56f2f86b9a36c0a5629cccb8f38f2afdFotografia por Julien Wasser (Pasadena, 1963)

“Objectively, a game of chess looks very much like a pen-and-ink drawing, with the difference, however, that the chess player paints with black-and-white forms already prepared instead of inventing forms as does the artist. The design thus formed on the chessboard has apparently no visual aesthetic value and is more like a score for music which can be played again and again. Beauty in chess does not seem to be a visual experience as in painting. Beauty in chess is closer to beauty in poetry; the chess pieces are the block alphabet which shapes thoughts; and these thoughts, although making a visual design on the chessboard, express their beauty abstractly, like a poem… Actually, I believe that every chess player experiences a mixture of two aestethic pleasures: first the image akin to the poetic idea of writing, second the sensuous pleasure of the ideographic execution of that image of the chessboards… From my close contact with artists and chess players I have come to the personal conclusion that while all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists.”

Marcel Duchamp


cri_000000212136Marcel Duchamp . The Chess Players (1965)

“Chess has the visual possibilities of art. It is a mechanistic sculpture that presents exciting plastic values. If you know the game you can feel that the bishop is like a lever. It incites a whole new pattern when moved. There is a mental end implied when you look at the formation of the pieces on the board. The transformation of the visual aspect to the grey matter is what always happens in chess and what should happen in art.”

Marcel Duchamp


1930 (TWO MAQUETTES FOR CHESS PIECES 1)Marcel Duchamp . Red Knight (Maquette for Chess Piece for a Wall-Mounted Chess Board) (1930)

“Chess in itself is a hobby, is a game, everybody can play it. But I took it very seriously and enjoyed it because I found some common points between chess and painting. When you play a game of chess, it is like designing something or constructing some mechanism of some kind by which you win or lose. The competitive side of it has no importance. The thing itself is very, very plastic. That is probably what attracted me in the game.”

Marcel Duchamp


JAF-02Fotografia por Jesse A. Fernandez (Nova Iorque, 1956)

1.Cf3 Cf6 2.b3 b6 3.d4 d5 4.e3 Bf5 5.Bd3 BxBd3 6.DxBd3 c6 7.Cbd2 e6 8.O-O Cbd7 9.e4 dxe4 10.Cxe4 CxCe4 11.DxCe4 Be7 12.c4 O-O 13.Bb2 Bf6 14.Tad1 Te8 15.Ce5 Dc7 16.f4 Tad8 17.Tfe1 Cf8 18.Cg4 Bh4 19.g3 f5 20.De5 DxDe5 21.CxDe5 Be7 22.Rg2 Bb4 23.Te2 Cd7 24.h3 Bf8 25.CxCd7 TxCd7 26.Tde1 Rf7 27.Rf3 g6 28.g4 fxg4 29.Rxg4 Bg7 30.d5 cxd5 31.BxBg7 RxBg7 32.cxd5 Txd5 33.Txe6 TxTe6 34.TxTe6 Rf7 35.Te2 Rf6 36.h4 h5+ 37.Rf3 Rf5 38.b4 a5 39.bxa5 Txa5 40.Tb2 Ta4 41.Tb5+ Rf6 42.Txb6+ Rf5 43.Tb5+ Rf6 44.Tb6+ Rf5 (1/2-1/2)

Savielly Tartakower / Marcel Duchamp (Torneio Internacional de Paris, 1929)



“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)