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Monday, March 3, 2014

Chess to Feature in Special Exhibition on Board Games in Doha from March 19

Chess Blog for Daily Chess News and Trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2014

Hello everyone,

The Museum of Islamic Art (MIA), in Doha, Qatar, will open to the public an exhibition titled ‘Kings & Pawns: Board Games from India to Spain’ on March 19. The three-month show explores the origins of some of the world’s most loved board games, and their journey across the Islamic world between the seventh and 20th centuries (Photo: KINGS AND PAWNS: Partial chess set made of alabaster, Lapis lazuli and coral, probably between 10th and 11th centuries, from MIA collections will be among the exhibits.)

It showcases game pieces, boards, manuscripts and other historical objects associated with board games. In doing this, Kings & Pawns aims at sharing the history and significance of the games and the societies that created, adopted and adapted them. More than a mere pastime, games such as chess, backgammon, pachisi (ludo) and gyan chaupar (snakes and ladders) have created inter-cultural connections. 

Curated by William Greenwood, Curator for Central Islamic Lands at MIA, Kings & Pawns includes bold forms of carved rock crystal chess pieces, dice made of gold and diamonds to backgammon boards made of delicately inlaid wood and ivory, and more.

H E Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad Al Thani, Chairperson of Qatar Museums Authority (QMA), said: “Each object is as remarkable for its historical significance as for its aesthetic appeal, and supports the MIA’s core value of exploring our shared past to illuminate our shared future.”

Objects representing an historical spread of more than a millennium and pieces from India to Spain will encourage visitors to look and consider the central role of board games in everyday life.

Beyond the historical and artistic focus, a further aim of Kings & Pawns is to allow people to rediscover the complex games of strategy and chance, inspiring them to look afresh at apparently old-fashioned pastimes in an era of electronic diversions. MIA Director Aisha Al Khater said: “Hopefully, the exhibition will encourage visitors to discover, or re-discover, the pleasure of these games — ancient and modern.” (Excerpted from a Peninsula report)

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