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Exhibition of Chess Sets in Irvine, Ayrshire

June 28 - July 27, 2003

An exhibition of chess sets made by 90 different artists is underway at the Vennel Art Gallery in Irvine, Ayrshire. The chess sets are all different types of classic, modern and interpretive art.

The display was recently in San Francisco USA and their web site showed some of the sets featured in Irvine.



Rowson v Shaw challenge match at the Vennel Gallery - July 18

The Vennel Gallery in Irvine, with its historic links to Robert Burns' early days, proved a seductive venue for a two game speed match between GM Jonathan Rowson and IM John Shaw. The match was held on Friday evening to complement and promote the chess art exhibition taking place at the gallery.

The 20 or so spectators were able to enjoy the exhibition of chess pieces produced by some of the world's top artists including several based in Scotland. All the pieces can be purchased, but there isn't much time left to see the exhibition before it goes off to Wales, then to the Victoria and Albert in London and then back to the US, with no other Scottish venue.

The exhibition is open from 10 am till 1 pm and 2 pm till 5 pm on 19th, 20th July and then each day from 24th to 27th July inclusive.

The match proved a success for Jonathan Rowson, winning both 15 minute allegro games. In the first game, John Shaw found difficulty in constructing a suitable plan as a backward d-pawn proved not to be weak, and Jonathan was able gradually to improve his position until John went for broke with a sacrifice to try to produce some play. Game 2 found Jonathan Rowson exploiting some weaknesses around his opponent's king with tactical opportunities abounding after Nh5+ - including a hugely effective Qh2++ threat at the end. Play over the games

The exhibition comes at the end of an active chess year in North Ayrshire, with a successful inaugural teacher training course for chess, and an international tri-nation junior tournament. North Ayrshire Head of Services Lesley Owens was at the heart of these events and hosted the chess match, together with Ian Clarkson who welcomed the players and audience to the Gallery and gave some background on the exhibition.

(Text and photo) by John Glendinning


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