extract a grandmaster


Senior Member
Korean - South Korea

I'd like to know the meaning of "extract a grandmaster" in the following that I came across while reading a novel:

He explained to Frank Dorrien how, along with her partner Jeff Stevens, Tracy Whitney had been suspected of a swath of daring crimes across Europe a decade ago, conning the corrupt rich out of millions of dollars in jewelry and fine art, and even extracting a grandmaster from the Prado in Madrid. But neither Interpol nor the CIA nor MI5 had ever been able to prove a case against her.

Source: Reckless
  • A grandmaster is a chess champion. I think the author meant that Whitney extracted (got out, i.e. stole) a masterpiece. I've never seen 'grandmaster' used for a famous painting.

    Yes, "grandmaster" in connection with painting is rather unusual, but an online search for "grandmaster painters" does yield quite a few results. It's the painter who's really the grandmaster, but his or her paintings can also be called by that name.
    'Grandmaster' painter would probably only work if the painter was a member of a guild, despite what Google says. I've never heard it used in the OP's context.
    Yes, 'old master' is probably what the author meant: it refers to the painters like Murillo and Velázquez, and by extension also to their paintings (you can steal a Murillo, so steal an old master).
    I thought "a grandmaster" in the sentence would refer to "a masterpiece" as well and looked up the word "grandmaster" in the dictionary, but I found "grandmaster" does not have the meaning of "masterpiece" or "great work of art." That's why I asked the question. Thank you, everyone. 😊
    Despite having “Sidney Sheldon’s Reckless” emblazoned on its cover, this book was published several years after his death and is by British author Tilly Bagshawe, who’s written several novels featuring Tracy Whitney, the main character in some of Sheldon’s bestsellers. Since one of those novels, If Tomorrow Comes, features two chess grandmasters (and was a TV miniseries in the US), I can’t help wondering whether that apparent typo was actually some kind of veiled homage to Sheldon?