22 May 2016

The Knight Move

Photographic report from the opening of the Moscow chess exhibition by Eteri Kublashvili.

On May 21, the All-Russian Decorative Art Museum opened the Knight Move exhibition. Despite the severe rainy spell of May weather, there came a lot of visitors. The opening ceremony saw quite a number of well-known guests, including grandmasters Igor Glek, Elmira Mirzoeva, Yana Melnikova, General Director of "The Russian Chess House" Murad Amannazarov, Editor in Chief of "64" and Chesspro.ru Maksim Notkin, Chief Editor of the CFM (Chess Federation of Moscow) website Mukhametov Eldar, who was a birthday person that day, photographer Boris Dolmatovsky, journalist Stanislav Zhelezny, and many others.

The opening ceremony speeches were given by RCF President and FIDE Vice-President Andrey Filatov, Decorative Art Museum Director Elena Titova, legendary grandmaster Yuri Lvovich Averbakh, exhibition manager Elena Alaeva, RCF Executive Director Mark Glukhovsky and candidate of historical sciences Dmitry Oleinikov.

Head of the Russian Chess Federation Andrey Filatov thanked the Museum Director Elena Titova and congratulated everyone present on the opening of this wonderful exhibition, highlighting the great significance of chess and the art of creating unique exhibit chess pieces for study of history of all world countries.

Mark Glukhovsky shared about the RCF program "Chess in Museums", which has had a long history behind it, noting that organizing tournaments in world museums has turned into a new favorite trend.

The exhibited items are very entertaining and eye-catching, and I recommend every chess fan to visit it, especially since there will be more than enough opportunities to do so because the exhibition is scheduled to run until 11 October.

As was narrated by Dmitry Oleinikov, the exhibition is not limited to displaying items belonging to the Chess Museum of the Russian Chess Federation only, but also includes those belonging to the All-Russian Decorative Art Museum. A lot of Chess Museum's artifacts have never been put out for public display before and were put away into vaults for storage. Thus, exposed for the first time into the light of day were cups, posters of 1937, Alexander Rodchenko's chess table made for the workmen's club, as well as some sets of chessmen.

You cannot but be amazed with the degree of imagination, skill and grace that went into manufacture of chess pieces, which come in plenty of shapes and materials such as wood, marble, porcelain, paper, and bone. The geography of the exhibited items is also impressive, with chess sets representing various northern and southern peoples of Russia, India, China and Africa.

The display includes a number of unique works that have received recognition at international exhibitions. Among such items, for example, is "The Caucasus People" chess set from Paris Expo 1900, chess sets of 1920s manufactured by the Vyatka woodcarver S.A. Kushov and the characters of which are workers and Red Army soldiers on the on side, opposed by the "bourgeois" characters on the other side, and the magnificent porcelain set "Red and White", created to match the models of the sculptor N.Y. Danko.

Coming into your view as masterpieces of the original folk art are chessmen by the Uelen master Vukvol that feature impressive majestic animals of the Extreme North, sets of stone and wood by the Tuvinian craftsmen and chess sets by T. Ammosov based on the Yakut national epic "Olonkho".

Besides, the exhibition features allocated space with special tables for those who would like to play some games of chess. In addition to that, everyone willing to do so will be able to watch the film "Chess Fever" starring Jose Raul Capablanca in the role of himself.

It needs no saying, however, that it is best to come and see everything with your own eyes. Meanwhile, I offer the pictures from the opening ceremony as a bait to potential visitors.