Pawn in drinking game?

June 13, 2003

Chess fans could find themselves out on the piece more often if they take up a boozy variant of the game, designed by an art student at Leeds University.

Drinking Games is the brainchild of Susan Porteous, a final-year fine art student. Her unique version of chess uses glasses of red and white wine to represent the pieces - on taking a piece a player must down the contents of the glass.

"I decided that if there was the added excitement of getting drunk, students might take more interest in chess," she said.

As pieces are taken, players are likely to perform worse as the alcohol takes effect. Ms Porteous said: "Concentration is everything in chess, but this version has an added twist."

She was inspired after an exchange visit to Arizona where she was struck by the relative sobriety of North American students compared with their British counterparts. She said: "It made me realise just how much student culture here revolves around alcohol.

"There is no doubt that young people in the US get more involved in non-drinking forms of entertainment. As a result, the culture is completely different."

Much of Ms Porteous's degree work, on show this week at Lifton Studios in Leeds, has an alcoholic theme. Drinking Games was played on the opening night when at least one player reportedly became extremely drunk.

Other work by Ms Porteous explores getting drunk at exhibition openings; the different words used for drunkenness and the use of the words "piss" and "dick" as a form of slang.

She will head back to Arizona at the end of the show and hopes to begin gallery work there.

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