World Championship logo puts chess in 'odd position'

The new World Chess Championship logo worldchess.com

The cerebral, staid world of chess has been shaken by the newly-unveiled 2018 World Chess Championship logo. The image, which shows two chequered bodies wrapped around each other with a chess board placed at the center, has left Grandmasters flummoxed and the world at large in splits.

Five-time world champion Viswanathan Anand, notorious for his wicked sense of humour, was quick to sum it up for ESPN: "Finally, a position where DeepMind will have to do more than just calculations. If you're in this position you can definitely count yourself off Santa's good list!"

The November 11-30 match, to be held in London, will feature reigning world champion Magnus Carlsen up against a challenger, who will be determined by the Candidates tournament in March 2018.

The oganizers, at the time of unveiling the design created by Moscow-based studio Shuka Design, seemed prepared for the controversy it would generate. "The key visual for the 2018 World Chess Championship is controversial and trendy, just like the host city. 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."

Grandmaster Susan Polgar, one of the strongest-ever female chess players and a pioneer for women in chess, was unequivocal in her absolute disappointment at the symbol of a premier event being reduced to an innuendo: " I strongly urge the organizers to scrap this logo and come up with something classy, clever, attractive, marketable and most importantly something the global chess community can be proud of. Let's do the right thing."

Aside from the controversial design, what didn't go unnoticed to the keen eye was the board in the logo having only 6x6 squares. "As a chess player," says Anand, "I wish the board was 8x8 and the pawn not on the back rank. In the end, people watch chess for the games. I'm hoping this doesn't end up pushing us into late night TV."