Tuesday, 13 February 2007

No Draws in Pasadena

It is not generally known that the 'no draws before move 40 rule', far from being a 21st century invention, was first applied in Pasadena in 1963. However, at the time, it caused a lot of confusion amongst competitors. Eve Babitz, shown in the photo (top right) playing Black against world-famous artist Marcel Duchamp, admitted later that she had completely misinterpreted the tournament director's instruction that there were to be no draws before move 40.

Seriously, though... Julian Wasser's photo of Babitz and Duchamp playing chess, taken at the Pasadena Museum of Art in 1963, has become very famous. So much so that British artist Sir Peter Blake recently recreated it at Sotheby's in London, in advance of a major auction of surrealist art. Amongst the sale is Duchamp's chessboard, created in 1946. Sothebys estimated that it would sell for between £180,000 and £250,000. The photo (top left) shows artists' model Carol Holt playing against Blake.

Click here for the story on the BBC site: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/6325789.stm


  1. I like surrealism more and more.

  2. Maybe draws by drawers were banned in Pasadena only when not wearing drawers

  3. Well spotted - that particular news item had passed me by! A good start to your new blog, I think. Here's looking forward to many more interesting and entertaining posts in the future!

  4. I'm surprised Freddy Friedel hasn't got hold of this story yet - it's right up his street!

  5. That photograph may have a naked woman in it but the clock's on the wrong side of the board.

    Chess player has outbreak of pedantry while totally managing to miss the point. Who'd have thought...