Cindy Zhan: "Chess Mom and Lego Fan"

by André Schulz
3/3/2021 – Recently, Peter Heine Nielsen, Danish Grandmaster, coach and second of Magnus Carlsen, and father of four children, enthusiastically retweeted a tweet by Cindy Zhan, which shows a scene from game six of the World Championship match Fischer vs Spassky in Reykjavik 1972. However, the photo does not show the real match but a Lego model of it. It is one of many creations by Cindy Zhan, self-declared "Chess Mom and Lego Fan". | Photos: Cindy Zhan

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There will hardly be anyone with children who doesn't know "Lego", the little plastic building blocks produced by the Danish toy company, founded in 1932, that gave these blocks their name. You can build almost anything with them, and there are no limits to the imagination. All over the world, there are Lego fan clubs that build Lego models for anything and everything, sometimes in real size.

Lego serves a variety of playing worlds, from Harry Potter to Star Wars. Among older Lego fans, the railway worlds, the space shuttle and rocket models are very popular. Collectors pay large sums for older models that are no longer on the market, and Lego models are even traded as investments – and the models are particularly valuable if the box has not been opened yet.

The Lego logo

Unlike other toys, you can Lego creations apart, after which they take up less space. But beware! If you have given your children (and yourself) too many models, and you store the bricks in a box, it is increasingly difficult to reconstruct and build particular models. It seems as if at least one important brick is always missing and you just cannot find it among the many others. And by now, there are a myriad of different bricks that fulfil a function in the various Lego models, but can hardly be used in any other model.

Lego once also offered a chess set, but creating a chess world is something Lego has not yet thought of. But "Cindy Zhan" has. Under this name the "chess mother and Lego artist" regularly tweets photos of her Lego creations.

A scholastic tournament

Cindy Zhan also seems to be a fan of Beth Harmon and "The Queen's Gambit", and she recreated scenes of the series with Lego.

A Lego model, inspired by "The Queen's Gambit"

Recently, Cindy Zhan also recreated the sixth game of the Fischer vs Spassky match in Reykjavik 1972 – which made Peter Heine Nielsen (and others) happy.


Translation from English: Johannes Fischer

André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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