13 March 2008


"Chess" - The Musical



Singing "Heaven Help my Heart" from Chess - The Musical:

Singing "Nobody's Side" from Chess - The Musical

Let's begin with a little music and move into design. I love Chess. The game. The musical. The history. The competition. The intricacy. The strategy. The elegance. It is Most Excellent and for me it is quite timely.


“Each game of chess means there’s one less variation left to be played. Each day got through means one or two less mistakes remain to be made.” So begins the intriguing and ultimately ill-fated musical Chess. And no other lyrics could better summarize the twisted and various paths the musical has taken through the years.

The story of Chess revolves around a World Chess Championship being played between a Russian Grandmaster, Anatoly Sergievsky, and his American rival, Frederick Trumper (a character inspired by and John McEnroe and Bobby Fischer.)

In the middle of this heated battle is Florence Vassy, Freddie’s second (a kind of personal chess trainer) and lover. She is a refugee of the 1956 Hungarian uprising, and has learned to trust no one. Remarkably, however, she finds herself falling in love with the Russian, who in turn, defects from Russia to be with her. All of these moves affect the people surrounding Florence and Anatoly, including Anatoly’s KGB hired second named Molokov, Freddie’s brash agent Walter, and Anatoly’s wife, Svetlana.

Chess is used as a metaphor in the story for games people play in relationships as well as politics; “Everybody’s playing the game, but nobody’s rules are the same.” People are dehumanized and seen as merely pawns in a much bigger game; “The game is greater than its players.”

Chess originated as a concept album released in 1984. The music by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus (of ABBA fame), and lyrics by the ingenious Tim Rice (who also penned the lyrics to such classic musicals as Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita) were immediately hailed as fantastic, two singles reaching the top of the charts in England and America: “One Night in Bangkok” and “I Know Him So Well.”


I believe a house is not a home without the right accessories. I also believe that the way we live and function in our space tells a lot about who we are as individuals. I believe that a study, home office, living room, play room or parlor always benefits from a special nuance or detail. Such a detail would be the placement of a chess board and beautiful chess pieces. Whether they are crystal, marble, Rosewood, Hand-painted Italian antique pieces or Wedgewood porcelain, the look of a distinguished chess board and playing pieces is a very nice "added touch" to any interior design. What is even more fantastic are the individuals who come together to partake and play the game of Chess in that environment. Creating and designing an interior is about bringing life to a space. Life is full of many games. I admire and appreciate the elegance of the game of Chess. More about the game may be found at:

Imported from Italy, the Renaissance is one of Italfama's most impressive chess sets and is nothing less than spectacular! These are large and heavy chess pieces that are impressively detailed giving this set a much richer look than you would expect at this price. There is no mistaking the pieces as each piece from the king to the castle is easily recognized. This chess set is also available in a plain brass and nickel plated version.

Founded in 1759, Wedgwood manufactures quality ceramics combining sophisticated classical contemporary design with highly skilled craftsmanship and the highest standards of quality. Wedgwood is quintessentially English. It has a tradition of innovation, quality and craftsmanship and its designs are widely acknowledged as timeless, elegant, classic and understated. The Wedgwood design teams also work with external designers for cross-pollination of ideas and experience. Today, Wedgwood is known throughout the world for the quality of its products and its rich heritage.

Pictured above is the very limited edition Wedgwood Jasperware Figural Chessmen. It is crafted from premium Wedgwood Porcelain and the armies are off-white basalt and Pale Wedgwood blue in color. The figures were designed by the legendary 18th century designer John Flaxman and are based upon William Shakespeare's masterpiece Macbeth. Mr. Flaxman used the famous 18th century actors, Mrs. Sarah Siddons and Mr. Charles Kemble as models for the Kings and Queens featured in this set. Since this set first appeared in the late 18th century, Wedgwood have only occasionally brought out the original molds and reproduced this masterpiece. The last time this happened was during the 1960's. A leading collector of ceramic Chess sets has persuaded Wedgwood to unarchive the molds and, at his own expense, product a very limited number of this historically important set and give today's collectors the opportunity to acquire this wonderful set for their Collection. Each piece is stamped "Made in England Wedgwood", "Year 05" and the initials of the molder to the underside of the bases. The king stands 3.875" tall. This set is one of just 4 that was produced in 2005!

Italian hand-painted Val Gardena Chess set

The woodcarving tradition in Val Gardena region of Italy dates back nearly 500 years, to the beginning of the 17th century. A thorough analysis of historical records indicates that the tradition was started simultaneously and independently by two different peasant families, the Vinazer family in Pescosta and Trobinger family of Ciancel. Initially, they carved such functional things as toys, tools and domestic utensils, which they sold at spring fairs as a means to supplement their income and endure the long, snowy winters. The families enjoyed tremendous success with their woodcarvings and what started as a means of survival soon became a major industry for the region.

The Diplomat Crystal Chess set is a very elegant 14" crystal chess set. It is sure to help create a distinguished atmosphere everywhere it goes, It appeared in the motion picture "X-Men". The king measures 3" with a 1 1/8" base, pawns are 1 5/8" in height.

What appears to be small, (above), actually is not. This hand-poured concrete chess set would make a very grand presence OUTDOORS! (pictured below)

Your move.

Small Glass Chess Set, with Mirror Board, Clear and Frosted Assorted Color Pieces

Whimsical and a lot of fun! This is one of the most popular Chess sets from Studio Anne Carlton and has been for many years. The pieces are based on the characters in Lewis Carroll's famous Alice in Wonderland stories. This set continues to achieve record sales world-wide and is just beautiful. Made entirely by skilled craftsmen, each piece is polished and finely decorated by hand.

The White King and The Red King are the king, with Alice, of course as the queen. Hatta, the messenger serves as the bishop and The White Knight stands for the knight. Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee make excellent rooks while The Rabbit, Haigha the messenger, is the pawn.