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Get the Superhero Inside Yourself Out and Checkmate the World!

Elshan at Wizard World

by Elshan Moradiabadi


One of the best things about chess is that it applies to everyday life. In my humble opinion, chess is a sport for a variety of reasons , however, I too find great advantage for chess in the community. The game I love has great appeal to artists and art enthusiasts and has made its way into pop culture. For instance, World Champion Magnus Carlsen has made it to the Simpsons as a character representing him.


Chess has always appealed to art celebrities. Marcel Duchamp, French painter, was so good at chess that he abandoned painting to play chess! The Cubist and then one of the founders of Dadaism movement in art was so enchanted by the game that he once famously said, “While all artists are not chess players, all chess players are artists.” You could also see Humphrey Bogart, Salvador Dali, Vladimir Nabokov, and Stanley Kubrick address chess in different notions. In fact, Nabokov and Kubrick went even further and wrote a book about a chess player, and used chess as one of the main features in several key scenes of their movie respectively. Nevertheless, in all these cases chess is not portrayed as part of pop culture but as an intellectual property, a form of intelligent art, obscure and hard to enjoy.


Things have changed, of course, since those golden days. Thanks to the emergence of the internet, and now cloud, we see that activities that were once ‘too particular to access’  becoming part of a bigger ‘social-culture’. Chess has become cool, and so did its form of art. It is as if we transformed from niche art to Andy Warhol!


One of the greatest attractions of the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis is the World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) located across the street from the club. If you are looking for art and chess, the WCHOF is where chess crosses art and fashion!


The Chess Club and Hall of Fame participated in Wizard World Comic Con from April 7 - 9th at the Saint Louis Convention Center.  I had the chance to  take part in this lovely event on the 8th of April , where I played head-to-head blitz matches, gave puzzles, and encouraged kids and their parents with chess gifts when they solved the puzzles. For me, it was an intriguing experience as the World Chess Hall of Fame currently has an exhibition, POW! Capturing Superheros, Chess & Comics, which made participation in this event a great addition to my experience visiting superheroes in chess. I come from a country (I was born and raised in Iran), where as a kid I hardly had access to superhero movies, let alone clothes! I would feel extremely lucky if I could find an old comic book or 1960s and 1970s cartoons on VHS and guess what?! It would always be one of the short stories of either Spiderman or Superman!  

Wizard World St. Louis

Thus, for me, it was an intriguing time. I would see kids coming to the place we had set up, dressed up and having their faces colored in different superhero themes, seeking a game of chess or working hard to solve a puzzle. It was all incredible! I also only needed to walk ten to twenty feet to see a variety of activities and different superhero themes.


As for my chess experience at Wizard World, I could not believe that we got as many as six-hundred visitors to our ‘chess corner’ and they were all serious about it! I had a lot of puzzles in my head, but the participants had their chess superhero mindset with them and forced me to set up many puzzles. Eventually, once I ran out of puzzles, I was forced to check my sources on my email! Also, even though I did not get contender for playing serious chess, there was a lot of demand to play chess. Believe me, no one was willing to lose until they were in threat of a checkmate. All our visitors may not have had the power of Batman, but they all had the toughness of commissioner James “Jim” Gordon!


If you still have your superhero inside yourself and you love chess, you better hurry to the WCHOF to find your superhero and chess fix. Let the superhero inside you checkmate all the jokers! 

World Chess Hall of Fame exhibit