Friday, October 24, 2014

Pestaño: Rulers who played chess

Friday, October 24, 2014

I WROTE about homosexuals before and although they constitute a significant percentage of the population, very few play chess.
Their lack of interest is a good topic for further research. There are exemptions, though.
The Chevalier d’Eon was history’s most famous transvestite. Among other things, he was a diplomat, spy, soldier and even served as Lady-in-Waiting to Marie Antoinette and became a nun!
He spent half his life dressed as a woman and the rest of the time as her—or rather his—own brother!
Later in life, he became a noted member of the St. George chess club and was good enough to beat Philidor in a simul. Wagers were placed about his gender and questions about his sexuality was only settled when a post-mortem showed he was male.
Charles Sherwood Stratton is known as General Tom Thumb and is the most famous midget
in history. According to his contemporaries, he was “an excellent chess player for his size” as his opponents couldn’t distinguish between him and the pieces.
Casanova was a known womanizer. In his memoirs, he wrote that he played chess with a girl named Pauline as part of his seduction technique. He lost all the time as his mind was almost certainly on other things.
Akbar the Great was India’s greatest emperor. During his rule, the Mughal Empire tripled in size and wealth. He played chess on a giant board (it still exist on Fatehpur Sikri) with elephants as pieces and horses as pawns.
Another Indian ruler was Shah Jehan, who is famous for building the Taj Mahal. He entertained his important friends who play chess with 32 living pieces who were virgins. The winner took the 32 virgins as prize. Wow!
Another ruler with a strange appetite was King Muley Hassan of Morocco. He sometimes
played with living pieces using prisoners from the Royal dungeons. What made this interesting was that captured pieces were beheaded on the spot! Legend has it his favorite opening was the Danish Gambit.
The war-like ruler King Conchubair of Ireland divided his waking hours into three—one-third for drinking, one-third for fighting and one-third for playing chess.
Aron Schvartzman of Argentina may be the world’s oldest chess player. He is still
playing chess at the age of 105.
During the war, British intelligence recruited chess masters Philip Stuart Milner-Berry,Hugh Alexander and Harry Golombek to break the German Enigma code and were successful.
In the United States, GM Reuben Fine, worked for the Navy and plotted out possible enemy submarine (U boats) routes.
George Soros, a chess player, is known as “The Man Who Broke the Bank of England.” He made a profit of $1 billion on forex trading during the 1992 Black Wednesday UK currency crisis.
Other interesting figures are Florencio Campomanes, Eugene Torre, the only GM to be also a movie actor and Roman Catholic saints Pope John Paul II and Teresa of Avila, the patron saint of chess players.
Local scene. Cepca`s October tournament will be this Sunday in Handuraw at 2 p.m. Our event will be spiced by the presence of six lovely ladies who will have their own set of prizes.
Eight teams played in the Inter-school team tournament for elementary students last weekend in Robinson Cybergate.
The top three teams were Tejero, Subangdaku and Labangon A. The individual gold medal winners were John Lester Belano in Board 1, Micah Caleb Guinto in Board 2, Mae Nicole Mangubat in Board 3 and Faith Marphine Mangubat in Board 4.
The tournament was organized by Eduard dela Torre of Cebu Chess Masters and was supported by Cepca.

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