The Doctor Chess Artist

by Frederic Friedel
10/26/2023 – He is an internist, a gastroenterologist at a Berlin hospital. He is also an avid chess player. And a photographer, who founded the Valokulta art group. Dr Jan Wähner has sent us some extraordinary pictures from the 2024 calendar, for which his good friend GM Dr Helmut Pfleger has written the foreword.

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Foreword to the 2024 Chess Calendar

Dr. med. Jan Wähner works as an internist and gastroenterologist in a Berlin hospital. But he is also a photographer and artist, an "artist doctor" who has also set up the so appealing website of doctors' chess, on which many colourful reports from the 31st annual German Doctors' Chess Championships can be found.

Dr. Wähner's "chess medical" artefacts are particularly popular at the award ceremonies and tributes. My chess room, for example, is adorned with a wonderful "Aesculapian King" by him, which I received at the last tournament in Bad Homburg in March 2023 – rarely has an award pleased me so much!

For 2024 Jan intends to publish another chess calendar with his inimitable photographs and artistic compositions. In a stirring, pictorial commentary, for example, the tanks in Tiananmen Square in 1989 roll towards a lone white pawn on a chessboard after the massacre of hundreds of innocent people, an apt symbol of the "tank man", this unknown protester in his white shirt.

I would be delighted if this unique chess calendar were to hang in many homes next year, perhaps even those of non-chess players, and accompany them through 2024.

Helmut Pfleger, MD
International Chess Grandmaster

Jan Wähner has sent us a few samples of the pictures from his cal [click to enlarge].

This final picture references the Tank Man (also known as the Unknown Protester), the unidentified Chinese man who stood in front of a column of a column of tanks leaving Tiananmen Square in Beijing on June 5, 1989, the day after the Chinese government had massacred hundreds of protesters. Here's the CBS report from the time:


Doctor's Chess Home Page (German)

Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.