Through the Featured Chess Set project, the World Chess Hall of Fame showcases a variety of chess sets throughout the year. These include highlights from our own collection as well as chess sets owned by friends and chess lovers who have special stories to accompany their sets. For more information about how to participate in the Featured Chess Set project, please inquire at the front desk or email Assistant Curator Emily Allred.
During August, the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) is featuring this chessboard created by photographer Michael DeFilippo as part of its Featured Chess Set project. DeFilippo has been a professional photographer since 1983. He often photographs exhibitions and artifacts for the WCHOF. On August 21, 2017, the United States will experience its first total solar eclipse since 1979. Saint Louis, the home of the WCHOF, will partially be in the path of totality, or the path of the moon’s shadow, during the eclipse. This board has been chosen to be on view as a nod to the event.
This chessboard is inspired by Michael DeFilippo’s hobby of making ornamental topographic maps on the walls of his house. His bedroom now has a map of the Mediterranean Sea and his kitchen has a map of the Magnesian coast in Greece. DeFilippo uses a light gray drywall compound to create these maps, and a friend mentioned that this would be perfect for creating a map of the moon. He then experimented with creating a chessboard inspired by a NASA map of the moon. While he originally rendered the board directly on the moon’s surface, he found it competed with the moon’s texture. He finally settled on using etched glass for the board, which also conveys the low gravity of the moon, giving the sense that the pieces are floating.