Thursday, November 17, 2011

Unusual chess stories

Here are some unusual stories that I picked up from the net that will surely enchant most lovers of chess trivia. It shows how extensive the game is to everyday life.

In 1794, Thomas Paine (1737-1809), author of The Rights of Man and Common Sense, was arrested in Paris for favoring the exile of King Louis XVI rather than his execution. Paine was scheduled to be guillotined, but his wife intervened . She frequented the Café de la Regence where Robespierre frequented and defeated him in a game of chess. Robespierre challenged her again and promised to grant any wish if she won again. She again won and asked that her husband’s life be spared. Thomas Paine then was released from prison. "Common Sense" was so influential that John Adams said, "Without the pen of the author of 'Common Sense,' the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain.”
In 1866, William Henry Russ (1833-1866) shot his adopted daughter four times in the head after he proposed marriage when she turned 21, and she rejected him. He then jumped into a river to drown himself. He was arrested, but died 10 days later, lacking the will to live. The woman survived. He was a leading American compiler of chess problems in the 19th century who wrote under the name W. R. Henry. His book, American Chess Nuts, was published in 1868.
Joseph Blackburne nicknamed "The Black Death", dominated British chess during the latter part of the 19th century. He was arrested as a French spy for sending chess moves in the mail. The British government thought they were coded secrets.
In 1932, Norman Tweed Whitaker (1890-1975), who became an International Master at the late age of 75, was arrested for attempted extortion in a scheme to swindle $104,000 from a wealthy heiress by claiming to be in contact with the Lindbergh kidnappers. He was a lawyer but was disbarred for his criminal offenses. He served time in Alcatraz and was a friend of Al Capone there.
Prolific bank robber Willie Sutton (1901-1980) who stole an estimated $2 million, and eventually spent more than half of his adult life in prison, was arrested by the FBI. At the time, Sutton was reading How to Think Ahead in Chess by I.A. Horowitz. Sutton claimed that he robbed banks "because that's where the money is."
In 1964, chess master Raymond Weinstein was arrested for murder after he killed an 83-year old man in a nursing home with a razor. He was judged mentally ill and was confined to Ward’s Island for the mentally ill. Weinstein defeated many top American players, including Samuel Reshevsky and Pal Benko. He never defeated Bobby Fischer, although he drew one game of four with him (in the 1959-60 US Championship).
Ludek Pachman (1924-2003) was a Czechoslovak-German chess grandmaster, writer, and political activist. In 1972, after being imprisoned and tortured almost to death by the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia, he was allowed to emigrate to West Germany. He lived the remainder of his life there, and resumed his chess career with considerable success, including winning the West German Championship in 1978 and playing in the Interzonal in 1976.
In March 1952, Pal Benko, who is now 83 years old, was arrested and imprisoned for 16 months in a Hungarian concentration camp for trying to escape from East Berlin and defect to the West. He was accused of being an American spy. He is famous for the Benko Gambit and Benko Opening (g3) which he introduced at the 1962 Candidates Tournament, defeating Bobby Fischer and Mikhail Tal with it. He was inducted into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame in 1993.,

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How chess players die

For the past few days most activities were related to death. Almost everybody went to the cemetery to clean the graves of their loved ones for the observance of All Souls Day.

This article is all about the death of famous chess players, mostly grandmasters.

If you visit an on-going chess tournament, you can immediately feel the tension in the air. A study of top level chess shows that the players have elevated blood pressure and experience a lot of stress.

Its no wonder that one of the causes of premature death is heart attack.

Those who died of a heart attack include Adolf Anderssen (age 60), Vladimir Bagirov (64), Joseph Blackburne (82), Efim Bogoljubov (63), Gyula Breyer (28), Jose Capablanca (53), Max Euwe (80), Paul Keres (59), Emanuel Lasker (72), Paul Leonhardt (57), Frank Marshall (67), Miguel Najdorf (87), Cecil Purdy of Australia (73), Sammy Reshevsky (80), Gideon Stahlberg (59), Howard Staunton (64), Leonid Stein ( 38), Herman Steiner (50), and Alexei Suetin (74), Vladimir Simagin (49), Johann Zukertort (44).

Bagirov, Bogoljubov, Capablanca, Ed Edmondson, Forry Laucks, Leonhardt, Marshall, Purdy, Simagin, Stahlberg, Steiner, Suetin, and Zukertort all died while playing chess or just finishing a chess game.

Another leading cause of death is cancer and one of the victims is our own Rosendo Balinas .

Cancer also killed Argentine Grandmaster Gerardo Barbero (age 40), Mikhail Botvinnik (83), Ricardo Calvo (59), Efim Geller (73), Tigran Petrosian (55), Karl Robatsch ( 71), Daniel Yanofsky (74), Claude Bloodgood (64)

Some masters died of accidental death. Grandmaster Georgy Agzamov of Russia died in 1986 at the age of 32 after he fell between some rocks at a beach .

Alexander Alekhine died at the age of 53 from a piece of choked meat.

Janos Flesch died in a car wreck at the age of 50. So did Cuban Grandmaster Guillermo Garcia. He was 36.

Julius Perlis, a strong master, died in 1913 at the age of 33 from a fall on a mountain in the Alps.

Frederick Yates died from a gas leak in his house. So did Hungarian International Master Arpad Vajda.

International Master Nicholas Rossolimo fell down a flight of stairs in New York and died at 65.

There were some who committed suicide.

Curt von Bardeleben jumped to his death from his boarding home. Karen Grigorian also jumped to his death at age 42. Lemit Oll also jumped to his death from his 4th story apartment at age 35. Alvis Vitolins also jumped to his death at age 59.

The most unusual death is a chess player named "Nikolai Titov" whose head exploded during the Moscow Candidate Masters' Chess Championships due to the condition 'Hyper-Cerebral Electrosis'.

Diabetes also killed Mikhail Chigorin (1850-1908) and Louis Paulsen (1833-1891).

The most famous player,Bobby Fischer, died of kidney failure ,the same cause of death of another world champion Mikhael Tal (1936-1992)

Another unusual cause of death were Bright's Disease, Alexander McDonnell 1798 -1835; Syphillis, Harry Pillsbury (1872-1906); Scarlet Fever, Richard Reti 1889-1929;
Starvation, Abram Rabinovich (1878-1943).

During the war, the Germans arrested all the chess players that were meeting at the Warsaw Chess Club , which was banned earlier . The Jews were all taken to a concentration camp and were later killed in a mass execution. This included Polish masters Dawid Przepiorka, Achilles Frydmann, Stanislaw Kohn, and Moishe Lowtzky.

Most of the information in this article is from the website of hall of famer Bill Wall, various postings in and the trivia collection of Ed Beronio of Cavite.,

NCFP rated tournament today

After quite sometime the Cebu Executives and Professionals Chess Association (Cepca) in cooperation with the new and renovated Colonnade Mall will bring a chess tournament sanctioned and rated by the country`s governing body , the National Chess Federation of the Philippines.

Venue is at Colonnade Mall activity center and please be on time at 9am as we will have a short program and the first game will start at 10am. On site registration will be allowed.

Format is 9 rounds Swiss and time control is one hour per player ,play to finish.

There will only be one section and men, ladies ,kiddies and Cepca members will play against each other.

The champion will take home P5,000 and the 1st runner-up P3,000. Third place will be richer by P2,000 and 4th will snare P1,000. 5th -10th place will receive P500 each.

A specially designed trophy will be given to the champion

There will also be special prizes: best placed Cepca member will be awarded P1,000;best placed lady P1,000; best kiddie (15 and under) P1,000 and best senior (60 and over) P1,000.

Registration is P150 for men and Cepca members while ladies and kiddies will pay only P75.

As there might be a shortage of chess clocks, the organizers are urging those who own one to use it during their game and he/she will enjoy a discount of P50 from the registration fee.

The following officials will manage this tournament.

The tournament director is the president of Cepca himself , Jojo Muralla. Members of the committee are Nicnic Climaco,Jun Olis and Ely Berciles.

Chief referee is Fide arbiter Marvin Ruelan assisted by Fide arbiters Roger Abella,Felix Poloyapoy and Bob Tojong.

As this is a NCFP Rated tournament a Swiss manager will be used operated by Felix Poloyapoy.

Here are some tips and suggestions on how you play today.

Always play the openings you practiced. Don't get to the tournament and change your mind!

Pay no attention to your opponent's rating. Play chess, not numbers.

Your opponent may play extremely fast to throw you off. Take your time, never rush a chess game. Remember this is an NCFP rated tournament and a player is allotted one whole hour to finish the game.

Don't take long breaks from the tournament game as you run the risk of losing lots of valuable time on your clock.

Most of all have fun! although winning money feels good, you are there to enjoy chess first and foremost. If you resign a game, compliment your opponent and be a good loser. Keep a positive attitude and don’t get depressed over every defeat. After all there is always another game ,Good luck to all players !.

Indonesia Open.The 2011 Indonesia Open Chess Championship is on-going at the Le Meredien Hotel in Jakarta. 80 players compete in the 9-round Swiss tournament. 9 pinoys are playing, all GMs.

The generous prize fund amounts to US $55.500 , with $10.000 reserved for the winner.

The rest of the prizes are 2nd : $6.000 3rd : $4.000 USD 4th : $3.000 5th : $2.500
6th : $2.000 7th – 12th @ $1.500 : $9.000 13th – 20th @ $750: $6.000.
Best Women – 1st : $2.500 , 2nd : $1.500 , 3rd : $1.000
Best Junior U-20 – 1st : $1.500 , 2nd : $1.000, 3rd : $500
* Prizes are equally shared among players who has same points

The last round takes place tomorrow,

Round 8 standings:1 Ganguly Surya Shekhar IND 2631 6.5 2. Barbosa Oliver PHI 2538 6 3. Wang Yue CHN 2716 6 4. Li Chao CHN 2710 6 5. Dreev Aleksey RUS 2711 6 6. Mareco Sandro ARG 2597 6 7. Tkachiev Vladislav FRA 2631 5.5 8. So Wesley PHI 2655 5.5 9. Megaranto Susanto INA 2530 5.5 10. Bitoon Richard PHI 2504 5.5.,