April 3, 2006

Idea: The Pacifist Chess Set

Pacifist Chess

Chess is a game of war. So for those who disapprove of war, I’ve come up with the Pacifist Chess Set. The concept is illustrated above.

At first glance, it looks like you could play a legitimate game of chess with this set. But once you start playing you realize that you can’t play for very long — at least not very easily. As you play, and your pieces get closer to your opponent’s pieces, it becomes apparent that one side’s pieces are indistinguishable from the other side’s pieces. They are all the same color.

It’s not really a functional chess set. It’s more of an art or conversation piece. It makes the statement that, no matter what side of the battle we’re on, we have in common that we are all human.

[I got this idea while wandering through the Imagery of Chess Revisited exhibit at the Noguchi Museum in Queens. The exhibit is only around for two more weeks, but if you get a chance I highly recommend a visit. It features works by Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, Alexander Calder, and others. A book is also available, in case you miss the show.]


Before anybody needs to mention this: I just did a Google search for “pacifist chess set” and found a Yoko Ono sculpture called Play It By Trust, with all white pieces on an all white board. Similar concept, different execution. I’d say that “Great minds think alike,” but I’ll just say that “Minds think alike” and leave it at that.

This is a beautiful idea and execution. I was familiar with the optical illusion, but the presentation still had me fooled. The moment when two pawns come near one another and become indistinguishable is quite magical.

I’m with Craig. I really like your execution. And they fact that they look different from a distance is an important part of the statement.

Dude… you rock. I found your site through one of the massively linked postings you had, but dug into your page a bit more. Funny stuff. Must link!

Help! I can’t find my mommie!

Love it. Execution through careful use of lighting could be quite dramatic. (I’m imagining spot lighting that directly illuminates pieces on the “white” side and flood lighting along the board on the “black” side.)

Maybe spot lighting everywhere that makes the pieces blue vs. red would work, as well.

I hope someone is inspired by your idea (maybe yourself) and we get to see it realized and garner some attention.

Well as for minds thinking…ah-like…it all comes down to Jung’s collective unconscious. My first attempt at blogging was something entitled ‘CHESShire Chess’ which developed out my design work on Chess fonts for print, in turn related to my pioneer work with respect to Chess origins - which led me to conclude that it was at best a by-product abstracted from its Sacred Geometry to emerge as a sad testimony to the small minds and even smaller spirits who seem destined to repeated the endless cycles of war.

It was a very nice idea! Just wanna say thank you for the information you have shared. Just continue writing this kind of post. I will be your loyal reader. Thanks again.
this is good job!

I only know the Chinese chess,thanks for you share, very interesting, I like this.