Jennifer on Nashville, Duchamp and the Dragon Print E-mail
By Jennifer Shahade   
March 5, 2009
I just booked my tickets from Philadelphia to Nashville. I am arriving on Thursday, April 2, just in time to check out evening simuls from some of the many stars confirmed for SuperNationals IV and in plenty of time to see Garry Kasparov kick off the opening ceremony. I remember playing in the first SuperNationals in 1997, also in Nashville, and coaching in the 2001 (Kansas City, Missouri) and 2005 editions.  My brother Greg, who is also attending as a coach for I.S. 318 of Brooklyn, calls coming to Opryland, affectionately, "returning to the bubble."

Besides reporting and posting dispatches, including exclusive videos, I'll be giving a talk on Saturday April 4 at 11 AM,  Chess, Writing and Art. This is right after GM Yury Shulman's lecture on chess coaching, which I plan to check out. 

I'll show excerpts from a chess video installation I've been working on. The photo above, featuring a red and white set from is a still from the video. I will also discuss my work annotating 15 games for Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess by Francis M.Naumann and Dr.Bradley Bailey (May, 2009). Marcel Duchamp, considered the most influential artist of the 20th century along with Picasso, was also a member of the French National chess team. Over the years, I've read a lot of extreme opinions, both negative and positive, about Marcel Duchamp's chess skills, so it was fun to go over his games and see for myself what his strengths and weaknesses were. One of my favorite games by Duchamp was a very modern handling of the Dragon defense. After 24 moves, he reached this position:

Michel-Duchamp, Strasbourg, 1924

Can you guess what Marcel Duchamp did in the position above?

Show Solution

The death of the Dragon is often declared, but it seems to have infinite lives. Magnus Carlsen's recent win in Linares 09 over Leinier Dominguez was heart-warming to this former devotee. Check out some really nice annotations of the game by GM Marin on Chessbase.  


 Unfortunately, the Duchamp book won't be available by the time of Nashville, but you can read a bit more about the book here.
The layout of the games was done by an artist, Jean Sabrier and the diagrams are totally different than anything I've seen before, based on Duchamp's design for a rubber stamp set.

In the Q+A portion of my April 4 talk, I will open it up to questions on and suggestions for Chess Life Online.  I hope to see some players, coaches, parents and old friends there.  

Stay tuned for more details on SuperNationals IV and a full schedule of special events, including simuls, talks and book signings. Look for more on Duchamp and chess in May, when the Saint Louis University Museum of Art will open its exhibition Marcel Duchamp: Chess Master on May 6,  just a day before the U.S. Championship kicks off.