Jennifer Shahade, two-time U.S. Women's Champion plays chess against a naked
man and talks about Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess by Francis M.Naumann, Bradley
Bailey with analysis by Shahade. Created by Dim Mak Films. Read more about the
video and the Duchamp game vs. a naked woman that inspired it: jennifershahade.com/site/2009/04/16/naked-chess/
You probably know the famous picture, taken by Julian Wasser at the Pasadena
Art Museum in 1963, of the artist and chess fan Marcel Duchamp playing chess
against a naked lady. There are full reproductions here,
and here. If
the subject is really of interest to you there's an
interview with the model, one Ms Eve Babitz, who in 2000 spoke about the
circumstances of the historic photograph ("[Julian] said he had this great
idea that I should play chess naked with Marcel Duchamp and it seem to be such
a great idea that it was just like the best idea I'd ever heard in my life.
It was like a great idea. I would be sort of immortalized.")
recently US American WGM Jennifer Shahade, rated 2322, who has also earned a
degree in Comparative Literature at New York University, and done all the analysis
for a book entitled Marcel
Duchamp: The Art of Chess, took inspiration from that picture and incident,
and engaged in some naked chess play herself. Wearing a corset and using a borrowed
chess set (price $1,100) Jennifer played a game that was taped in the new
Now before you gentlemen get too excited about this film project, know that
the naked model was not Jenny Shahade but a man named Jason Bretz. His nickname
is "Smiley", though Jen says she didn’t realize why till after
the shoot. "I guess being naked, cold and in a doomed chess position took
away some of his natural cheer."
In the video below Jennifer interrupts the game to narrate her involvement
in the Duchamp chess biography and talks about the great artist's chess skills,
before she is forced to concentrate on her game and the opponent.
For any of you who are in the vicinity there will be a panel discussion on
Duchamp’s chess career at the Chess
Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis on Tuesday, May 5, one day before
the art exhibit Marcel Duchamp:
Chess Master opens at the Saint Louis University Museum of Art (SLUMA).
But on to the video, which has drawn world-wide media attention – well,
we found a story entitled "Har du sett på naken?" on a Norwegian
news portal. The video was posted on Vimeo.
Shaking up the chess world
few years ago Jennifer Shahade generated a fair amount of national and international
attention with a
book very provocatively entitled Chess
Bitch. "I have very mixed feelings about the various Anna Kournikovas
of chess who promote chess and themselves in sexy modeling shoots," she said
at the time. "A big dream is to help get chess on TV or featured in a film so
I’m also working on that with a few different producers, hoping that if I shoot
enough darts we’ll hit a bull’s-eye one day."
This explains the new video. The 28-year-old Woman Grandmaster is not content
to simply play the game she's loved since she was a child. In the book, which
features Shahade clad in a pink wig, scarf, and gloves on the cover, she examines
high-profile female chess players from countries as farflung as Zambia, Russia,
and China, examining the ways various governments support and nurture budding
champions and how chess is or isn't valued, both financially and otherwise.
She shares her own experiences studying with the likes of Garry Kasparov, and
ultimately argues in favor of more women playing more chess, whether it's in
all-female tournaments or mixed ones.
Today Jennifer, who twice won the US Women's Chess Championship, is kept busy
with a full-time job as Editor in Chief of Uschess.org,
the official website of the United States Chess Federation, where she also blogs
about the game. You can read an indepth interview with her about her book
Gothamist, and more about the Naked Chess game on this
page (which includes stills from the match).