Special Projects

The Burning Boards
September 1, 2014
The Burning Boards The Burning Boards
The Burning Boards, 2014. Photo © Carmody CreativeArtist Glenn Kaino, 2014. Photo © Carmody CreativeThe Burning Boards, 2014. Photo © Carmody CreativeGM Magnus Carlsen, 2014. Photo © Carmody CreativeThe Burning Boards, 2014. Photo © Carmody CreativeWGM Jennifer Shahade, 2014. Photo © Carmody CreativeThe Burning Boards, 2014. Photo © Carmody CreativeGM Fabiano Caruana, 2014. Photo © Carmody CreativeThe Burning Boards, 2014. Photo © Carmody Creative

The Burning Boards, 2014. Photo © Carmody Creative

Artist Glenn Kaino, 2014. Photo © Carmody Creative

The Burning Boards, 2014. Photo © Carmody Creative

GM Magnus Carlsen, 2014. Photo © Carmody Creative

The Burning Boards, 2014. Photo © Carmody Creative

WGM Jennifer Shahade, 2014. Photo © Carmody Creative

The Burning Boards, 2014. Photo © Carmody Creative

GM Fabiano Caruana, 2014. Photo © Carmody Creative

The Burning Boards, 2014. Photo © Carmody Creative

Developed by Glenn Kaino in 2007 for the Whitney Museum of American Art, The Burning Boards brings together figures from the worlds of art and chess in the format of a unique chess competition.

Thirty-two players, novice and expert, will compete using chess sets made from burning candles, in a performance imbued with a sense of danger and urgency. 

 

Program

6:00 p.m. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres

6:25 p.m. Opening Remarks

6:30 p.m. Games Begin

 

The Burning Boards

burningboards7454677Glenn Kaino
The Burning Boards, 2014
World Chess Hall of Fame
Photo © Carmody Creative

Developed for the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2007, Glenn Kaino’s The Burning Boards explores concepts of winning through the medium of chess. Kaino uses the format of a unique competition to draw together friends from the worlds of art, chess, technology, and music. In the piece, thirty-two chess players, both expert and novice, compete in a dark room at sixteen closely-arranged tables. They use burning candles as chess pieces, imbuing the performance with a sense of danger and urgency. 

Kaino has used indeterminacy to structure the performance, meaning that each participant becomes a co-creator of the larger spectacle, choosing his or her moves, but unable to control the outcome of their game or the performance as a whole. The lighting in the playing hall builds and diminishes over the course of the performance. “Burning boards” is sometimes defined as the act of using fire to level a playing field. Here, the advantages of experts over novices are leveled, and the value of skill diminishes as the element of chance increases. Unidentifiable pieces cannot be played, nor can those burned out or stuck to the board. Soon players realize that they are battling their shared situation—the board and pieces, not each other. They can better survive through mutual accommodation than through zero-sum aggression. Competition gives way to comity and onerous constraints lead to comical, collegial outcomes. The World Chess Hall of Fame’s presentation of The Burning Boards is the third staging of the piece, which is intended to be performed anew rather than to be a static historical event.

 

Acknowledgements

The World Chess Hall of Fame acknowledges Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield, whose generous support has made this event possible.

Special thanks to Glenn Kaino, Luke Lizalde, Larry List, Honor Fraser Gallery, Kavi Gupta Gallery, and the participants in The Burning Boards.

 

Participant Pairings

la-grave-v-escarameia677GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave v. Andre Escarameia
Photo © Carmody Creative
shahade-v-briefWGM Jennifer Shahade v. Martin Brief
Photo © Carmody Creative
bbailey-v-seirawanBradley Bailey v. GM Yasser Seirawan
Photo © Carmody Creative
naumann-v-ashleyFrancis M. Naumann v. GM Maurice Ashley
Photo © Carmody Creative
gould-v-donaldsonMary Gould v. IM John Donaldson
Photo © Carmody Creative
strauss-v-finegoldMatt Strauss v. GM Ben Finegold
Photo © Carmody Creative
hoffman-v-burtonJean Hoffman v. Bruce Burton
Photo © Carmody Creative
rex-v-sarah-robayo-sheridanRex Sinquefield v. Sarah Robayo Sheridan
Photo © Carmody Creative
nakamura-v-kaplanGM Hikaru Nakamura v. Ben Kaplan
Photo © Carmody Creative
s-bailey-v-lennart-ootesShannon Bailey v. Lennart Ootes
Photo © Carmody Creative
manion-v-birdPeter Manion v. Chris Bird
Photo © Carmody Creative
paul-ha-v-aronianPaul Ha v. GM Levon Aronian
Photo © Carmody Creative
caruana-v-lifanovaFabiano Caruana v. Liliya Lifánova
Photo © Carmody Creative
topalov-v-listVeselin Topalov v. Larry List
Photo © Carmody Creative
rich-v-c-burtonTony Rich v. Christian Burton
Photo © Carmody Creative
carlsen-v-kainoGM Magnus Carlsen v. Glenn Kaino
Photo © Carmody Creative

 

PRESS

4/28/15: The Justice — Candles as chess pieces light up the Rose

9/24/14: ArtDaily.org — The World Chess Hall of Fame celebrates art and chess with Glenn Kaino’s The Burning Boards

9/16/14: Forbes — Artist Glenn Kaino On Ferguson, Equality And Tommie Smith’s Iconic Salute

9/3/14: Alive Magazine — Glenn Kaino’s ‘Burning Boards’ Candle Chess Performance Illuminates The Possible At The World Chess Hall Of Fame, by Krystin Arneson

9/1/14: Chess.com — Fire, Water and Sport During Sinquefield Rest Day

 

Downloads

The Burning Boards Event Program