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Chess Set for Tesla

I’m not much of a chess player. Thanks to my dad I know how the pieces move and I know the rules. Beyond that I’m a pretty hopeless case, but Paul Fryer’s vacuum tube chess set, dubbed Chess Set For Tesla (in honor of the eccentric and enigmatic inventor Nikola Tesla) could possibly inspire me to maybe learn a little bit more about this interesting and intricate game.

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The set has electricity running through the board to light up the red and blue tubes, and the tubes actually maintain power for a short time when they are unplugged from the board as you move them. From what I can tell in the photographs each piece has an identifying symbol on the top to indicate which piece you are moving, since apparently only the King and Queen are of unique shapes.

Paul Fryer himself seems to be an interesting character as well. He’s gone from being an electropop singer to transvestite DJ to poet to contemporary artist. After only a few minutes research I discovered most of his art to involve light and electricity. He’s even published a book of poetry with artwork by the controversial Damien Hirst (whose $50 million diamond skull is probably one of my favorite pieces ever). He’s worth a look if you are interested even remotely in contemporary art.

Sadely it’s unlikely that anyone other than the few people Fryer made this custom set for will ever get a chance to use it, or purchase one for themselves. This is art after all, and not a commercial endeavor. Which is really too bad as I know my friend The Neon Cowboy would simply keel over if he ever got to own a chess set that went along with his Tesla tattoo.

Via Wired’s Gadget Lab

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