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Marcel Duchamp
Photograph courtesy of Real Clear Arts 
Number of games in database: 82
Years covered: 1922 to 1961

Overall record: +21 -45 =16 (35.4%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games in the database.

With the White pieces:
 Nimzo Indian (8) 
    E20 E43
 Queen's Gambit Declined (6) 
    D37 D38
 English (4) 
    A15 A13
With the Black pieces:
 Queen's Indian (7) 
    E12 E16 E19 E17
 Caro-Kann (7) 
    B13 B16 B12 B18
 Alekhine's Defense (6) 
    B03 B02
 Nimzo Indian (5) 
    E34 E21 E23 E24 E46
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Koltanowski vs Duchamp, 1929 0-1
   Duchamp vs Znosko-Borovsky, 1931 1/2-1/2
   Opocensky vs Duchamp, 1933 1/2-1/2
   J Kleczynski Jr vs Duchamp, 1924 0-1

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(born Jul-28-1887, died Oct-02-1968, 81 years old) France

[what is this?]
(Henri Robert) Marcel Duchamp was born in Blainville-Crevon in Normandy. As early as 1902 Duchamp was painting in the garden of the family home. A pioneer of Dadaism and Surrealism, Duchamp was equally passionate about chess. In 1923 he concentrated on playing and his strength became master class. He played in the French Championships and also in the Olympiads 1928-1933.

In 1925 he had his chances to become champion of France. He started well in the tournament, but blundered in a winning position against the eventual victor Robert Crepeaux, and then, perhaps deflated, lost to Casier. Duchamp ended up sixth.

Wikipedia article: Marcel Duchamp

 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 82  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. Duchamp vs Mario Schroeder 0-1411922Marshall CC - Brooklyn CC mD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
2. Duchamp vs Colle 1-0321923BrusselsA53 Old Indian
3. Duchamp vs Koltanowski  0-1301923BrusselsD85 Grunfeld
4. Duchamp vs N Rubens  0-1221923Marshall CC - Staten Island CC mA46 Queen's Pawn Game
5. Duchamp vs G Davidescu 0-1541924Paris prel-7A15 English
6. V Fernandez Coria vs Duchamp  ½-½251924Paris f-BD02 Queen's Pawn Game
7. Duchamp vs V Kahn 0-1431924Paris prel-7A38 English, Symmetrical
8. Duchamp vs V Marin y Llovet  ½-½321924Paris f-BA13 English
9. Duchamp vs K Rozic 1-0241924Paris f-BA15 English
10. J Kleczynski Jr vs Duchamp 0-1391924ParisB03 Alekhine's Defense
11. A Chepurnov vs Duchamp 1-0231924Paris prel-7B02 Alekhine's Defense
12. A Rueb vs Duchamp  0-1421924Paris prel-7B02 Alekhine's Defense
13. Duchamp vs C W Brown 1-0291924Paris f-BA04 Reti Opening
14. S F Smith vs Duchamp  0-1851924Paris f-BB03 Alekhine's Defense
15. K Vanek vs Duchamp  1-0231924Paris f-BB02 Alekhine's Defense
16. M Romi vs Duchamp  1-0291924Paris, finaleB03 Alekhine's Defense
17. Duchamp vs E Steiner 0-1291924Paris f-BA15 English
18. Edmond Michel vs Duchamp 0-1361924FRA-chB30 Sicilian
19. Duchamp vs H Bertrand  1-0301925FRA-chD37 Queen's Gambit Declined
20. Duchamp vs R Crepeaux 0-1361925FRA-chA52 Budapest Gambit
21. Weenink vs Duchamp ½-½291928OlympiadB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
22. H Mueller vs Duchamp 1-0101928Den Haag olA28 English
23. Duchamp vs Znosko-Borovsky 0-1191929ParisE11 Bogo-Indian Defense
24. G A Thomas vs Duchamp  1-0261929ParisB13 Caro-Kann, Exchange
25. Koltanowski vs Duchamp 0-1151929ParisE00 Queen's Pawn Game
 page 1 of 4; games 1-25 of 82  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Duchamp wins | Duchamp loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: La sonate-
Aug-28-17  Rose Selavy: <Dom> The late wife of Marcel Duchamp, Teeny Duchamp said (after Duchamp's death) that he had never played against Beckett... Beckett's biographers say they have ... I guess we'll never know.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: "A game of chess is a visual and plastic thing, and if it isn't geometric in the static sense of the word, it is mechanical, since it moves. It's a drawing; it's a mechanical reality."
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Rose Selavy> - To be honest, I don't fully trust *either* set of biographers/scholars where chess is concerned. This makes sense, of course - they have presumably spent years studying art and/or literature, with little time to delve deeply into chess. The exception is FM Allan Savage, who posts here as Duchamp 64, has published on Duchamp, and who clearly knows chess.

I once discussed Beckett's play 'Endgame' with a leading Beckett scholar, well aware of the role played by chess. But it transpired that he thought the 'endgame' was just the final moves of any game, whether a mating combination or a pawn promotion. When I explained the normal chess meaning of 'endgame' he was surprised.

Similarly, I've read articles on Duchamp that had little feeling for his interest in chess.

You may be right, though, that we'll never know whether Duchamp and Beckett played. Although one can dream... a few years ago, a friend of mine bought a car which had been owned by Sam, complete with Beckettian ash in the ashtray. Is it too much to hope that some other relic might reveal the score of a chess game?

Incidentally, aren't there two R's in Rrose Selavy?

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Re. Wikipedia: <During this period his fascination with chess so distressed his first wife that she glued his <pieces> to the board.>

At first blush, I thought it said <penis>.

Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Belfast News-Letter, February 9th 1928, p.10:

<The tournament at Hyeres has just concluded in a triple tie for first prize, the leaders being J. J. O'Hanlon (Ireland), V. Halberstadt (Russia), and M. Duchamp (France). The three will jointly hold the Philidor Challenge Cup for 1928. In the final round O'Hanlon lost to Duchamp through accidentally touching a pawn, which his opponent insisted upon his moving. A draw in this round would have made the Ulster player a clear first.>

Oct-08-17  JimNorCal: I read recently about Duchamp’s scientific ventures into visuals created by spinning disks. His work had real scientific value.

I was amazed.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <Jim> Yeah, Rotoreliefs. I saw a set of them at an art exhibition about ten years ago.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: Duchamp's biographer, Calvin Tomkins, wrote that Duchamp wanted to show that, at least in chess terms, the artistic mentality could match the scientific engineering mentality which was dominant in chess.

Unfortunately, wrote Tomkins, "The Memory Boys were tougher".

Great line. I love that idea - Marcel vs the Memory Boys.

Premium Chessgames Member
Oct-18-17  JimNorCal: Here's a snip from something I read about Duchamp. "The Richness of Life" (collection of writings by Stephen Jay Gould, edited by Steven Rose, from pgs 61-62 "Although Italian scientists (unaware of Duchamp's work) found and named this particular form of illusion as the "stereo-kinetic effect" in 1924, Duchamp apparently discovered this perceptual phenomenon in the early 1920s and completed his first set of disks in 1923. ... a viewer would see the resulting pattern as a three-dimensional form even through one eye alone, without the supposedly necessary benefit of stereoscopy. ... art museums invariably exhibit these discs as framed, static objects on a wall -- whereas they have no meaning, either artistic or scientific, unless they spin."
Oct-18-17  JimNorCal: The book notes that Duchamp explicitly regarded the RotoReliefs as scientific not artistic work in correspondence with others. One medical doctor, for example, used Duchamp's RotoRelief discs to help retrain 3D capability in soldiers that had lost one eye in WWI.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Domdaniel: <JimNorCal> Fascinating, thank you. I thought I'd read most of Gould's books as well as many by or about Duchamp, but I wasn't aware of that one.
Oct-20-17  JimNorCal: And do check out Stonehenge's link, very artistic!
Oct-20-17  zanzibar: <JimNorCal>, yes, but don't forget the PG-13 rating when checking out the set (the Max Ernst chess set, of course).


Oct-21-17  JimNorCal: <zanzibar>: good point.
Oct-23-17  epistle: "But of course, the brilliance of Étant donnés is that it was conceived as a puzzle. It will never have a fixed meaning, only an ever-evolving body of interpretations."

Oct-23-17  JimNorCal: <epistle>: Fascinating. Thanks.
Premium Chessgames Member
  MissScarlett: Marcel Duchamp walked into a bar. The barman asked him: <Why the long face?>
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: "It's a product of two poles - there's the pole of the one who makes the work, and the pole of the one who looks at it. I give the latter as much importance as the one who makes it."
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: "I do not believe in painting per se – A painting is made not by the artist but by those who look at it and grant it their favors. In other words, no painters knows himself or what he is doing – There is no outward sign explaining why a Fra Angelico and a Leonardo are equally 'recognized'. It all takes place at the level of our old friend luck."
May-01-18  Malachi: According to this scholar - - there's pretty solid documentation that Duchamp and Beckett did play.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Nice pic:


Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: https://d32dm0rphc51dk.cloudfront.n...

Playing chess with Raoul de Roussy de Sales.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: John Cage and Duchamp play chess:

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