“In 1925 Duchamp designed the poster for the Third French Championship, wich was held in Nice, September 2-11. As might be expected, his original graphic ideas resulted in one of the best chess tournament posters in history. For it, he photographed a number of building blocks that he had thrown into a net bag to form an accumulation and made an enlargement of this photo, eliminating all the details except for the chance configuration of the blocks in the hanging net. This enlargement was then used as a basis for the final drawing, in wich the cubes were colored light pink and black. The drawing was then reproduced against a light gray background obtained from an enlarged reproduction of a Staunton Model chess king. The casual arrangement of the cubes in the poster seems to emphasize the role of chance in a game where apparently chance has no part. Here Duchamp gives us a further example of his inclination to use play and chance as factors in his art. It was during this tournament that he was proclaimed Master of the Fédération Française des Echecs, in conformity with an article of its regulations requiring a minimum score of fifty percent to qualify for Mastership.”

Arturo Schwarz in The Complete Works of Marcel Duchamp (Delano Greenidge, 1997)


W1siZiIsIjIyNjMyMSJdLFsicCIsImNvbnZlcnQiLCItcmVzaXplIDIwMDB4MjAwMFx1MDAzZSJdXQBox in a Valise (From or by Marcel Duchamp or Rrose Sélavy) (1935-41) 

“The champion of Haute-Normandie, M. Duchamp, has well merited his title in consideration of his deep and solid playing. His imperturbable coolness, his ingenious style, and the impeccable way with wich he exploits the slightest advantage, make him an always formidable opponent. His previous successes in Belgium and at the Olympic Tournament were naturally harbingers of new ones.”

in Boletim da Federação Francesa de Xadrez (n.º 13, Janeiro de 1925)


W1siZiIsIjIxMjEzNiJdLFsicCIsImNvbnZlcnQiLCItcmVzaXplIDIwMDB4MjAwMFx1MDAzZSJdXQMarcel Duchamp . The Chess Players (1966)

1.e4 c5 2.Cf3 Cc6 3.Cc3 d6 4.d4 cxd4 5.Cxd4 g6 6.Bb5 Bd7 7.0-0 Bg7 8.Be3 Cf6 9.f3 0-0 10.Dd2 Da5 11.Cb3 Dc7 12.Bxc6 bxBc6 13.Bh6 c5 14.BxBg7 RxBg7 15.Tb1 a5 16.Cc1 a4 17.b3 Tfb8 18.C1e2 axb3 19.cxb3 Ta3 20.Tfd1 Da5 21.Db2 Bc8 22.Cf4 Be6 23.Td2 Tb4 24.Cd3 T4xb3 25.axTb3 Txb3 26.DxTb3 BxDb3 27.TxBb3 c4 28.Ta2 Dc7 29.T3b2 cxCd3 30.Cd1 Cd7 31.Td2 Dc5+ 32.Cf2 De3 33.h3 Cc5 34.Rh1 f5 35.exf5 gxf5 36.f4 e5 (0-1)

Edmond Michel / Marcel Duchamp (II Campeonato Nacional de França / Estrasburgo 1924)


w1siziisije0mjc5mcjdlfsiccisimnvbnzlcnqilcitcmvzaxplidiwmdb4mjawmfx1mdazzsjdxqJacques Villon . The Game of Chess (1904)

“In a 1904 etching by Jacques Villon, Marcel and his younger sister Suzanne are also shown playing chess. Four years prior to the etching, at the age of thirteen, Marcel was taught to play chess by his brothers. This was the same year they also began teaching him to paint, the ironic coincidence of wich has been noted by numerous biographers.”

Bradley Bailey in Passionate Pastimes (Readymade Press, 2009)


hfhfKatherine S. Dreier . Abstract Portrait of Marcel Duchamp (1918)

“As for chess? Great, Great! I played a lot in simultaneous matches that Marshall held, playing on 12 boards at a time. And I won my match 2 times. I’ve made enormous progress and I work like a slave. Not that I have any chance of becoming champion of France, but I will have the pleasure of being able to play almost any player, in a year or two. Naturally this is the part of my life that I enjoy most. This winter I will be on Marshall’s team (his 8 best players) against the other N.Y. teams. Just as I had already done last winter – but this time I’m hoping to win a few games (wich I didn’t then) – I am crazy about it.”

M. Duchamp to Jean Crotti and Suzanne Duchamp, October 20, 1920 (Selected Correspondence)


imagem1Marcel Duchamp . Chess Pieces (1918-19)

“I’m playing chess in a big way. I’m a member of the Club here where there are some very good players ranked according to their standard. I haven’t had the honor of being ranked yet and play with various players in Categories 2 and 3, losing and winning every now and then. I’m taking chess lessons with the best player in the club who is a wonderful teacher and makes me make ‘theoretical’ progress. So I’ve been thinking that after I return to France I could play by cable with Walter.”

M. Duchamp to Louise and Walter Arensberg, end-March 1919 (Selected Correspondence)