Jordan Straker and the Great Train Robbery Chess Set

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Blog entry by JimArnoldChess posted 07-09-2011 04:49 PM 2813 reads 1 time favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I posted the Train Robbery Chess Set back in January of this year. It was an entry for the 2011 Calgary Stampede Western Art Show going on right now. I had serious doubts about entering a piece for this show, and I’m not one for contests, and I have never made a Western themed anything before. And ‘A Chess Set’ in a Fine Art Show????

Jordan took an interest in my work when I first joined here over a year ago, and he kind of coaxed me into doing something for the Stampede. For those of you who don’t know, Jordan Straker has more “Best in Show” Awards at that event then Michael Jordan has NBA Championship rings!!! I didn’t think any chess set would be accepted into any fine art show anywhere let alone something like the Stampede!, and when it was juried in for this year’s show last January, I was ecstatic. Today, I’m happy to report that the Train Robbery Set ( a wood carving) won the “Best New Artist” award at this year’s event beating out many of the traditionally favored oil paintings and bronze pieces. Chalk up another one for the “lumberjocks”.

If not for Jordan, none of this would have happened. Many of you are familiar with the events he has sponsored and taught us here. Selfless people like Jordan Straker are very few and far between, and one reason I am truly honored to be a part of this community with all of you…the members of are tops in my book, there’s no other place like this anywhere.

Many thanks to Jordan and the rest of the Lumberjocks gang!!!




11 comments so far

View CartersWhittling's profile


454 posts in 3893 days

#1 posted 07-09-2011 05:01 PM

Congratulations! An award well earned.

-- And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord... Colossians 3:23

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5380 days

#2 posted 07-09-2011 05:17 PM

oh how wonderful!
Congratulations on following through with the idea, and with the extraordinary recognition!!

I totally agree with you, re: Jordan – part of the elite class of mankind. (And I’d put LumberJocks, as a whole, up there as well.)

Well done.. well done!!!

and, this is the set you are referring to?
Click for details

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Bluepine38's profile


3393 posts in 4304 days

#3 posted 07-09-2011 06:16 PM

Congratulations Chessmkr1, that is a very impressive bit of carving. The Stampede is quite a site to get
chosen as best of anything at, I have not been up to it since the 70’s, could not quite get over the
shock of watching a rodeo from an airconditioned grandstand seat, and do not imagine it has shrunk any.
Now that you have this first award under your belt, have you started thinking about what you will make
for next year? I am sure Jordan has mentioned the possibility all ready. Thank you for sharing.

-- As ever, Gus-the 82 yr young apprentice carpenter

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 4414 days

#4 posted 07-09-2011 06:21 PM

Congrats Jim. You deserve this. Your chess sets are all worthy of the award IMO.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View sras's profile


6331 posts in 4348 days

#5 posted 07-09-2011 06:41 PM

Congrats on the award! A fanstastic affirmation of your skill and creativity – and well deserved.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4334 days

#6 posted 07-09-2011 07:49 PM

congrat´s with the award :-))


View rdlaurance's profile


381 posts in 4566 days

#7 posted 07-09-2011 09:44 PM

A hearty congratulations , Jim. I had to go back and look at the set. The idea and skill in design/execution are certainly award worthy in my book.

Having been in many art exhibitions myself in numerous countries, it doesn’t surprise me that a ‘chess set’ of this calibre would or could be in an art exhibition. To me what is surprising (having been born and raised in cowboy country) is winning an award for this (a chess set) at the Calgary Stampede…. say what?.... LOL

Great job, none the less… I think that is an eagle sized ‘feather in your cap!’

-- Rick, south Sweden

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 4344 days

#8 posted 07-10-2011 02:23 AM

Aw Jim, you’re too too kind – it was you who took the award, not me! All you Lumberjocks better stay tuned to see what the hammer price is at the live auction for this set on Thursday night!!!!! Now THAT will be exciting!


View lightweightladylefty's profile


3659 posts in 4931 days

#9 posted 07-10-2011 02:45 AM


Congratulations on a well-deserved award. You are right about Jordan; he certainly has the gift of encouragement. We’re glad you listened to him and won the award. We can’t wait to hear what it sells for!


-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View JimArnoldChess's profile


210 posts in 4213 days

#10 posted 07-10-2011 11:28 AM

Thanks Everybody, been widening the doorways here so I can fit my fat head through them, lol. Gus, I didn’t even think about next year until you said that…jury is only 5 months away too…I don’t have a clue.

The auction hasn’t even crossed my mind (yeah right!)

All of your thoughts, comments, and critiques over the last year and a half have been very much appreciated!
Lumberjocks Rules!


View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2080 posts in 3859 days

#11 posted 07-10-2011 11:29 AM

Masterful. You deserved that.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

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