What do a dragon, a lion, a mermaid, and a whale have in common? They are the symbols that have been selected to represent the four cities that will host the 2019 FIDE World Chess Grand Prix series.
The four creatures represent Moscow; Jurmala (a suburb of Riga), Latvia; Hamburg, Germany; and Tel Aviv, Israel, respectively. Each symbol is on a Bauhaus chess board, with other recognizable shapes from each city forming a signature chess pattern.
The idea of the symbols is to break away from clichés like a knight or rook-shaped logo and the name of the tournament written in Times New Roman typeface.
Residents of the first three cities are familiar with the symbols, even the mermaid, which is a popular motif in Hamburg.
The whale is an allusion to a story in the Bible. After Jonah the Prophet refused to follow god’s orders, he fled on a boat for bound for Jaffa, or modern-day Tel Aviv. He was eventually thrown overboard, after which he was swallowed by a whale.
The Grand Prix is a qualifier for the 2020 World Chess Championship. The top two finishers in the series will earn spots in the 2020 Candidates tournament, the final stage to select a challenger for the World Championship.
Limited-edition merchandise will be produced for each event, including sweatshirts, t-shirts, mugs, and posters. For some of the events, there will also be exclusive products, such as beach towels for Tel Aviv, and knitted scarves for Hamburg.
The 2019 collection is a collaboration between World Chess, the organizer of the Grand Prix, and the design agency Shuka. The same team produced the “pawnagraphic championship logo,” a provocative design for the 2018 World Chess Championship in London that attracted media attention and controversy, but also complements from design publications.
Sasha Koltsov, art director at Shuka: “The Grand Prix is taking place in four cities — each emblem had to be simultaneously unique and part of the same overall visual system. We took the cities’ most iconic symbols, mixed them with Bauhaus chess pieces and placed everything on a board that also brings to mind an advent calendar. The Dragon, the Lion, the Mermaid and the Whale — all of it about chess and the city.”
Ilya Merenzon, chief executive of World Chess, said, “Chess is hugely popular. Making chess hip is still a challenge and who can make it better than a Mermaid or a Dragon. On a Bauhaus chessboard. On a beach towel!”
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