Friday, March 23, 2012

Side income of chess players (part 2)

UNLIKE professional boxers, tennis, basketball or football players, chess players need a side income to live a decent and comfortable life. Only about 20 to 30 percent of grandmasters live solely on income from tournaments.

Diplomats include Jose Capablanca (Cuba), Max Judd (consul-general in Vienna), James Mortimer, and Tassilo von Lasa (Prussia) and Jaroslav Sajtor (Czechoslovakia).

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Donald Byrne was an associate professor of English at Penn State and Johann Berger was an Austrian high school administrator.

Journalists include Lajos Asztalos, Robert Byrne, Emil Diemer, Isaac Kashdan, Lubomir Kavalek, George Koltanowski, Mario Monticelli, Andy Soltis, and Boris Spassky.

James Tarjan and Carl Ahlhausen were both librarians.

Medical doctors are Jana Bellin, Fedor Bogatirchuk (also professor of radiological anatomy), Karl Burger, Ricardo Calvo, Yona Kosashvili, Ariel Mengarini (psychiatrist), Joseph Platz, Helmut Pfleger, Christine Rosenfeld, Anthony Saidy (specializing in tuberculosis), Siegbert Tarrasch, and Johannes Zukertort.

Lev Aronin was a meteorologist, while Jean Dufresne was a newspaper editor in Berlin and Robert Huebner worked as a papyrologist.

Seamen included Arthur Dake and William Evans (ship captain) while Emil Schallopp was a stenographer.

Ilya Gurevich ,Ron Henley and Larry Kaufman became a successful stock brokers and traders.

John Roycroft was a systems engineer for IBM, while Victor Frias and Nicolas Rossolimo were taxi drivers.

Teachers include Adolf Anderssen (math), Gedeon Barcza (math), Ludwig Bledow (math), Donald Byrne (English), Robert Byrne (philosophy), Arpad Elo ( astronomy), Max Euwe (math), Paul Keres (math), Lionel Kieseritzky (math), Danny Kopec (computer science), Geza Maroczy (math), Stuart Rachels, Ken Regan (computer science), Ken Rogoff (economics).

Max Harmonist was a ballet dancer for the Royal Ballet in Berlin, performing at the Imperial Opera House.

Members of the clergy include Bill Lombardy , George MacDonnell , Ruy Lopez , John Owen , Domenico Ponziani , Charles Ranken , Arthur Skipworth , and William Wayte . Lombardy is a former Roman Catholic priest.

Ruy Lopez was a Spanish priest and later bishop in Segura. Owen was an English vicar.

Ponziani was a law professor and priest who became a canon in the Modena Cathedral, then Vicar General. Ranken was a Church of England clergyman. He and Lord Randolph Churchill founded the Oxford University Chess Club. Wayte was a Church of England clergyman.

CHECK TOURNAMENT. Kc Morala, our kiddie journalist and chess player sent in this report.

“Rhenzi Kyle Sevillano of USC emerged as the champion of the Deep Blue Chess Tournament held in SM Mall last March 18, 2012.

The tournament featured a close fight among Cebu’s prominent players--Sevillano, Diego Abraham Claro from UC, Allan Pason of Pajo National High School, and Felix Shaun Balbona of USJ-R.

Sevillano finished with 6points after draws with Claro and Pason. He beat Claro for the victor limelight in the tiebreak. Claro got second place.

Pason lost the chase for the champion’s trophy as he drew three rounds with Claro, Sevillano and F.S. Balbona to settle for third place. He was ahead of fellow 5.5 pointer F.S. Balbona in the tiebreak.

The youngest member of the Balbona family, James Andrew, joined the array of winners after overthrowing his older sister, Jessa Balbona, off the race for fifth place during the last round.

A total of 38 players took part in the tournament.”


Friday, March 16, 2012

Side income of chess players (part 1)

A FEW issues ago, I wrote about how much a chess professional makes, which is not much unless you are a grandmaster.

Even then, only the top 20 to 30 percent have a decent and comfortable life, while the rest must rely on outside income. In fact, most players have a steady and permanent job.

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There are a few exceptions, though, as some countries treat their top players with extra loving care. In the Philippines, GMs and IMs receive an allowance from the Philippine Sports Commission; so do players from Vietnam, China, Armenia, Iceland and Azerbaijan and a few others.

Here is how selected top players make extra money. Some earn much, much more money outside chess.

Accountants are Henry Bird, Samuel Reshevsky, Frederick Yates and Cepca members Felix Balbona, Gerry Tomakin and Sonny Sollano.

Samuel Boden was an art critic and amateur landscape painter, while Gosta Stoltz was an automobile mechanic. George Thomas was a tennis player and once played at Wimbledon.

Bankers include Bill Addison, Ossip Bernstein, Ignatz Kolisch, Ken Rogoff, and Max Weiss. Addison worked at the Bank of America in San Francisco. Bernstein was a financial lawyer and earned a doctorate in Law at Heidelberg in 1906.

Kolisch became a millionaire from banking and later became a chess patron.

Rogoff served as an economist at the International Monetary Fund and was on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. He is currently a Professor of Economics at Harvard University. Weiss was a banker for the Rothschild Bank in Vienna. He also studied mathematics and physics in Vienna and later taught those subjects.

Esther Epstein is a systems manager for the Bio-Molecular Engineering Research Center (BMERC) at Boston University. Arthur Dake was director of the Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). He started out as a merchant seaman. He then sold insurance and telephone directories.

Amos Burn (1848-1925) was a cotton and sugar broker from Liverpool. He was a chess journalist until his death.

Arnold Denker was a businessman in the meat packing industry and became a millionaire.

Jonathan Tisdall is a chef and works as a freelance journalist, while Vincenzo Castaldi was a dentist and George Koltanowski was a diamond cutter. Nikola Karaklajic was a disc jockey for Belgrade radio while Elijah Williams worked as a druggist.

Electrical engineers include Mikhail Botvinnik (world champion), Vladimir Liberzon and John Watson.

Grigory Levenfish was an engineer in the glass industry. He had a degree in chemical engineering and so does Edmar Mednis and chessmoso.

Julio Granda-Zuniga is a farmer in Peru, while Bukhuti Gurgenidze is a geologist.

Henry Buckle was a British historian and writer. Insurance salesmen include Al Horowitz, Issac Kashdan, Miguel Najdorf, and William Napier.

I.S. Turover founded a lumber and millwork company and became a millionaire.

Paul Keres was a professor of mathematics in Tallinn, Estonia.

It seems like math is a favorite subject of chess players. Other mathematicians include Adolf Anderssen (world champion), Magdy Assem, George Atwood, Christoph Bandelow, John Beasley, Otto Blathy, Hans Boumeester, Nathan Divinsky, Noam Elkies, Arpad Elo, Max Euwe, Ed Formanek, William Hartston, Martin Kreuzer, Emanuel Lasker (world champion), Anatoly Lein, Lev Loshinksi, Vladimir Makogonov, Geza Maroczy, Vania Mascioni, J. Mauldon, Jonathan Mestel, Walter Morris, John Nunn, Nick Patterson, Miodrag Petkovic, Ken Regan, and Duncan Suttles.

Pinoy lawyers are the late Rosendo Balinas, the late Cepca member Migs Enriquez and good friend Samuel Estimo.

Most of the information is from the trivia collection of Bill Wall.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 16, 2012.

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Little chess giants

TINY Armenia is a giant in the world of chess. The game is a national obsession in this nation of three million and can you believe this? They have 33 grandmasters, 22 International masters and 29 Fide masters!

The passion started with Tigran Petrosian, who won the world championship in 1963 and then defended his title three years later.

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Last July, the national squad came first at the World Team Chess Championship in Ningbo, China. The returning players and their coach were greeted as heroes and awarded $20,000 collectively. That group included Levon Aronian, 28, who is currently rated no. 2 in the world.

Armenia won the men’s gold medal in the chess Olympiad in 2006 in Turin, Italy and also in 2008 in Dresden ,Germany.

It has a new gambit that could make it even better. The chess-obsessed nation has just made chess mandatory in schools along with such subjects as math and history for children between the ages of seven and nine.

Armenian authorities say that the reason behind this move is to help build character, not necessarily to breed future chess players. .

The education minister, Armen Ashotyan, says “Taking the pastime into classrooms will help nurture a sense of responsibility and organization among schoolchildren, as well as serving as an example to the rest of the world.”

One and a half million dollars have been allocated to the national chess academy to draw up a course, train instructors and buy the necessary equipment.

The country’s chess rivalry with its neighbor Azerbaijan, the birthplace of Garry Kasparov, is as intense a sporting rivalry as you could wish to find. It makes England versus Germany at football seem almost gentle.

Azerbaijan is not too far behind in chess as it has 20 grandmasters,16 International masters and 37 other titled players.

Iceland has the highest per capita chess population in the world. A government-run lottery helps finance chess activities.

Iceland has 13 Grandmasters, 13 International Masters, and 25 Fide masters in a country of only 300,000 inhabitants!

Professional chess players receive a government state pension to support their chess playing activities. In 1997, Iceland staged the first national Internet championship in the world.

Iceland is a rich country with one of the highest per capita income in the world mainly through fishing.

The story of chess in Iceland is quite remarkable. For a long time Iceland boasted of more grandmasters than all the Nordic (Sweden, Norway and Denmark) countries combined.

When Iceland´s first grandmaster, Fridrik Ólafsson, competed in international tournaments in the 50s and 60s, local schools and movie theatres came to a halt. Every activity was put on hold to announce Fridrik’s results in the latest game. Chess became a national obsession.

Olafsson (b. 1935) joined the world’s elite from the mid 1950s onwards. His illustrious career included victories at Hastings, Wijk aan Zee and the Reykjavik Open (three times), beating four world champions, Tal, Fischer, Petrosian (twice) and Karpov.

He was also president of Fide.

A rare discovery of a 12th Century gaming piece in Iceland is fuelling fresh controversy over the mystery of the famous Lewis Chessmen. The Lewis Chessmen are the world’s oldest chess pieces that bear the features of modern chessmen.

Chess genius Bobby Fischer is buried in Iceland.

Tournament. Cepca will be sponsoring the Colonnade Grand Prix Open tentatively scheduled on March 24-26 which will be NCFP rated. Registration is P150 while kiddies and ladies is at P100.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 09, 2012.

Friday, March 2, 2012

What US presidents have in common

CHESS in the White House has not gotten as much press as it should although almost all the occupants play the game. This is the second and final part .

Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919), 26th U.S. President, played chess during his hunting trips. He was rumored to have kept an astrological chart mounted on a chess board while in office.

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William Howard Taft (1857-1930), 27th U.S. President, played chess as a child, President McKinley appointed Taft as the civil governor of the Philippines.

Warren Harding (1865-1923), 29th U.S. President, played chess. When Harding died in San Francisco, the Western Chess Championship, now known as the U.S. Open, was being played across the street at the Mechanics’ Institute. A rumor circulated that Harding was poisoned by one of the chess players in the event.

Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933), 30th U.S. President, played chess. In his diary in 1886, he wrote, “I played chess with Dal and beat him every game.”

Herbert Hoover (1874-1964), 31st U.S. President, played chess. An acquaintance remembered him as “a quiet, introspective non-talkative lad who played a little chess and a little checkers.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd U.S. President, played chess. When Henry Ford was Roosevelt’s luncheon guest at the White House, they would spend the whole luncheon hour playing chess

Harry S Truman (1884-1972), 33rd U.S. President, played chess as a child. He mentioned chess in some of his speeches. In 1947 he said, “International relations have traditionally been compared to a chess game in which each nation tries to outwit and checkmate the other.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969), 34th U.S. President, acknowledged he received a chess set from a political supporter. In one of his speeches, he said, “…I am an indoor man and I find more relaxation in playing a game of chess.”

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963), 35th U.S. President received a very nice chess set as a birthday gift in 1962 from a very close friend. In a Cold War statement, referring to the USSR, he said, “We play poker, they play chess.”

Richard Nixon (1913-1994), 37th U.S. President, in a 1983 interview admitted he never understood chess although he might have played the game. He named his dog checkers.

Nixon declined to invite Fischer to the White House after Fischer won the world chess championship in 1972. He did write to Fischer congratulating his victory over Petrosian in Buenos Aires.

Gerald Ford (1913- 2006), 38th U.S. President, may not have been a chess player, but he did declare Oct. 9, 1976, National Chess Day.

Jimmy Carter (1924- ), 39th U.S. President, was a chess player. He wanted to become a chess expert after he left the White House. He bought numerous chess books and a computer chess program. He finally gave up on chess around 1997, saying: “I found that I don’t have any particular talent for chess. I hate to admit it, but that’s a fact.”

Bill Clinton (1946- ), 42nd U.S. President, played chess while at Georgetown University and played for the University’s chess team in 1968. He is a supporter of the Chess-in-the-Schools program and has met Garry Kasparov. When Clinton contributed a President’s Day recipe, his recipe was Lemon Chess Pie.

Barack Obama (1961- ), 44th U.S. President, plays chess and so does his wife, Michelle, and daughters. He mentioned chess in his book Dreams from My Father and talked about learning chess at the age of nine from his grandfather and Indonesian stepfather.

Most of the sources of this article are from (Bill Wall) , and