Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara: F5. José Maria Sicre Chess Tournament, 2017/2021 Hajnal Németh: Dream Exchanges – The Casting
Length: 01 hours 00 minutes
In chess, both sides begin with the same number of pieces, movement possibilities, and attack efficiency. The only inequality stems from two details: the particular skill that one player has over his opponent and the disadvantage that black has against white. The latter always has the first move of the game, which grants a key advantage in high-level competition.
This detail symbolizes a tangible reality in the contemporary world, where power relations decide the fates of certain individuals over others, primarily on a racial basis. To change this, we will hold the José María Sicre Chess Tournament, an homage to the first black Cuban non-official champion. Felix Sicre, Cuban chess master (1860), educated and freed his slave José María Sicre (who was given the surname of his former master). José María Sicre went on to become a chess champion himself. What is important in this event is that black will initiate each game.
This performance occurs at a moment of tension for the Cuban people, who held demonstrations on July 11, 2021, to ask for more political liberties. More than a thousand people were arrested as a result of the demonstration. The author of this performance, Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara, was arrested before he could even join the protests. At present, he is still being held at Guanajay Maximum Security Prison.
We are grateful to Madrid-based, exiled Cuban art historian Yanelis Núñez Leyva for her help in realizing the performance.
Artist: Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara