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Monday, May 28, 2012

A Piece for Every Chess Game - Dedicating a Tretyakov Masterpiece to Every Game at Anand-Gelfand 2012 World Chess Championship (Посвящение шедевры Третьяковской Каждая игра в 2012 году, Ананд, Гельфанд Чемпионате мира по шахматам)


The venue for the 2012 World Chess Championship between India's reigning world chess champion and challenger Israel's Boris Gelfand is a unique one. The Match is being staged in the Tretyakov State Gallery in Moscow. After a 6-6 equal score, for the first time in the history of chess, a rapid/blitz tiebreak play would decide the champion! 

But, back to art and chess. They indeed go together. Theory of technique, style, and methods all find a fascinating interpretation – a unique one at that – in a master's hands: both in art and chess. 

Every single position during a chess game is a work of art. Every move creates a new painting. Every chess player is an artist. Like for art, interpretation is everything.

The State Tretyakov Gallery is one of the most famous museums in the world. Its collection highlights Russian art with exclusive completeness from the ancient time (11-12th century) to the present day. 

Shilpa Mehra dedicates masterpieces from the Tretyakov Gallery to each of the 12 games of classical control at the 2012 World Chess Championship between Viswanathan Anand and Boris Gelfand. Read this full special chess article here.

Game 1 Final position
Masterpiece: The Little Harbour in Sorrento with a View of the Islands of Ischia and Procido
by Silvestr Feodosiyevich Shchedrin
1826, oil on canvas,
45 x 60.7 
Shchedrin creates a romantic image of Italy as an 'earthly paradise'. It is full of harmony: the sun and light. Favorite motifs of the artist - the verandah, overgrown with vines, cozy coves, bays and caves, where a person is in a state of absolute inner peace and complete fusion with the landscape plan.
Vishy and Gelfand see that “everything is in proportion to man, according to the rhythm of his life” and the balance is perfect, so the game must end as a draw.




Game 2 Final position 
View of Fort Picu on the island of Madeira by Bryullov (Bryullo), Karl Pavlovich 
1849–1850
oil on canvas,
65 х 77 


Dynamic brush strokes but no people in the painting. The endgame position looks like it has much more potential. You feel the sense of missing romance as the rose of sky at twilight is juxtaposed with the storm clouds.
But, there is nothing more to the position. Maybe, because it's just the second game. 
Even as Vishy and Gelfand settle for a draw, you know the dynamism of the game would flow into the rest of the tournament and a conflict is just brewing like Bryullov painted it. 





Game 3 Final Position 
by Kabakov, Ilya Iosifovich Machine gun and Chickens
1966,
Mixed media
113 х 102 х 56
at 10, Krymsky Val, Hall 41 
There is nothing more to it and nothing less to it. Your interpretation of Kabakov's creation? Gelfand's two rooks keep the draw even as White's machine gun 'Queen' is kept in check! Only one outcome was possible and it happened – Draw.



Game 4 Position at 18.Qb1
Ayvazovskiy (Gayvazovskiy), Ivan (Oganes) Konstantinovich View of the Leander Tower in Constantinople
1848
Oil on canvas,
58 х 45,3
at 10, Lavrushinsky Lane, Hall 19 
We dedicate the d-file position to the Leander Tower in Constantinople. There are many legends and stories about the Maiden's Tower (Turkish: Kız Kulesi) also known since the medieval Byzantine period as Leander's Tower (Tower of Leandros). 
It is a tower lying on a small islet located at the southern entrance of Bosphorus strait 200 m (220 yd) off the coast of Üsküdar in Istanbul, Turkey. We had varying interpretations of the game after 18.Qb1, but Vishy and Gelfand interpreted the 'endgame painting' as a draw. 




Game 5 Final Position
Ge, Nikolay Nikolayevich “What is truth?” Christ and Pilate
1890
oil on canvas,
233 x 171
at 10, Lavrushinsky Lane, Hall 31 


In the late period of his work, Ge was inspired by the subject of the Passions of Christ. The subject of this painting is taken from the 18th chapter of the Gospel according to John. In response to the words of Christ: “I…came into the world to bear witness about the truth…” – Pontius Pilate tosses back with disregard “And what is the truth?” 

In the game, the Black Queen is left asking the White Queen, once I capture the b2 pawn what is the truth about the Bishop on c6? And, the game was a draw. 






Game 6 Final Position
Black Suprematic Square
Malevich, Kazimir Severinovich 
1915
oil on canvas
79,5 х 79,5
at 10, Krymsky Val, Hall 6
The black square became a symbol of the new understanding of creativity in the 20th century. While the media and the fans wonder, can draws really make a world chess championship, Vishy and Gelfand go on.

Something apparently meaningless, has profound meaning. Even draws mean that sublime chess games have been played. The black square literally was used by Malevich to close down the history of figurative art. Black is the absence of colour and white is the melding of all colours. Such a solution encapsulates the potential of any and all paintings. Don't approach the painting with the viewer’s usual criteria of beautiful/not beautiful, lively/not lively, I like it/I don’t like it. 

Don't approach the world chess championship so far as good or bad, exciting or not... The sixth draw by Vishy and Gelfand but an important chess game.


Game 7 Final Position
1898
oil on canvas
295,3 х 446
at 10, Lavrushinsky Lane, Hall 26 



The final endgame motif with Boris Gelfand's knights charging straight on to deliver checkmate takes you straight to Vasnetsov's masterpiece. Having revived the images of Old Russia's legendary defenders, mighty in their spiritual power, such as Ilya Muromets, Dobrynya Nikitich and Alyosha Popovich, Vasnetsov attempted at the turn of the 20th century to bridge the heroic past of the Russian people and its great future. Indeed Gelfand's steeds show the proud fighting spirit and desire to defend the motherland of Russia. Gelfand wins.


Game 8. Position at 14. … Qf6
The Black Sea. (A storm begins to whip up in the Black Sea) Ayvazovskiy (Gayvazovskiy), Ivan (Oganes) Konstantinovich
1881
oil on canvas
149 х 208
at 10, Lavrushinsky Lane, Hall 19 



Aivazovsky was the best known and most celebrated Russian artist of marine paintings. In this masterpiece, in the foreground there is a wave with whitecaps of foam – the “Aivazovsky wave” as his contemporaries called it. The palette is unusually rich. It brings together greens, silver tones, emerald tints and extends to the darkening deep blues at the horizon. In the centre we see a lone sailboat, symbol of man’s insignificance before the universe and at the same time a sign of the Romantic Wanderlust.

Wanderlust was the undoing of the Black Queen. The Queen went to f6 completely oblivious of the storm brewing in the sea that would destroy everything. Gelfand loses to Anand in 17 moves in a tragic disaster.


Game 9 Final Position 

1823
oil on canvas
74,7 х 59,3
at 10, Lavrushinsky Lane, Hall 13 
Alekseyev, Fedor Yakovlevich
Cathedral Square in the Moscow Kremlin Undated
oil on canvas
81,7 х 112

We found two great masterpieces to dedicate to Game 9 of the Anand-Gelfand 2012 World Chess Championship. On the one hand we have the graceful 'lace maker'. Her figure and movements are full of grace. Tropinin embodied the poetry of simplicity and pleasant home life. Quite like the Black Queen. But, Anand's fortress, rather cathedral reminds us of the Cathedral Square in the Moscow Kremlin as Anand's Knight, Rook, and King sit safely looking out on the battleground. Game ended in a draw. 
1879
oil on canvas
63,5 x 50
10, Lavrushinsky Lane, Hall 37 

Lots of activity in the centre of the board. Game 10 had all the autumn leaves falling and eventually, the Black King stands alone wondering if he should walk the lonely path that might “seem to be entering Nature's magnificent cathedral, where the earthly and heavenly paths are within reach of each other. 

The trunks of pine trees stretch solemnly upwards; set ablaze, as if in a bonfire of flames, the yellow foliage of maples illuminates the dark avenue.” The artist abandons a rigorous realistic manner. Anand and Gelfand abandon the game as a draw. But, there were so many leaves falling...





Game 11 Final Position
Grekov (Martyshchenko), Mitrofan Borisovich
1925
oil on canvas
83 х 114 


The end position is surely like Grekov's Gun Cart. This was one the artist's most popular paintings with the “machine-gun cart celebrated in songs”. It is a highly mobile firepower for the cavalry. In the work we see everything – movement and blast…conveyed by quick brush strokes, but with the necessary measure of definition that shows the tense state of the gunners. The complex rhythm of the endgame position with a 'full gun cart' is there, but we know there's nothing more to it. The image is integrally that of an eventual draw. 




Game 12 Final Position
Oil on canvas 
48.5 x 39.5 

The fans and commentators were suddenly all taken aback. No, it is early spring, the game has just begun can it be abandoned as a draw. Is there not the full potential of the spring waiting, a battle awaiting? Gelfand and Anand decided otherwise. They had heralded the spring of modern chess by giving to the world 12 nice games (results notwithstanding) at the 2012 world chess championship! 

A new season – where a blitz and rapid tiebreak – would decide who would reign as the chess king for the seasons to come!

Stay tuned for the excellent live broadcast of 2012 World Chess Championship tiebreak on Wednesday. You can also view all the 12 chess games of the 2012 Anand-Gelfand world chess championship at the official website

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