Prairie Media has released a new documentary entitled "Chess Masterworks: The Art and History of Twenty-five Chess Sets from the World-Renowned Collection of Dr. George and Vivian Dean." The film, available as a DVD, BluRay and digital download, features 25 of the world's greatest chess sets from the spectacular collection of Dr. George Dean, Founder and President Emeritus of Chess Collectors International, and his wife Vivian. The project was produced for Prairie Media by Jeffrey M. Jones, Pamela Conn, Lawrence Marshall and Lawrence Trinkaus.
Chess Masterworks is presented in an innovative format, with twenty-five mini-documentaries each highlighting one set from the collection. And the sets are seen as never before - in stunning high definition cinematography. "The close-up beauty of the sets moving on the screen is truly enthralling," explains Jones. "And hearing the history behind each set completes the experience for the viewer."
The film features on-camera narration by Susan Polgar, the world's first female grandmaster; Sarah Coffin, curator of the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum; Graham Beal, Director of the Detroit Institute of Arts; and the collectors themselves, Dr. George and Vivian Dean. This diverse mix of players, art historians, and collectors brings insight on both the artistic, historical, and even practical merit of the sets.
For decades, Dr. and Mrs. Dean have traveled the globe acquiring many of the most historically important, valuable and sought-after chess sets in existence. The Deans' collection was the subject of an exhibition on fine chess sets at the Detroit Institute of Arts in 2009. "The Deans really picked out the jewels from each culture and historical time," commented Grandmaster Polgar. Spanning five centuries and four continents, the sets featured in Chess Masterworks are miniature works of art masterfully fashioned from materials like ivory, amber, jade, porcelain and glass, often laden with precious and semi-precious jewels.
Included are the celebrated Faberge set and board, listed by Chess.com as "the most valuable chess set in the world." The set was commissioned as a gift from Tsar Nicholas to Russian General Kouropatkin as a consolation gift after losing the war in Manchuria. Also included are an 18th Century Murano blown glass set, a 19th Century Moroccan set and board embroidered with spun silk and gold lace, and sets by modern masters Salvador Dali and Man Ray.
Chess Masterworks 1.0 is $4.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Education category.