Chocolate Chess Match

Title: The Chocolate Chess Match
Date: 13/07 - 10/08/08
Medium: Photoshop CS3, wacob tablet
Description: In return for recording lots of chess videos for the people at, it was agreed to donate him (Greg Shahade) a years supply of chocolate and I decided to make my donation artwork. Larger version here. This picture is strange on many levels, but so are the videos and that's what makes them entertaining!

I can't believe this ended up taking a month, but I haven't drawn three people in the same picture before and to my great surprice (really!) that's a lot of hands and shirts to detail. Here's a tuturial of sorts, showing the progression from basic sketch to finish. I know that fellow artists out there love that stuff, though I haven't actually written any helpful comments.

A friend suggested a while ago that I try hiding some stuff in my drawings, so there's lots of that in this one. Some of it is inspired by Nabokov's Luzhin Defense, and his talk about Pawn formations appearing in the marble tiles of the floor. :) Who can find the three Bishops, 1 Pawn, 1 Knight, one hidden shadow of a Pawn and one head of a King? By the way, notice what happens to captured Pawns and that they have braids (look at the chess cartoons if this is a new concept to you). And the back of the clock has the texture it has because I originally intended to make it a cake-clock, but changed my mind (leaving some texture). There are roaring she-lions on the Rooks (except the black, they're blessed by Caissa), and Rooks on her pants! And an obvious trio of Queens on the cup. The Knights have the Lady Godiva riding on them! ( rofl) The name is not an accident and should be recognized by chocolate lovers.

Warning: chocolate is toxic and is only made edible by adding tons of sugar to disguse its bitter taste. I feel morally obliged to say this, in case children or easily influenced minds might think its a good idea to get, play with and eat, chocolate chess sets of their own!

I also have to apologize to the people I harrassed for ideas and creativity, I didn't mean all that stuff about YOU being the artist etc. :/ Especially not when the kind of feedback you give me is this!:


It's okay though, I still love you. :p

About the notation sheets, don't look too closely on Jennifers because the moves are gibberish. I lazily asked a friend to write out a possible move sequense to reach the game position, thinking a guy would probably be better at that because he's a guy (they're good at math and stuff.. haha, I'm prejudiced), and I then pasted it onto the notes without checking them before I had drawn and merged the note-layers. I couldn't keep them when I DID read them, so I then played out some I thought were ok to reach the position on the board and put them on Greg's, expecting Jennifers to be too blurred for anyone to read except in original resolution. The blue ink is supposed to look handwriting-ish, but it's probably too neat for that. Maybe I should have written it freehand myself? Edit: my god, I am too slobby, I just noticed typos in the readable notes as well! I must take a break from the right-brain dictatorship when I do this stuff.

The ratings are taken from ICC. Oh, and in case someone doesn't know, Greg and Jennifer shahade are brother/sister and well-known American players. Gotta get my hands on her book "Chess Bitch" someday!


Greg Jennifer Shahade details