The closing ceremony included a musical performance by Jason Kouchak playing excerpts from Grieg Piano Concerto and Peer Gynt suite as well as a world premiere of his own composition: Queen of the Knight inspired by Mozart and Philidor as a tribute to Norway Chess and Armageddon.
Mozart Musical mosaic at the museum by Jason Kouchak.
Turning to a more classical genre, pianist and composer Jason Kouchak published an homage to Carlsen and Caruana on the eve of the World Championship match entitled “Victory Moves”.
Six young chess enthusiasts from the Royal Borough have been part of a unique project to design and print a queen chess piece using the Council’s 3D printer.
The final design will be unveiled at Kensington Central Library on Saturday 3 December from 11.30am to 1.30pm, when the girls will compete in a special chess tournament using pieces which have all been printed by the 3D printer.
The initiative is known as the ‘Queen’s Journey’ because there are 64 squares on a chess board and this year marks Her Majesty’s 64-year reign. The six girls, aged between seven and 13, are part of a local chess club run by chess enthusiast and classical pianist Jason Kouchak. Over the past six months the girls have designed the queen’s chess piece and been shown 3D printing in action.
Councillor Emma Will, the Royal Borough’s Cabinet Member for Libraries, said:
“We are continuing to invest in our library service and I’m delighted that the addition of our 3D printer has inspired these young people to get creative with digital technology.
“Over the coming months we will be holding more events to showcase exactly what 3D printing can do and I’d urge budding inventors, creators and aspiring entrepreneurs to pop into their local library to find out more.”
Jason Kouchak who as a local resident had the idea of bringing the giant chess set to Holland Park said:
“This chess and 3D project provides an opportunity to inform and inspire more girls to see chess from a different and new exciting perspective.
“The Queen having reigned for 64 wonderful years provided the girls with an opportunity to design a 3D chess Queen and understand the importance of the 3D design process as they see their designs magically transformed into a physical piece”
More than just a game, throughout its history chess has had an intrinsic relationship with cultures around the world. From its origin in India over 2500 years ago, through the Renaissance and into modern times, chess has been a source of inspiration for painters, sculptors, musicians and writers. As part of its mission to increase appreciation for chess, The National Scholastic Chess Foundation (NSCF) recently partnered with European composer, Jason Kouchak, to present an afternoon performance entitled “The Queen’s Journey: An Exploration of Chess, Music and Dance”.
In chess, the Queen symbolizes both grace and power. Her movements were celebrated in dance by ballerina Adrianna Aguilar to music written by Mr. Kouchak who first presented his chess and ballet concept at the British Museum in 2015. The performance included other chess-inspired music by Mr. Kouchak as well as a brief history of the evolution of the queen selected from a new book “Great Moves: Learning Chess Through History” coming from Mongoose Press in 2017. The performance also included an example of how chess can inspire group collaboration demonstrated with a group game played by eight girls from different NSCF chess programs in New York City, Westchester and Fairfield Counties.
“Each game of chess is like a new melody which beautifully resolves at the end of a journey,” said Mr. Kouchak in explaining how chess inspires some of his music. “I hope by using a combination of chess, music and ballet we can inspire and inform children of the importance of coordinating together and moving forward in the future together. This performance combines the visual aesthetic, melody and movement to remind us that the game is always greater than the player.”
“Across America, there is an emphasis on chess as a competitive activity,” said Sunil Weeramantry, NSCF Executive Director. “While that is one component of the NSCF programs, we also want to restore the game’s position within the culture. Our goal is to encourage an appreciation of the elegance of chess and an understanding of its history.”
The inaugural performance of “The Queen’s Journey” was presented to a packed house in a small theater at ArtsWestchester in White Plains, NY. “There was so much interest we quickly realized we needed a larger space,” Sunil said. “We are looking forward to producing the event again in a larger venue and we hope to share “The Queen’s Journey” with other organizations that are trying to encourage greater interest by girls and expanding the discussion of how chess connects with our broader culture.”
For video highlights of “The Queen’s Journey” click this image.
You can also see the full video of the ballet “Reflections” featuring Adrianna Aguilar, of “Queen of the Castle,” featuring Carolyn Weeramantry on violin, and of our NSCF chess queens performing “Life Into…” by clicking these links.
Special thanks to our chess queens and their families: White team – Hana Kaloudis, Sienna Chong, Iris Mou, Maya Doron-Repa; Black team – Danielle Sharp, Andrea Nystedt, Serena Evans, Sanah Rekhi; our “Great Moves” reader, Helena Servin-Demarrais; and to Mayor Tom Roach of the City of White Plains for his kind words.
Get into the groove
— Siegbert Tarrasch, The Game of Chess (1931)
Enjoy the special artistic moment of Jason Kouchak’s “Queen’s Journey”, an inspirational highlight and a pitch-perfect fit for the day. You will feel the Grandmaster’s touch through the human display of the eight queens puzzle: the ladies can be strong and follow their paths without obstructing each other.
Chess Queens at the British Museum are dancing on a giant chess board protecting the Chess King.
Now at last, more girls can be inspired and informed of the beauty and grace of playing chess through the choreography of chess pieces. Power,precision and pace so vividly demonstrated through ballet movement combined with the education of mental strength and the ability to assess and evaluate surroundings at speed.
Simply by using simple geometric patterns and steps children can learn the movement os the Queen as both a powerful and feminine piece on the chess board. An educational and entertaining way of learning chess for all ages.
The most enduring game of all is chess, which has been played in western Europe since the early Middle Ages – witness the beautiful Lewis Chessmen (chess pieces of walrus ivory, found on Lewis in 1831, but likely made in Norway in around AD 1150–1200). The rules of chess, however, underwent a significant change in the mid-to-late 15th century when the queen, originally a weak piece, became the most dominant figure on the board. The romantic among us might date the change to the emergence of powerful female rulers, such as Isabella I of Castile or Anne of Beaujeu, regent of France from 1483-91.
Chess-playing was an essential social skill for the upper classes in the Tudor period. The inventory of goods belonging to Catherine of Aragon, taken after she had been banished from court in 1531, revealed two ivory chess-boards with pieces; a set of red and ivory chess men; and a further box of ivory chessmen. These were all commandeered by Henry VIII.
Queen Elizabeth I enjoyed playing chess with her knights and bishops usually losing to her!