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Can you find hidden pieces of Channel Islands chess set?

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SPORTING rivalry between Jersey and Guernsey is nothing new, but one artist has taken it a step further by creating an inter-island chess set where crapauds take on donkeys and Lillie Langtry takes on Liza Queripel, the fictional character.

And now Islanders can find their very own piece of abandoned art which helped in the development of the ‘La Table des Pions’ project.

Today, 30 ‘discarded’ Jersey pieces created by artist and photographer Yasmin Mariess have been hidden around the Island for people to find and keep. They feature Jersey cows, mini Seymour Towers, crapauds (pawns), a Lillie Langtry – the ‘queen’ of the Jersey set – and a number of angel René Laliques which were designed to act as bishops.

Each one is attached to a tag with a QR code which once scanned with a smart phone will take the finder to a web page featuring an online book which explains more about the project.

Ms Mariess, who is based in Guernsey, has spent more than two years on the project. Many of the discarded pieces have been given away to friends, but when it came to finding homes for the Jersey pieces she needed a little help and contacted the JEP, which agreed to hide the pieces.

‘I have been working on the inter-island chess set for over two years, and in the process made around 300 pieces as the early ones were made and discarded in favour of a better design,’ she said.

‘When I read the quote from Paul Valery that “an artist never really finished his work, he merely abandons it” this inspired me to share the pieces by “abandoning” them to be found by people on each island.

‘I invite you to keep your eyes out for various chess pieces that have Jersey imagery on them. Some are beautiful, some are mundane, and others plain weird.’

All that Ms Mariess asks in return is that those who find the pieces do not attempt to piece them altogether to create their own chess set.

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The one-off Jersey/Guernsey chess set was launched last week at the International Chess Festival held in Guernsey. She also plans to put it up for sale in the future and is selling copies of the book online.

Each piece of the final set has been hand-moulded, baked and painted, with pawns turned into donkeys vs crapauds, rooks into loophole towers vs Martello towers, knights turned into the Guernsey cows vs Jersey cows, bishops turned into the La Gran’mere du Chimquiere vs angel Rene Lalique, the kings turned into a Guernsey fisherman vs a Jerseyman, and the queens turned into Liza Queripel vs Lillie Langtry.

The board has been created by a Guernsey carpenter from blondewood and blackwood.

And although many of the pieces required multiple versions to perfect, it was the angel René Laliques that caused the most problems.

‘I wanted the angel to be made out of glass but unfortunately it just wasn’t working out and I was ending up with melted Bee Gees instead,’ said Ms Mariess.

Lucy Stephenson

By Lucy Stephenson
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