Friday, September 18, 2009

Not your usual kind of news

THIS article is not your usual kind of news. It features a homicide, a drunken master (not Jackie Chan), chess from outer space and a game between Hitler and Lenin.

Police say David Christian and Michael Alan Steward were playing chess and drinking at Christian’s residence in Iowa City when a quarrel turned violent. They say Christian apparently trapped Steward’s neck between his legs and squeezed it until Steward died.

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Christian will plead guilty to a lesser voluntary manslaughter charge, which has a maximum 10-year sentence. Christian originally faced a charge of second-degree murder, which could have landed him in prison for 50 years.

According to a report from, GM Vladislav Tkachiev appeared for his Round 3 game totally drunk and was ultimately declared the loser. He was playing in the Kolkata Open in India just this month.

The Hindustan Times reported that he could hardly sit on his chair and after 11 moves, fell asleep.Attempts to wake him up proved futile and the game was awarded to his opponent on the technical ground of Tkachiev being unable to complete his moves within the time limit. He was reprimanded by the organizers but allowed to take part for the remainder of the competition.

Tkachiev, with a rating of 2669, is one of the presidential nominees to the World Cup in Khanty Mansiyk, Russia this year and is ranked no. 58 in the world. I don’t recall an incident like this ever happening before.

Last month, Swedish astronaut Christer Fuglesang was sent into outer space in the 128th mission of the Nasa Space Shuttle Program.

An interesting sidelight of the program is the chess game between Christer and the Swedish public. Chess moderators pick out three different moves that the public, playing black, are able to choose from by voting online. The move that gets the most votes is sent out to space.

Everybody knows that Vladimir Lenin, the Father of the Russian Revolution in 1917, was an avid chess player. Historians have named him one of the most influential persons in the 20th century.

Another person also listed is Adolf Hitler, who needs no introduction.

A controversy is now raging among chess players in Europe over a picture being put on sale depicting Lenin and Hitler playing chess in around 1909. The etching was allegedly drawn from life by the future Führer’s art teacher, Emma Löwenstramm.

The owner of the picture is sure of its authenticity. Historians, however, are not.

The story according to Russia Today, is that back in 1909, Adolf Hitler, then 20, was an artist in Vienna and Lenin was about 40 and in exile. The house where they allegedly played the game belonged to a prominent Jewish family which departed from the Austro-Hungarian capital in the run-up to the Second World War and left a part of their property to the housekeeper. The etching and the chess set pictured on it were among the possessions left.

The etching will be put on auction next month on Oct. 1 and is expected to fetch over $60,000.

Did you know that there have been silly talks and tsismis that Hitler was the son of our hero Jose Rizal? It is of course unfounded and has no basis at all except for the fact that Rizal was in Germany at that time.

It is also well-known that our hero, a chess expert, had several love affairs. Historians say he was involved with a “dozen women”, nine of whom have been identified.

They were Gertrude Becket (London), Nelly Boustead of an English and Iberian family, Japanese Usui Seiko, Segunda Katigbak and Rizal’s first cousin, Leonor Rivera.

The others were: Leonor Valenzuela (Filipino), Consuelo Ortiga (Spanish), Suzanna Jacoby (Belgian), and Josephine Bracken (Irish).

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