Pawn-ographic? Chess world divided on ‘suggestive’ Russian-designed logo for World Championships
The logo, the brainchild of Russian studio ‘Shuka Design,’ features two bodies wrapped around each other in somewhat suggestive stances with a chessboard in the middle. The black and white aesthetic mirrors the colors of the board.
Organizers described the logo for the event, held in London next year from November 9 to November 28, as “controversial and trendy, just like the host city,” but some prominent figures in chess have been quick to disagree, with some questioning its appropriateness.
Australian grandmaster David Smerdon was among them, tweeting: “Official logos released for the 2018 World Chess Championships. No, this is not a joke. #ChessIsSexy #YouHadOneJob.”
British chess player Nigel Short said: “Agon (the tournament organizers) perhaps suggesting that they are giving the #chess world a good f***ing. #Logo.”
Their views were shared by Hungarian-born American grandmaster and former child prodigy Susan Polgar, who wrote: “2018 World Championship Logo - Appropriate to promote to kids?”
Twitter users have also been quick to lampoon the odd design. Sports site SB Nation wrote: “The World Chess Championships unveiled its logo and it is VERY, very NSFW.”
Another user wrote: “The logo for the FIDE 2018 World Championships. Just want to say that’s a really uncomfortable way of playing chess.”
Moscow-based Shuka Design seemed to have taken the negative responses on the chin, taking a measured approach instead by simply retweeting the best and worst of the interactions on their official Twitter account, with some candid retorts.
If anything, the logo seems to be in keeping with the game’s burgeoning new, hotter dimension, instigated by World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen’s words that “smart is the new sexy.” Carlsen has been credited as the catalyst for a wave of youngsters becoming involved in the sport, particularly in his native Norway.
In a statement, World Chess said: “As organizers of the Match we’ve been busy for over a year working with artists and designers to develop a perfect key visual, the image that will be associated with the 2018 Match and which will find its way onto mugs, posters, outdoor displays, venue design, media, broadcasting graphics and more."
The logo did find some support. One user tweeted: “The new World Chess Championship Logo, first time chess has been cool since Bobby Fisher [sic],” referencing the player whom many consider the greatest chess brain of all time.
Carlsen got the better of Russian grandmaster Sergey Karjakin last year for the title. The 25-year-old world number one will take on a challenger, to be decided in March, at next year’s championships.