included chess as a theme. In a series of earlier paintings–he started out as a traditional artist making paintings and drawings–he used chess players and the chess king and queen as topics. These works were titled, The Chess Players (1911), Portrait of Chess Players (1911), The King and Queen Surrounded by Swift Nudes (1912). These paintings led up to the creation of one of his most famous paintings, Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2, which shocked the New York art scene in the 1913 “Armory Show” with its radical expression of motion. Not long after this show he turned to more experimental forms of art than oil painting.

Throughout his life he was an avid chess player. He earned the title of chess master and played in the French Championships and Chess Olympiads from 1928-1933. Duchamp said, “I am still a victim of chess. It has all the beauty of art–and much more. It cannot be commercialized. Chess is much purer than art in its social position.”

Learn more about Marcel Duchamp:

Tomkins, Calvin: Duchamp: A Biography, Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 1996

Naumann, Fancis M.; Bailey, Bradley; Shahade, Jennifer: Marcel Duchamp, The Art of Chess, Readymade Press, 2009

See you at Hotel Congress in Tucson, Arizona on Saturday May 5, 2-5pm for 9 Queen’s Readymade Chess Fest–the most fun you’ve had at chess all year!

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