Grand Chess Tour: Art of Chess 2017

This traveling exhibition presents highlights from the collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame and the Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield Collection.

The permanent collection of the WCHOF contains trophies, photographs, scoresheets, periodicals, chess sets, and other artifacts related to significant players and events from chess history. One highlight of the collection is the Paul Morphy Silver Service, presented to the legendary player after his 1857 victory in the First American Chess Congress. The Sinquefield Collection contains many important artifacts related to both the art and culture of chess, including Yoko Ono’s Play It by Trust (Roskilde Version), 2002, and numerous periodicals and books that once belonged to World Chess Champion Bobby Fischer (U.S. Chess Hall of Fame, 1986; World Chess Hall of Fame, 2001).

The exhibition will travel globally to all stops on the 2017 Grand Chess Tour:

Learn more about the Grand Chess Tour at grandchesstour.org.

Artifacts Featured in the Exhibition

Hamilton-Russell Olympiad Cup

London, England

Nayler Brothers

Hamilton-Russell Cup

1927

19 x 12 ½ x 8 ½ in.

Gilt silver and mahogany

Collection of the Fédération Internationale des Échecs

Created in 1927 and presented to the World Chess Federation (Fédération Internationale des Échecs or FIDE) by Frederick Gustavus Hamilton-Russell, this trophy celebrates the accomplishments of the winning teams in the open section of the Chess Olympiad. Teams from around the world compete in the biennial tournament, and the first-place team takes custody of this trophy until the next Olympiad. The trophy’s base displays the names of the winning teams. The Hamilton-Russell Cup is currently in the care of the World Chess Hall of Fame and US Chess due to the victory of the American team in the open section of the 2016 Chess Olympiad, which was held in Baku, Azerbaijan, from September 1 to 14, 2016. The American team included Grandmasters Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Ray Robson, Sam Shankland, and Wesley So. International Master John Donaldson served as team captain and Grandmaster Aleksandr Lenderman served as team coach. Caruana, Nakamura, and So are participating in the 2017 Grand Chess Tour.

Sinquefield Cup Trophy

Zymo Sculpture Studio

Sinquefield Cup Trophy

2013

11 x 11 x 24 in.

Silver and rosewood

Collection of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

This oversized silver king is the perpetual trophy for one of the strongest American chess tournaments, the Sinquefield Cup, which is held annually in Saint Louis. The names of the 2013-2016 winners are engraved on the front. Each winner also receives a smaller “presentation” trophy as a keepsake of their victory. Designers of this trophy gathered inspiration from trophies as varied as the World Series, Wimbledon, and the Grammys, and staff at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis and World Chess Hall of Fame voted and provided input on the design. Ultimately, the trophy was created as a Staunton-style king, an appropriate representation of the top honors at the competition.

Paul Morphy Silver Service Set

New York

Ball, Black, & Co. and Eoff & Sheppard

Paul Morphy Silver Service

1857

Goblets: 6 ½ x 3 ⅛ in. dia. (base)

Pitcher: 12 ¾ x 4 ½ in. dia. (base)

Coin silver

Collection of the U.S. Chess Trust

Paul Morphy (1837-1884), a lifelong resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, is often called the “pride and sorrow of chess.” He was arguably the best player in the world, but he retired at the peak of his talent after an active career lasting only a few years (1857-1860). This coin silver beverage set was presented to Paul Morphy for winning the first American Chess Congress, which was held in New York City in 1857. His good friend Judge Edward Bermudez inherited the set after Morphy’s death. It subsequently passed through several hands before it came to be owned by a French family in Louisiana, who sold them to the U.S. Chess Trust in 1986. The matching salver or tray—engraved with a picture of Morphy playing against Louis Paulsen—remains in a private collection. A lawyer by trade and a well-educated gentleman in his own eyes, Morphy viewed chess as an amateur rather than a professional pursuit, and in accordance with this belief would not accept a cash prize for his victory. Consequently, the tournament organizers presented him with this silver set costing USD $300 (today USD $8100), the exact amount of the tournament’s first-place cash prize.

Kasparov/Karpov Signature Board, 2002

Chess Set, Board, and Box from the 2002 New York, New York, Garry Kasparov vs. Anatoly Karpov Exhibition Match

December 19-20, 2002

King height: 3 3⁄4 in.

Board: 20 7∕8 x 20 7∕8 in.

Box: 13 1⁄4 x 6 1⁄2 x 3 1⁄2 in.

Chess set, board, and box

Gift of Arnold H. Garcia

World Chess Champions Garry Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov used this equipment in a two-day exhibition match (X3D World Chess Match) in ABC (American Broadcasting Corporation) Studios. X3D Technologies, a producer of three-dimensional viewing equipment, sponsored the event and encouraged spectators who owned a special viewer to watch the event in 3D from the comfort of their homes.

In the match, Karpov and Kasparov played two games of rapid chess per day. Karpov, who had not defeated Kasparov in a game since 1990, won the match by a score of 2.5-1.5, a result that surprised many viewers including chess champion and author Jennifer Shahade. In a December 21, 2002, article in the New York Times, she said, “Karpov’s victory is shocking. Garry has an aura of invincibility about him, and even when the last game was petering out to a draw, you expected him to somehow magically turn the game in his favor.” The match was the first in which Karpov triumphed over Kasparov.

Walter Browne's Hollendonner Chess Set

Robert Rudolph Hollendonner

Hollendonner Chessmen

1978

King size: 3 1/16 in.

Board: 18 x 18 in.

Box: 4 ½ x 9 13/16 x 5 ½ in.

Maple, walnut

Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame, gift of Raquel Browne  (wife of Walter Browne)

Architect Robert Rudolph Hollendonner created this modern set with the intention of challenging the dominance of traditional Staunton chess sets in tournament settings. Each handmade piece was created using a system of spheres and squares, which were arranged in ways that allude to the pieces’ movements and meanings. To Hollendonner, the circle represented the divine while the solidity of the square symbolized wisdom, construction, and dwellings. The unconventional set once belonged to 2003 U.S. Chess Hall of Fame inductee Grandmaster Walter Browne (1949-2015). Browne was a dominant force in American chess and won six U.S. Chess Championships (1974, 1975, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1983). He excelled in open tournaments, earning shared or outright first place in the American Open seven times, the National Open eleven times, the U.S. Open three times, and the World Open three times. This chess set is part of a generous gift of photographs, periodicals, and other archival materials from the estate of Walter Browne.

Bobby Fischer's Red Book, History of Chess

Eduard Wildhagen

Weltgeschichte des Schachs Lieferung 27, Boris Spassky: 355 Partien

(History of Chess Part 27, Boris Spassky: 355 Matches)

1972

13/16 x 8 ¾ x 7 in.

Book

Collection of Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield

Robert “Bobby” Fischer (1943-2008) is said to have memorized each of the 355 games in this volume, which totaled over 14,000 moves. The book was a key aid in his preparations for Fischer’s 1972 World Chess Championship match against Boris Spassky (b. 1937). The last volume in a series of books produced by the German publisher Eduard Wildhagen on great players of the world, it contains unannotated games by Spassky, with a diagram illustrating the progress of the game every five moves. This copy includes handwritten notes from Fischer, analyzing Spassky’s games.

Spassky-Fischer Signed Board & Pieces

Chess Pieces from Game 3 of the 1972 World Chess Championship and Chessboard Signed by Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky

1972

King size: 3 5/8 inches

Board: 1 ¼ x 19 x 18 ½ in.

Wood

Collection of Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield

These chess pieces bear witness to one of the most important games in the most famous World Chess Championship match—Bobby Fischer’s game 3 defeat of reigning World Chess Champion Boris Spassky. Had Fischer, trailing 0-2, lost game 3 of the World Chess Championship, it is speculated he may have quit the match entirely. Prior to this game Fischer had not beaten Spassky and his lifetime score, excluding the second game forfeit, was four losses and two draws in six games. Fischer used an unconventional strategy that worked, and he ultimately won the game, turning the tide of the 1972 match. The pieces are set to display a position from the third game of the match, when Fischer played this surprising move. The set is paired with a board signed by Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky, which was made for the 1972 World Chess Championship match, but not used in the event.

Harry Benson, Fischer vs. Spassky, Game One, Iceland

Harry Benson

Fischer vs. Spassky, Game One, Iceland

1972

19 x 28 ½ in.

Photograph

Collection of Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield

© Harry Benson

The tales of the 1972 World Chess Championship in Reykjavík, Iceland, are numerous and fantastic. Grandmaster Bobby Fischer arrived late to the first game, forfeited game two, inspected television cameras and lights, insisting that they were making too much noise or contained devices that were intended to distract him, and had special chess boards created for the match. He made outrageous demands—requesting more money than the agreed-upon prize fund of $125,000, and requiring that Game 3 be played in a “back room.” Much speculation surrounded this behavior and it was debated if this was “normal” Fischer conduct, or if he was intentionally attempting to cause a psychological breakdown of his opponent.

Fabiano Caruana Holding the Sinquefield Cup Trophy at the Awards Ceremony at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

Harry Benson

Fabiano Caruana Holding the Sinquefield Cup Trophy at the Awards Ceremony at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis

September 7, 2014

24 x 30 in.

Photograph

Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame

© Harry Benson

Grandmaster Fabiano Caruana triumphantly lifts the Sinquefield Cup trophy above his head in this photograph taken following his victory in the 2014 Sinquefield Cup. That year, the Saint Louis Chess Campus invited renowned photojournalist Harry Benson CBE to document the tournament. Benson photographed for LIFE magazine from 1970 until it closed in 2000, among many other publications. He befriended renowned American chess player Bobby Fischer while covering the 1971 Candidates’ Match, and subsequently created iconic images of the future World Chess Champion as he prepared for the competition and competed against reigning World Chess Champion Boris Spassky.

Rafael Tufiño

18th World University Chess Olympics

1971

26 x 22 in.

Serigraph

Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame

© 2017 Sucesión R. Tufiño

This poster for the 18th World Student Team Chess Championship, which was held July 1-15, 1971, was created by artist Rafael Tufiño. The Soviet team, comprised of International Master (IM) Vladimir Tukmakov, IM Yury Balashov, Grandmaster Anatoly Karpov, Mikhail Podgaets, IM Gennady Kuzmin, and Yury Razuvaev, won the competition. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Tufiño immigrated with his family to Puerto Rico while still a child. His mother obtained an apprenticeship for him at a barbershop, but Tufiño took much more interest in the chess games that customers played. His work, which celebrated Puerto Rican identity, earned him the nickname “The Painter of the People.” Tufiño, along with several other “Generation of the Fifties” artists like Lorenzo Homar, created posters promoting chess in Puerto Rico and abroad. In his chess posters, he communicated his great love of the game and its artistic possibilities.

Hikaru Nakamura Competes during Rapid Day Two of the 2016 Paris Grand Chess Tour

Spectrum Studios

Hikaru Nakamura Competes during Rapid Day Two of the 2016 Paris Grand Chess Tour

June 10, 2016

10 7/8 x 13 7/8 in.

Photograph

Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame

Alejandro Ramirez and Fabiano Caruana Compete during the Pre-Round Activities of the 2016 Paris Grand Chess Tour

Spectrum Studios

Alejandro Ramirez and Fabiano Caruana Compete during the Pre-Round Activities of the 2016 Paris Grand Chess Tour

June 8, 2016

10 7/8 x 13 7/8 in.

Photograph

Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame

Wesley So Competes during Rapid Day One of the 2016 Paris Grand Chess Tour

Lennart Ootes

Wesley So Competes during Rapid Day One of the 2016 Paris Grand Chess Tour

June 9, 2016

13 7/8 x 10 7/8 in.

Photograph

Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame

Courtesy of Paris Grand Chess Tour

Competitors during Rapid Day One of the 2016 Your Next Move Grand Chess Tour

Spectrum Studios

Competitors during Rapid Day One of the 2016 Your Next Move Grand Chess Tour

June 17, 2016

10 7/8 x 13 7/8 in.

Photograph

Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame

The Grand Chess Tour (GCT) is a circuit of international chess competitions that features the world’s best chess players. The first Grand Chess Tour took place in 2015 and included three tournaments: Norway Chess (Stavanger), the Sinquefield Cup (Saint Louis, Missouri), and the London Chess Classic. World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen won the first installment.

The second GCT occurred in 2016 and was won by American Grandmaster Wesley So. While the circuit still included the Sinquefield Cup and London Chess Classic, it also included two new events: Paris Grand Chess Tour and Your Next Move Grand Chess Tour (Leuven, Belgium)). The selection of photographs on view here were taken at the 2016 Pairs Grand Chess Tour and Your Next Move Grand Chess Tour events. The World Chess Hall of Fame collects photographs and artifacts from each of these tournaments, preserving them for future generations of chess lovers.

Anish Giri and Magnus Carlsen Compete During Rapid Day Two of the 2016 Your Next Move Grand Chess Tour

Lennart Ootes

Anish Giri and Magnus Carlsen Compete During Rapid Day Two of the 2016 Your Next Move Grand Chess Tour

June 18, 2016

13 7/8 x 10 7/8 in.

Photograph

Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave Competes during Blitz Day One of the 2016 Your Next Move Grand Chess Tour

Hugo Maris

Maxime Vachier-Lagrave Competes during Blitz Day One of the 2016 Your Next Move Grand Chess Tour

June 19, 2016

10 7/8 x 13 7/8 in.

Photograph

Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame

Courtesy of Your Next Move Grand Chess Tour

Veselin Topalov Competes during Blitz Day Two of the 2016 Your Next Move Grand Chess Tour

Lennart Ootes

Veselin Topalov Competes during Blitz Day Two of the 2016 Your Next Move Grand Chess Tour

June 20, 2016

13 7/8 x 10 7/8 in.

Photograph

Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame

Viswanathan Anand Competes during Rapid Day Two of the 2016 Your Next Move Grand Chess Tour

Spectrum Studios

Viswanathan Anand Competes during Rapid Day Two of the 2016 Your Next Move Grand Chess Tour

June 18, 2016

10 7/8 x 13 7/8 in.

Photograph

Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame

Yoko Ono, Play It by Trust (Roskilde Version), 2002

Yoko Ono

Play It by Trust (Roskilde Version)

2002

Edition 3 of 6

King size: 3 ¼ in. Chairs: 54 x 16 x 18 in. Table: 29 x 36 x 30 in.

Wood chairs, table, and chess pieces

Collection of Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield

Starkly beautiful in its austere appearance and its unflinchingly straightforward concept, artist and longtime peace activist Yoko Ono’s (b. 1933) all-white chess set Play It by Trust marries the spare, geometric lines of Minimalism with the intimate, playful interactivity of the games produced by the members of Fluxus, an international avant-garde movement with which Ono was associated in the 1960s. Originally conceived as the White Chess Set in 1966, Play It by Trust was born of a tumultuous era characterized by the Cold War tensions of the nuclear arms race, the military conflict in Vietnam, and the struggle for civil rights in the United States. As the players are forced into ever-greater reliance on each other to identify which piece belongs to which player as the game progresses, Ono elegantly re-contextualizes a game that is normally thought of as a microcosmic allegory of war, emphasizing collaboration over competition and empathy over the opposition.

Tiffany & Co. Silver Chess Set and Board

Austria

Emil Pott

Manufactured by Tiffany & Co.

Tiffany & Co. Silver Chess Set and Board

c 1970s

King size: 2 ⅜ in.

Board: 3/16 x 14 ¼ x 14 ¼ in.

Sterling silver, pewter, and leather

Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame, gift of Bernice and Floyd Sarisohn

This is one of many sets donated to the World Chess Hall of Fame by Floyd Sarisohn, a lawyer from Long Island, New York, and his wife, Bernice, who are both avid collectors of chess sets. This solid pewter and sterling silver set, designed by Emil Pott, was made in Austria for Tiffany & Co. in the 1970s. Together with the board, which is inlaid with black and white leather, this is a classic example of the use of abstraction in modern chess set design.

Plastoy

Asterix and Caesar’s Gift

2006

King sizes: Caesar: 4 1∕8 in., Asterix: 3 ¼ in.

Board: 16 ¾ x 16 ¾ in.

Plastic pieces, cardboard board

Collection of Bernice and Floyd Sarisohn

White: Romans

  • King: Julius Caesar
  • Queen: Cleopatra
  • Bishop: Nefarius Purpus
  • Bishop: Motus
  • Knight: Imperial Lions
  • Rook: Corinthian Columns
  • Pawn: Roman Eagle

Brown: Gauls

  • King: Vitalstatistix
  • Queen: Impedimenta
  • Bishop: Asterix
  • Bishop: Obelix
  • Knight: Wild Boar
  • Rook: Menhir
  • Pawn: Chanticleerix

This chess set features Asterix, one of the most famous cartoon characters in Europe. The popularity of the comics linked to this character has inspired the books to be translated into over 29 languages and converted into multiple movies. Writer Rene Goscinny and cartoon artist Albert Uderzo were the producers of the series. The series is about Asterix, a short but shrewd Gaul, who, with the help of a magic potion and his friend Obelix, can defeat an entire Roman patrol. The story is set in Gaul, a historic area in western France, in the era when it was one of the few regions free of Roman rule. The story revolves around Asterix and Obelix’s adventures as they continue to fight and best the Roman Empire.

Knut Naerum, Magnus Carlsen, Gorm Transgaard, Paul Halas, Olaf Solstrand, Gaute Moe, Bill Walsh, Jens Hansegård, and Jan Kruse (writers); Siv Østeng Hansen, Arild Midthun, Fabian, Miguel, Fabrizio Petrossi, Daniel Perez, Manuel Gonzales, Miguel Pujol, and Sander Gulien (pencilers); Arild Midthun, Fabian, Miguel, Fabrizio Petrossi, Daniel Perez, Manuel Gonzales, Miguel Pujol, and Sander Gulien (inkers); Unknown (colorist and letterer)

Donald Duck & Co No. 45

November 2014

Walt Disney

Collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame

Donald Duck and reigning World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen shared the cover of this issue of the Norwegian comic book Donald Duck. Carlsen, an avid fan of the comic, helped develop the special edition book, which discussed chess history and how to play the game. The book came with a magnetic pocket chess set for readers.

Press

6/1/2017: Schaakfabriek — Carlsen and co admired back in Leuven

Downloads

Exhibition Postcard