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Naked Chess in Amsterdam December 4, 2011

Posted by Administrator in : art,chess,feminism,travel , trackback

The original, “Naked Chess” was a reversal of the famous photograph of Marcel Duchamp playing against a naked woman, as a promotion for the book Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess. The piece has since then been reworked into a more visceral edit for PokerFairytale.com and now has debuted as an art installation in Amsterdam.

The De Kring art society in Amsterdam hosted the closing ceremony of the Max Euwe Memorial on November 20th. I played against three nude opponents as the prize-giving commenced. In addition to referencing Marcel Duchamp, the striking visuals showed two important themes. Firstly, it was a humorous take on the many tourists who come to Amsterdam for sex and drugs. Here we had a show that was only sexual on the surface but at heart cerebral. Secondly, it played off the general theme of simultaneous exhibitions, which are so common in the chess world. The master or grandmaster giving the simul is in a position of power and by defeating numerous opponents at once, the public and the media is informed of her dominance.

More photos are on the official site–the piece was also featured in the Amsterdam Daily “Het Parool” and inspired the following drawing by Edgar Jansen.

Short Stacked Shamus of Hard Boiled Poker wrote a blog on strip poker and art about a recent installation in New York, “I’ll Raise You Once” by Zefrey Throwell. Shamus also touched on naked chess:

The strip poker piece reminds me of a similar but more interesting work, a short film titled “Naked” in which poker pro and chess champ Jennifer Shahade plays chess against a nude male amateur, Jason Bretz. That piece plays off of a famous photo of Marcel Duchamp (a big influence on the Fluxus crowd), reversing the roles of the man and woman to make a comment on the relationship of the sexes.

Naked Checkmate from Poker Fairy Tale on Vimeo.

The Max Euwe Memorial tournament itself was also very exciting, featuring a combination of veterans, strong young players and inspiring female players such as Pia Cramling, one of the first women to earn the Grandmaster title. Find more information on the event on the official website which also features more details on my other appearances in Amsterdam and the closing ceremony.

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