Interdisciplinary Gymnastics of Chess

Chess is the game that is believed to be developed from the Indian game Chaturanga around 600 AD. Chess grandmaster and former World Champion Anatoly Karpov considers chess to be everything: art, science and sport. Furthermore, the intersection of chess, art and fashion has a number of times been a great source of inspiration for conceiving new ideas.

One of Man Ray’s chess sets.

Phildadelphia-born, Brooklyn- raised, Dada-Surrealist artist and fashion creator Man Ray created a number of chess sets from 1920 till his passing in 1976. Being hailed as one of 20th century’s most innovative artists, the son of a Russian immigrant tailor, Man Ray was far ahead of its time with his artworks. His vision was to design a simple straightforward, but modern and affordable chess set. Man Ray’s original design was actually the first modern set comprised of all abstract geometric forms.

Seventh Seal (1957) by Ingmar Bergman.

The most celebrated chess game on the white screen belongs to Ingmar Bergman’s “Seventh Seal”, where the disillusioned knight Antonius Block (Max von Sydow) challenges Death (Bengt Ekerot) to a game of chess. Taking in fact only a minor part of the film, the game introduced in the very first scene, establishes itself as the central act in the story, connecting innovation, religion and the logic or anti-logic concept.

Alexander McQueen Spring/Summer 2005. Collection “It’s Only a Game”.

In 2005, Alexander McQueen presented his Spring/Summer collection, titled “It’s Only a Game”, as a catwalk show, which all of a sudden turned into a chessboard. The effect was achieved by making each model, imitating a chess piece, moved along and off the board. Nevertheless, using the chess to bring attention to the details in the garments, the collection as such did not specifically reference the game.

Louis Vuitton Spring 2013 by Marc Jacobs.

Marc Jacobs presented Louis Vuitton’s spring 2013 collection on a gigantic yellow-and-white checkerboard floor, with four escalators serving as the start of the runway. The models, wearing nearly identical outfits and looking liked genetically gifted twins, descended, two at a time, down the moving stairs. Most of the outfits featured an exaggerated version of the iconic print called “Damier”. The supersized pattern was practically sprinkled onto absolutely everything – from swingy shift dresses to fitted pencils skirts and jackets. It was actually the first time when the fashion house did not make use of the Monogram.

Bobby Fischer became the first American to win the World Chess Championship, dethroning the Soviet Union’s Boris Spassky in a nail-biting 24-game match in Reykjavík, Iceland. The competition unraveled as dramatically as its headlines: “The Match of the Century.” Fischer’s victory in 1972 made the 29-year-old game player an intellectual rockstar. Source:

Thus I would dare to analogically apply the interdisciplinary concept of multidimensionality of the chess game on the phenomenon of fashion and art, where the artistic part is constituted by creativity, stimulated by the referential ability of science and surrounded by constant competition of being naturally authentic and spontaneously different. The competitive part that exists in accordance with market principles, is business, where you bring in both marketing communication and strategy, history, science and capitalise on those as a result.

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