Thursday, October 9, 2014

Pestaño: Hobbies of world chess champions

Thursday, October 9, 2014

WORLD champions do not play and study chess all the time. They also have other
Mikhael Botvinnik had a doctorate degree in electrical engineering and was awarded the Order of the Badge of Honour for his work on power stations in the Urals during World War II .
He was a champion Charleston and foxtrot dancer who knew some difficult moves. He boasted that once, he got to dance with Galina Ulanova (one of the greatest ballerinas of the 20th century ) and he managed to outdo her! Botvinnik considered himself the champion of everything including skittles (lawn bowling).
Max Euwe, who was world champion from 1935-37, was also the European heavyweight amateur boxing champion. He went on to become president of the World Chess Federation (Fide) and wrote more than 80 books.
Anatoly Karpov devotes the same relentless dedication to collectibles as he has to chess. His collection features about 30,000 sport, Olympic and chess pins but he is more famous for his stamp collection.
Karpov has a range of valuable stamps from the USSR, France, Monaco, and the Netherlands, but his most valuable selection is from Belgium and the Belgian Congo, of which he has the largest existing collection. One of his Belgian stamps is one of just 14 examples of the famous Termonde invert which shows one of the buildings upside down. It is worth around $100,000. By some estimates Karpov’s collections of stamps and pins are worth $15 to 20 million.
Jose Capablanca was also an all-around athlete and was good in tennis, baseball and basketball. He was also good at bridge. Other bridge players were Alekhine, who also wanted to be an actor and was a pupil at Moscow’s first school for film actors. Emmanuelle Lasker was also a first-class contract bridge player and wrote a book about the game.
Incidentally Lasker had two doctorate degrees in mathematics and philosophy. His best friend and roommate was Albert Einstein, who considered him an equal.
Alekhine and Tal’s well-known pastimes were cognac and vodka.
Boris Spassky was a superb athlete and could jump 175 centimeters. Tigran Petrosian loves to watch the opera, particularly Verdi and Wagner.
Vassily Smyslov was a baritone singer, and only decided upon a chess career after a failed audition with the Bolshoi Theatre in 1950. He occasionally gave recitals during chess tournaments, often accompanied by fellow GM and pianist Mark Taimanov. His total of 17 Chess Olympiad medals is an all-time record.
Taimanov was a top concert pianist in the USSR and one of the top pianists in the 20th century.
François-André Philidor was regarded as the best chess player of the 18th century and during his musical career, produced over 20 opéras comiques.
Do you know that Bobby Fischer liked to sing? He once considered a career as a pop singer. Unfortunately there were no karaoke bars during his youth or he would have been a regular customer.
Another great who loves to sing is Nigel Short. He was a member of a band called The Urge which appeared on BBC TV popular children show called Blue Peter.
Max Harmonist was a German master whose was a ballet dancer and often performed in the
royal ballet.
Henri Grob was a master from Switzerland whose “hobby,” aside from portrait painting, was collecting women! He was married nine times. When once asked if he were married he replied “Fast immer” (“Almost always.”)
Judit Polgar was once ranked 32nd in ping pong in Hungary in the 12-Under category (1988). GM Irina Krush, current US champion, is also a ping pong player.
WGM Irina Solomonovna Levitina was a five-time world champion in contract bridge.

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