Etan Ilfeld


Etan Ilfeld is a London-based entrepreneur and the founder of Tenderpixel gallery, Tenderbooks, Repeater Books, and the owner and managing director of Watkins Books, Watkins Media, and the Mind Sports Olympiad. Ilfeld is the inventor of Diving Chess and the author of Beyond Contemporary Art,[1][2] an image-driven contemporary art book, which spans disciplines ranging from science, design and architecture to new media, film-making and performance art.[3] He is also the co-author of Duchamp versus Einstein, a science-fiction novelette, and the creator of the Synchronicity Oracle.

Etan Ilfeld
Ilfeld in 2009
Alma materStanford University (BS)
University of Southern California (MA)


Ilfeld graduated at the top of his undergraduate Physics class at Stanford University and was awarded the David Levine Award.[4] He is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa and holds a Masters in Film Studies from the University of Southern California, and a Masters in Interactive Media from Goldsmiths, University of London.

Books and publishingEdit

Ilfeld is the owner of Watkins Books,[5] London's oldest Mind Body Spirit bookshop (established in 1893).[6][7] He is also the editor-in-chief of the Watkins' Mind Body Spirit magazine.[8] In the February 2011 issue of Watkins' Mind Body Spirit magazine, Ilfeld launched the 100 Spiritual List, which ranks the 100 Most Spiritually Influential Living People in the world.[9] The 100 Spiritual list continues to be published annually.

In 2014, Watkins Media acquired Watkins Publishing, Nourish, and Angry Robot from Osprey Publishing.[10] Ilfeld launched an additional imprint within Watkins Media called Repeater Books in 2016, which focuses on politics and philosophy.[11][12]

In October 2021, Ilfeld bought John Hunt Publishing (JHP), which has more than 2000 titles across over a dozen imprints including O Books, Zero Books, Iff Books and Moon Books. [13][14]

Mind sportsEdit

Ilfeld is a competitive strategy games player having won the World Amateur Poker Championship title at the Mind Sports Olympiad in 2010. Ilfeld is a US Chess Federation National Chess Master,[15] and the inventor of Diving Chess,[16] a chess variant played in a pool such that each player can think during their turn for as long as they can hold their breath underwater.[17][18][19][20][21][22] He is currently the chief organizer of the Mind Sports Olympiad.

Media and artEdit

In 2007, Ilfeld founded Tenderpixel Gallery, a contemporary art gallery in central London.[23] In 2008, Tenderpixel began hosting an annual experimental film competition known as Tenderflix.[24] Ilfeld produced Pentamind - The Ultimate Mind Sports Championship directed by Hassan Amini, which won best documentary at the 2020 Gen Con Film Festival and follows five of the world’s most decorated mind sports athletes as they compete to become the best all-round board games player in the world.[25] He was also an executive producer of the feature films Killer Pad (directed by Robert Englund), and Remainder an adaptation of Tom McCarthy's Remainder (novel) directed by Omer Fast. His article Contemporary Art and Cybernetics was published in the peer-reviewed Leonardo Journal published by MIT Press in February 2012,[26] and his book, Beyond Contemporary Art, was published in October 2012 by Vivays Publishing.[2] Inspired by Marcel Duchamp's archived letters, Duchamp versus Einstein (Angry Robot, 2019) was co-authored with Christopher Hinz as a science fiction novelette featuring Duchamp and Einstein as they are manipulated by an alien visitor. Ilfeld is also a digital artist and his New Kind of Cinema work was showcased at TEDxLondon in 2011, and archived in Rhizome's ArtBase.[27] New Kind of Cinema was programmed in Mathematica and inspired by the usage of cellular automata after training with Stephen Wolfram in Pisa during the summer of 2009.[28]


  1. ^ "Have we moved Beyond Contemporary Art?".
  2. ^ a b Beyond Contemporary Art: Etan Ilfeld: 9781908126221: Books. ASIN 1908126221.
  3. ^ "Book review: Beyond Contemporary Art".
  4. ^ "David S. Levine Award | Page 4 | Physics Department".
  5. ^ Kindred Spirit, Issue 109, March/April 2011
  6. ^ "Westend Extra, April 2010". April 2, 2010. Archived from the original on June 14, 2013. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
  7. ^ "FirstyNews, May 2011". May 9, 2011. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
  8. ^ Tendertheory Limited (December 3, 2011). "Watkins Ebooks and Magazines". App Store.
  9. ^ "100 Spiritual Power List by Watkins, 2011 | Esoteric News". Archived from the original on July 20, 2014. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
  10. ^ "Osprey sells off Watkins, Angry Robot and Nourish". The Bookseller. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  11. ^ "Watkins to launch Repeater imprint in January | The Bookseller". Retrieved November 1, 2017.
  12. ^ "Watkins Media Has Strong 2020 | Publishers Weekly". Retrieved April 4, 2021.
  13. ^ "Watkins Media owner buys John Hunt Publishing | The Book Seller". Retrieved October 25, 2021.
  14. ^ "John Hunt Publishing Sold to Watkins Media Owner Etan Ilfeld | Publishers Weekly". Retrieved February 5, 2022.
  15. ^ "US Chess MSA – Member Details (General)".
  16. ^ "Introducing Diving Chess!". ChessBase News. August 20, 2016.
  17. ^ Chess Life magazine, February 2012
  18. ^ "Underwater chess is one of the mind games at Mind Sports Olympiad". June 12, 2012.
  19. ^ "Board games: bringing the Olympic spirit to the sitting room". August 3, 2012.
  20. ^ "'I invented diving chess'". August 12, 2016.
  21. ^ "'Contestants breathless as underwater chess plumbs new depths'". August 28, 2018.
  22. ^ "MUS Magazin Diving Chess Interview". MUSmagazin. April 28, 2020.
  23. ^ "Tenderpixel".
  24. ^ "Tenderflix 2013 – Tenderpixel". Archived from the original on January 23, 2015. Retrieved October 12, 2013.
  25. ^ "Pentamind: The Ultimate Mind Sports Championship". Tabletop Gaming. Retrieved March 8, 2021.
  26. ^ Volume 45, Issue 1, 2012
  27. ^ "A New Kind Of Cinema". Rhizome. July 17, 2009. Retrieved March 8, 2012.
  28. ^ "NKS Blog". Retrieved March 8, 2012.