This picture took approximately a year and a half to paint. At the time I had arrived at Downside School (with my wife and daughter) to take up the post of Artist in Residence for a year. At the end of the year the painting was not finished, so I was invited to remain for a second year.

The painting contains many themes, but central to the work is the idea that politics are like a never-ending game of chess.The painting was exhibited in the Daily Mail Not the Turner Prize Exhibition in 2003 where it was shortlisted as a finalist.

The positioning of the chess pieces is according to a famous end-game study called the ‘Saavedra Position’. Bouchard was told about the Saavedra Position by a friend, Brian Gosling, who plays chess and worked at Downside School when the picture was being painted.

“This is a very famous position of great classical beauty known throughout the chess world. It has a very curious history with a number of twists and turns. In the early days it was known as ‘The Lasker Position’ because he enjoyed showing it to his chess fans. Although he never claimed he composed the study he did have a hand in its creation. Today we tend to call it ‘The Saavedra Position or Theme’” (Brian Gosling: ‘PRACTICAL CHESS ENDGAME or BRIAN’S CHESS FOLLY’ 14.12.97)

(Private Collection)

THE OPEN DEBATE: 1997-1998 - 122cm x 183cm