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Chess as art

Can an exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery do justice to chess? A grandmaster's verdict

By Jonathan Rowson  

Jake and Dinos Chapman, "Chess Set" from "The Art of Chess" at the Saatchi Gallery (photo: Happy Famous Artists)

It is not easy to make small talk about chess. When people hear that I played the game professionally for several years they often ask what kinds of chess sets I like—ornate, sculpted, antique? The conversation doesn’t get any easier when I say that a cheap plastic set is often just as good, if not better. For an experienced player the design of the board and pieces, however…

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