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.,

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