Chess piece standing.

Exhibit Opening: Chess Gymnasium of the Mind

Playful by Design will host a special exhibit opening event on Thursday, April 4, 2:00–4:45 pm. At 2:00, see a demonstration of chess hacks—games that are variations of chess in pieces, board, or rules—created by University of Illinois students. At 3:00, Allen Turner of the DePaul University College of Computing and Digital Media presents the keynote address. Turner is a Black/Lakota/Irish game designer, storyteller, artist, dancer, author, and performer who believes in the power of play and story as fundamental, powerful medicines that shape our sense of self, relationships, and our connection to the cosmos. A 20-year veteran of the video games industry, he has worked on projects at Bungie Software (Myth, Myth II, Oni), Day 1 Studios (MechAssault), Wideload Games (Stubbs the Zombie, Hail to the Chimp), Marvel Comics and Disney Interactive Studios (Disney’s Guilty Party, Marvel XP). The keynote will be followed by a reception.

The new exhibit Chess: Gymnasium of the Mind opens April 4 in the Museum’s Central Core Gallery. The display features a variety of chess sets from around the world highlighting unique pieces, boards, and moves. This project is part of the second annual Spring Symposium held by Playful by Design, an interdisciplinary game studies consortium at the University of Illinois. The sets are on loan from local game enthusiasts David Dubin, Dan Cermak, and Judith Pintar.

The Playful by Design Spring Symposium will be held from April 4–6 at locations around the University of Illinois campus, including the Armory Innovation Spaces and the CU Community Fablab. This year's theme is "The Future of the Playful University." Learn more at their website. Playful by Design is sponsored by the Illinois Project for Research in the Humanities, Spurlock Museum, Illinois Informatics, CU Community FabLab, CITL, and the School of Information Sciences at UIUC.

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For further information on this event, contact Beth Watkins at (217) 265-5485 or

To request disability-related accommodations for this event, please contact Brian Cudiamat at (217) 244-5586 or (email link).