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


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