It is not an unknown fact that many famous people play or have played chess. Many people have blogged about this…
But, if you pay close attention, the possible connections and relationship between chess and other subjects seems never ending.
For instance – let’s start with the movie “The Pianist”.
The Pianist – Chopin Ballade No. 1
Adrien Brody stars in this movie which is based on the autobiography of the pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman (1911-2000) [pronounced “Vuadysuav Shpilman”; also known as Wladek (“Vuadek”) Szpilman] who was born in Sosnowiec, in Poland.
In 1935, Szpilman was hired at the Polish State Radio Station of Warsaw. A celebrated composer and pianist , he played the last live music heard over Polish Radio airwaves.
He was playing Chopin’s ‘Nocturne in C# [C sharp] Minor,’ when the luftwaffe dive-bombed the station on September 23rd, 1939.
I am sure you know that Chopin was not only a musical genius, but, a chessplayer too.
The music on the movies soundtrack consisted of works composed by Chopin with Janusz Olejniczak (Tracks 1-8), Track # 9 , The Pianist, film score, Moving to the Ghetto which was composed by Wojciech Kilar & Track # 10 which was composed by Chopin with Andrzej Szpilman.
The collection concludes with a rare, remastered performance of Chopin’s Mazurka Op. 17, No. 4 by Szpilman himself, recorded in Warsaw in 1948.
Track # 9, the film score Moving to the Ghetto was composed by Wojciech, who also composed the soundtrack to the film “The Ninth Gate”.
Inside the cover art for “The Ninth Gate” soundtrack, are reproduced engravings with brief info at the bottom of each. The seventh reads as follows:
“The disciple outshines the master.”
(A king and beggar play chess on a board with white squares. The moon can be seen through the window. Beneath this and next to a closed door, two dogs are fighting.)
Adrien Brody is also in a Sony BMG Film “Cadillac Records”, which is the story of the blues in 1950’s Chicago, a musical drama written and directed by TV veteran Darnell Martin.
Brody stars as Chess Records’ founder Leonard Chess. Incidentally, the founders of Chess Records were brothers Leonard and Philip Chess who were two Jewish immigrants from Poland.
Now, I can probably keep going…and if I continue, I may find another person who played chess, and perhaps another and another…but, what does that prove?
I find that question interesting, but, not as interesting as this…
Our minds, whether in music, art, chess, or , even nothing at all – are an extraordinary source of mystery and inspiration. It is no wonder why one can get so wrapped up in – not the game -but -the promise…of more to come.
On another ‘note’…
Musical Terms that are used in Chess
The Oxford Companion to Chess is a comprehensive encyclopedia of chess.
It contains articles on history, terminology, chess players, and the relationship between chess and other subjects such as music, art, theatre, literature and philosophy. Many of the terms listed in this book are also musical terms.
For example, in chess, a person who creates puzzles and problems to be solved is called a composer, and two different sequences of moves that lead from one given position to another are said to be related by transposition.
Some other terms that are used in chess and music are: play, piece, notation, score, tempo, theme, variation, development, minimal composition, round, major and minor, position, second, retrograde, mirror, attack, anticipation, phase and echo.
Hooper, David, and Kenneth Whyld 1996. The Oxford Companion to Chess. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.
Article written by DL