© 2024 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

On Chess: 'Grand' chess exhibition from St. Louis travels to Belgium

A close up of artist Gregg Louis' "Untitled (Chess Set)" on display in Leuven, Belgium.
Lennart Ootes

For the second year, the World Chess Hall of Fame has organized "Grand Chess Tour: Art of Chess 2018," a traveling exhibition of chess artifacts, in conjunction with the Grand Chess Tour, an international circuit of chess events with the world’s best players.

The first stop of the tour was at the town hall in Leuven, Belgium, during Your Next Move Grand Chess Tour, June 16-20, 2018. To honor the kickoff of the 2018 Grand Chess Tour, we included two artifacts that relate to Belgium: an Anheuser-Busch chess set and a Lucky Luke chess set, inspired by the popular Belgian comic series.

We also chose several items from the collection of Dr. Jeanne and Rex Sinquefield, including "Sinquefield Cup Imperial Chessmen," which was custom created by the founder of the House of Staunton, Frank Camaratta. The "Sinquefield Cup Imperial Chessmen" set is modeled after the set Camaratta created for the 2013 Sinquefield Cup Tournament. The exhibit also has an interactive touch screen, which allows patrons to browse the U.S. and World Chess Hall of Fame inductees, their biographies. People can also play through hall of famers' memorable games. 

The exhibition was well received; people enjoyed seeing non-traditional sets. Some of the favorites in Leuven included St. Louis artist Gregg Louis’ "Untitled (Chess Set)," which featured real succulents and air plants within the castellations of each rook. Another favorite was "A Perplexus Chess Set and Board, edition 210/1500" by op artist Victor Vasarely.  Visitors also enjoyed an ornate Hungarian set, which is one of the finest pieces in the World Chess Hall of Fame's collection.

Lastly, to showcase the "Painted Pieces: Art Chess from Purling London" exhibition in the first-floor gallery of the World Chess Hall of Fame, we were able to secure a newly-finished Purling London art chess set by artist Francesco Jacobello titled "Inverno (Winter)." This set will travel to the United States and be on display with the rest of the "Painted Pieces" exhibition in St. Louis, during the St. Louis Rapid & Blitz, Aug. 10-16, and the Sinquefield Cup, Aug.17-28.

The World Chess Hall of Fame is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to building awareness for the cultural and artistic significance of chess. The World Chess Hall of Fame is located at 4652 Maryland Avenue, housed in an historic 15,900 square-foot residence-turned-business, and features the U.S. and World Chess Halls of Fame, displays of artifacts from the permanent collection and exhibitions highlighting the great players, historic games and rich cultural history of chess.