Monday, July 16, 2007
When my husband was quite a bit younger, he competed in chess tournaments and was quite a good player. To this day, when he sees someone playing chess in a movie or T.V. program, he will scrutinize what is happening carefully and pronounce whether or not the moves are realistic. He also has nothing for disdain for the way in which "checkmate" is proclaimed in a completely dubious fashion in so many shows. At those times, he reminds me of my father, who can identify older cars' makes and years with a glance, and who similarly scoffed at various things related to cars in T.V. shows.
At some point in his teen years, my husband lost interest in taking part in tournaments but he's still a very good player. On occasion, he plays against a fairly good program on his computer. He even has a kid who is a student at his school who he played chess with in lessons a few times. Part of the problem for him in terms of finding partners is that few casual players are as good as he is. In fact, I can play chess in that I know how the game is played but it's just too much concentration for me to think as many moves ahead as a really good player is required to do. My husband, on the other hand, is excellent at thinking things through thoroughly and he possesses the sort of memory that helps him remember moves.
A very long time ago, when my husband and I were still buying each other Christmas gifts, I bought him a small marble chess set at Tokyu Hands. I bought the small one because of our limited space but he would have preferred a really good large one with heavy, tactilely-satisfying pieces. One of these days, we'll live some place where we can just set up a nice little table somewhere and he can leave a beautiful chess set all the time.
The set pictured above has been in the closet for quite some time but I decided I'd take it out and use it decoratively in the bookcase. I made the picture near it with a collection of stock photos, Photoshop, and my new printer. It's actually served as an inspiration for an art project that I hope to create and hang in the living room some time in the next few weeks in the big glaring empty space above the T.V.
I'm hoping to construct a layered bit of artwork from a huge piece of corrugated plastic we have, vector art, and a lot of careful measuring and painting. Yesterday, I drew the basic chess pieces based on my husband's favorite bitmapped representations from his chess-playing days. If all goes well, the big version will greatly resemble the picture above.