Bobby Fischer meets Alice in the work of Norberto Conti

From Brazil comes word of Norberto Conti, an Argentinian artist with three muses: Alice, Bobby Fischer and quantum physics. These unlikely graces inspire surreal landscapes of chessboard spires of quantum foam, grinning skeletal cats and mirrored paradoxes. His Alice Series, Fischer Series and other works featuring Albert Einstein, Steven Hawkins and superstrings can all be viewed on his Portuguese language website.

Conti’s work was exhibited at the LA art show last January as part of a contribution by members of the Ward-Nasse Gallery.



Norberto Conti

"Fischer through the mirror" by Norberto Conti

Norberto Conti Schrödinger's Cat II

"Schrödinger's Cat II" by Norberto Conti




A Very Special Chess Set

Chess Table from English Russia

Check out this beautiful custom chess set, featured on the website English Russia. It seems to be a work in progress but, from the description, we gather that the grand scheme is for an ornately carved table concealing a glass chessboard and ivory pieces. Turning a handle shaped like a flamingo’s head will activate a mechanism that lifts the board out of the table and ready for play.

The work of an unnamed Ukrainian master ivory carver, each piece is a highly-detailed rendering of a Tenniel illustration – white players from Through the Looking-Glass and black players from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. See the website for pictures of the man at work and a longer description of the project. Let’s hope that pictures of the finished work make it online too.

Lion Knight from English Russia

Walrus Pawn from English Russia


Mongoose Press Anthology of Chess Fiction reviewed

Masters of Technique, Mongoose Press

In April this year, Mongoose Press released the “first ever” anthology of contemporary chess fiction. Subscribers to our Yahoo news group will already know that one of the stories was written by LCSNA-member and novelist Katherine Neville. Neville’s story featuring Alice Liddell and Charles Dodgson sits alongside other stories diverse in genre and inspiration. Other contributors include Steven Carter, author of the New York Times best-seller Emperor of Ocean Park, and Paul Eggers, former United States Chess Federation master.

A lengthy review of the book, written by Sean Gonsalves, is now available on In Howard’s Gambit, Gonsalves provides some interesting back story to the book and its editor Howard Goldowsky. He also reviews some of the contributions. For serious chess aficionados, let down in the past by implausible fictional chess, Gonsalves offers the following reassurance:

… for all you expert chess players out there, the icing on the cake with MOT is the realistic description of actual chess moves in each of the twelve stories, unlike the impossible positions found in lots of pulp chess fiction.

To wit, from Patrick Somerville’s short story, The Game I Once Enjoyed:

“There was a fork on his next turn – king and bishop – but I had to get my queen out of the way of the long diagonal he’d opened up in his last turn, another little something I had missed. He’d be up a piece, whichever way I went to save my queen. So be it, I thought. Been here before. I reached forward to move, but stopped.” More…

Masters of Technique: Mongoose Chess Anthology of Chess Fiction (Hardcover) can be purchased from the Mongoose Press ($24.95) or from Amazon ($17.96). Proceeds from the book will go to support chess schools and clubs.


Amazing Chess Set

Check out Yasmin Sethi’s Alice-inspired chess set! “Inspired by [Through the Looking Glass], the chess pieces have an opaque mirror finish, when they touch the surface of the board they magically turn transparent and reveal the identity of the piece contained inside them. When removed from the board they revert to being opaque, hiding the identity of the piece. This is a comment on how a chess piece has no value unless it is in play on the board. …the White Knight only works when placed upside down, a reference to the book where the White Knight talks about how he thinks better when he is upside down.” Designed in response to a brief set by Schott UK Ltd. for final year students of Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, one hopes that it will soon be on the market!