This hand-colored full plate daguerreotype retains its original bright orange paper mat. Probably intended as an exhibition piece, the photograph shows two well-dressed men engaged in a game of checkers--the complex contest of skill today often regarded as child's play. At the beginning of the daguerreian era, however, checkers was considered an exceptional tool to train the mind, one that demanded acute concentration, previsualization, and intuition. This photograph is a virtuoso example of daguerreotypy at the height of its practice in America. Like a game of checkers it demonstrates the importance of direct observation. A checkerboard is always positioned so that both players have a black square at their near left corner, yet in this study the black square appears to be in the opposite corner, at the near right. It is not the players who have inverted the rules, but the daguerreotype itself.