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Sam Havadtoy chess

Global Chess Festival

Judit Polgar Chess Foundation

Havadtoy Knight Moves

A fantastic exhibition was opened on July 13th in Budapest at the  Ludwig Museum by world known artist and interior designer Sam Havadtoy. The Hungarian-American artist loves playing chess and the black and white game also inspires him to create chess-themed artworks. In his art, chess serves as a metaphor for life and relationships. Play by Trust might be the most famous such artwork, where all pieces are white. The initial idea came from Yoko Ono and Sam Havadtoy realized it in beautiful pieces of art. 


In a recent interview Havadtoy revealed how his friendship with John Lennon and Yoko Ono had started: John saw a small chess set carved from ivory in his shop and he asked Sam to polish and prepare it as a gift for Yoko, with engraving the words that looked like "From the kids to the queen". Later it turned out that the handwriting was misread, what John Lennon actually wrote was "From the king to the queen".

Sam Havadtoy and Judit Polgar at the opening of the Knight Moves exhibition


One of the main sections of the exhibition in the Ludwig Museum is based on his relationship with Yoko Ono, with chess as its leitmotif. “Of all the letters of condolence and gifts that came to the Dakota after John Lennon’s death, one of the strangest and most touching was the 5x5cm handmade leather chess set sent by the chess world champion Bobby Fischer. This was how Yoko and I began playing chess,” recalls Havadtoy. 41 paintings, in which each move is represented in a different shade of white was inspired by the Fischer - Spassky world championship match in 1972. Some artworks of the series are exhibited and can be seen until 2nd of September in Budapest.

Judit Polgar Chess Foundation
Judit Polgar Chess Foundation