Marcel Duchamp, (1887-1968). Chessplayer and Artist.
Some months back Chris McKay. Chessplayer and Photographer.
E-mailed me a piece that appeared in The Guardian about Marcel Duchamp
playing chess with a naked model in the Pasedena Art Museum in 1963.
"Thought you might be able to make something out that." asked Chris.
I said I would but forget all it till Chris e-mailed again.
"When?" was all he sent.
So I did a wee bit of surfing and found the said picture
taken by Julian Wasser of Duchamp and Eve Babitz playing chess.
I also found dozens of Duchamp paintings. If you want to see
them then surf for yourself. Or better still, go to an art gallery.
In most of the biographies I skimmed through, it stated he
gave up painting for Chess. Why not do both?
So I searched for some games played by Duchamp.
I stumbled upon a site that offered me 9 games if I paid a fee.
A fee? Me? For 9 games. Are they works of art?
So I went home and booted up my database of
300 sqidzillion games. I found I had 90 Duchamp games. Huh!
H.Mueller - M.Duchamp, The Hague Olympiad, 1928.
Duchamp played for France so he must have been an OK player.
I know in Folkstone in 1933 he and Alekhine played in the
same team. That must have been interesting having those two
colourful characters in the same team.
In the following game Duchamp walks into an
opening trap completely missing 9. Nxc6.
[Click here to replay the game]
H.Mueller - M.Duchamp
1.c4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.Nxd4 Bb4 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bh4 Ne4 8.Bxd8 Nxc3 9.Nxc6 Nxd1+ 10.Nxb4
G.Koltanowski - M.Duchamp, Paris, 1929.
Here Marcel beats George Koltanowski in 15 moves.
When I first saw it I thought it may have been from
one of Koltanoski's famous blindfold exhibitions.
No, it was actually from a normal tournament game.
White should have played 13 Nxd7 or 13 Nf3. Instead
he missed the shot 13...Nxd5! and tried to wriggle
with 15 Nxf8. Black painted in 15...Bd4+ and
that completed the picture.
[Click here to replay the game]
G Koltanowski - M Duchamp
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 d6 4.e4 b6 5.f4 Bb7 6.Bd3 Nbd7 7.Nf3 e5 8.d5 g6 9.0-0 exf4 10.Bxf4 Bg7 11.e5 dxe5 12.Nxe5 0-0 13.Qd2 Nxd5 14.Nxd7 Nxf4 15.Nxf8 Bd4+
I also found a Marshall game I had never played over before.
It's just a draw and to be honest the fun hides in what was
F.Marshall - M.Duchamp, Hamburg Olympiad, 1930.
First we have Duchamp bottling it against a much stronger opponent.
Frank Marshall, though gettting on a bit, was still considered a very
good player in 1930, he passed away 14 years later.
Black to play - I cannot see why he cannot grab the a-pawn.
There are no Marshall type tricks on.
Black headed for the hills with 20 Qxc2.
Maybe being a pawn up was not surreal enough.
The game progressed with Marshall gradually
outplaying Duchamp and here he missed a good
move that also sets a typical Marshall trap.
I'm surprised Marshall never played it, he would
often play such trappy moves sometimes even to
the detriment of his position. (He's my hero).
Here 30 f5 is screaming out to be played.
The Knight on f8 is in trouble.
30 f5 exf5 31 Nxf5+ Ke6 32 Nxg7+ Ke7 33 Re8+ wins.
30 f5 Nh7 31 h4 and Black is toiling.
30 f5 Nd7 31 Nc6 checkmate!
Marshall played 30 Ra8. I still cannot believe his missed 30 f5.
The game went on and Duchamp must have surprised
Marshall with this neat drawing combination.
34...Rxb5 35 axb5 Kc7 and White has to give
back the exchange and go into a dead draw ending.
[Click here to replay the game]
F.Marshall - M.Duchamp
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 b6 3.c4 e6 4.Bg5 Be7 5.Nc3 Bb7 6.Qc2 d5 7.e3 0-0 8.cxd5 Nxd5 9.Bxe7 Qxe7 10.Nxd5 Bxd5 11.Bd3 h6 12.a3 c5 13.dxc5 Rc8 14.b4 bxc5 15.Rc1 Nd7 16.Ba6 Rc7 17.e4 Bb7 18.Bxb7 Rxb7 19.bxc5 Qxc5 20.0-0 Qxc2 21.Rxc2 Kf8 22.Rfc1 Ke7 23.Nd4 Ke8 24.f4 Rab8 25.e5 Nf8 26.Rc5 Rb1 27.Rxb1 Rxb1+ 28.Kf2 Rb7 29.Rc8+ Ke7 30.Ra8 Ng6 31.g3 Kd7 32.a4 Ne7 33.Nb5 Nc8 34.g4 Rxb5 35.axb5 Kc7 36.g5 hxg5 37.b6+ Kb7 38.Rxc8 Kxc8
So decided to do a piece of chess art myself.
Here is a study in chess.
I call it a 'Chess Study.'
It is where I spend a large part of my sorry, sick and sad life.
Looking at the picture, I've never noticed Bill & Ben before.
Perhaps that's where the voices are coming from.
Here is a picture of my Kitchen floor covered
with some (yes some) of the chess sets I have.
I call this 'The Kitchen Sink Attack.'
See the set in the centre of the front row?
That was my first chess set. Christmas 1963.
Here are some more. I call this 'Chess on the Bed.'
I got some of them from car boot sales.
I call this 'Pretty Girl Sells Everything for £1.00 or Less.'
Looking at all these chess sets I'm thinking I may have a problem.
I have a compulsion to buy a 2nd hand Chess set every time I see one.
All of the second hand sets, 75% of those shown, I bought
for no more than a couple of quid.
Do I play with them all? No of course not but on every set
I have bought I always play over one game, just to be sure
the pieces know what it feels like to be part of a masterpiece.
I set up the pieces and play over Morphy's famous game at the Opera.
Infact 75% of the sets you can see have had only that game played
on them. Then I put them away. I must seek help.
Confession time No.87.
Keith Ruxton saw me doing this Morphy thing with a set
I had just acquired 2nd hand and he thought I was a nutter.
I confessed how I brought the price down, now he thinks I'm a rat.
I go into a 2nd shop and see a chess set.
I pick it up and ask the price. I then check the pieces.
"There is a piece missing." I lie.
They always knock something off the price. It works all the time.
It's NOT stealing. I pay something for it and anyway they
got the set for nothing. They make a 100% profit and I give
the set a good home. Everybody is happy.
He explained the money raised is for a charity.
I added they got money they would never had
had because I would never have brought the set
unless I brought the price down.
And anyway, it's called haggling. You can tell a wee
white lie when you haggle. It's part of the fun.
A few C.C's back I recreated the B.H. Wood advert
for his chess book, 'Easy Guide to Chess.'
So I thought I'd have a bash at recreating
Duchamp's playing chess with a naked lady.
I considered asking a few girls at work if they fancied
appearing naked, playing chess, on the World Wide Web.
Fearing slaps in the mouth and a verbal warning for harassment
I declined. However, you cannot put a good Chandler idea down.
I call this 'The Naked Selfmate.'