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ccmcacollister 92 ( +1 | -1 )
Grandmasters: life,times,demise; facts & trivia I was hoping to start a dicussion about GM's, including the "old Masters" from pre-Elo days as well. I's like to know more about them, since just the other day I realized "Oh my gosh, I don't know Botvinnik's middle name!" This is for anything
about their life, death, sayings, play, teaching, trivia or whatever that YOu feel may be little known, unusual, or just interesting to know. For instance, perhaps to consider, what are a few of the most interesting things you've found about some GM(s), perhaps your Favorite?

The forums seem a bit slow lately, except for "Is Chess Sport?" thread. So I'm hoping this may be an enjoyable, perhaps informative thread. Deliberately made broad for that purpose.

It surprised me to learn Alekhine had appparently choked to death upon a piece of meat, which I'm further told, he used to stay at home & consume so as to eat sans utinsels.
ccmcacollister 162 ( +1 | -1 )
Atrifix: whatcha got ? Thx for acquainting me with Botvinnik's middle name on that other thread (you dont realize I JUST learned how to spell his Last Name right this year!) Looks like I fooled myself there asking about Philidor's middle name, I was thinking he had none! Who was that then, Ruy Lopez perhaps? But right-on about Philidor, for One
of his Middle Names,,,,my book "The World's Great Chess Games" by Fine says it's
"Francois Andre' Danican Philidor". So score one for Andre'.

But both of us were stumped upon GM Anthony Miles' middle name ?

It also says there that Philidor could play 3 simultaneous blindfold games. Najdorf set a blindfold record with 45 boards. (results not given.)

For my favorite old master Harry Nelson Pillsbury, it says he played 22 Experts once in simultaneous blindfold games... or would play a number of Chess and Checkers boards blindfolded while playing Whist at the same time, and also remembering a list of 30 words given to him before starting, to recite when the games were done! Hey now that's concentration! Also says he was in the top 20
USA Checkers players of his time.

Sorry it does not give any BF-simul results. But from the tone of the book, it seems to suggest they did well.

H.N. Pillsbury Dec.5,1872 - ?,?,1906
And startled the chessworld in 1895 by taking First at Hastings ahead of Lasker, Steinitz, Tarrasch & Tchigorin

I've always liked HNP, but particularly after seeing him win vs Lasker in game where it took me 20 minutes to figure out just why Lasker resigned. 8) Happy Chess
furryfunbundle 13 ( +1 | -1 )
Tony Miles Question "But both of us were stumped upon GM Anthony Miles' middle name ?"

Answer "Tony JOHN Miles"
baseline 4 ( +1 | -1 )
a chessplayer I always liked Baron Tassilo Heydebrand und der Lasa.
furryfunbundle 21 ( +1 | -1 )
More on the Baron Baseline, if you have not seen this article before, you may find it interesting.

Regards.

www.chesscafe.com/text/baron.txt

bucklehead 149 ( +1 | -1 )
For my money... Some of the best stories emerged from the breakup of the 1914 Mannheim (Germany) tournament, which was cut short at the outbreak of the First World War. The local German authorities detained the Russian players, including Alekhine and Bogolybov (interned together, the two played many blindfold games; and Alekhine later remarked at how pleasant it was). Alekhine is said to have pretended to be insane in order to avoid military service, but he did serve in the Red Cross for a time, and was decorated for bravery.

Other players looked for the quickest way home. The American Frank Marshall had an interesting, but not entirely atypical, time of it, writing of the experience, "I made for the Dutch border and arrived in Amsterdam after many adventures. Usually a seven-hour trip, it took me 39 hours. Somewhere on the border I lost my baggage, containing all my belongings and the presents I received in St. Petersburg and elsewhere...Five years later, much to my astonishment, my trunks arrived in New York, with their contents intact!"

The semi-humorous anecdotes, of course, fail to remotely cover the world of pain the next four years would bring. Still at Mannheim, Tarrasch learned that his son had already been killed in combat. Carl Schlechter would die from famine in Budapest in 1918. Akiba Rubenstein, a frighteningly powerful player before the war, seems to have suffered from some emotional trauma that led to a progressive mental and professional breakdown when he returned to chess.
bucklehead 149 ( +1 | -1 )
For my money... Some of the best stories emerged from the breakup of the 1914 Mannheim (Germany) tournament, which was cut short at the outbreak of the First World War. The local German authorities detained the Russian players, including Alekhine and Bogolybov (interned together, the two played many blindfold games; and Alekhine later remarked at how pleasant it was). Alekhine is said to have pretended to be insane in order to avoid military service, but he did serve in the Red Cross for a time, and was decorated for bravery.

Other players looked for the quickest way home. The American Frank Marshall had an interesting, but not entirely atypical, time of it, writing of the experience, "I made for the Dutch border and arrived in Amsterdam after many adventures. Usually a seven-hour trip, it took me 39 hours. Somewhere on the border I lost my baggage, containing all my belongings and the presents I received in St. Petersburg and elsewhere...Five years later, much to my astonishment, my trunks arrived in New York, with their contents intact!"

The semi-humorous anecdotes, of course, fail to remotely cover the world of pain the next four years would bring. Still at Mannheim, Tarrasch learned that his son had already been killed in combat. Carl Schlechter would die from famine in Budapest in 1918. Akiba Rubenstein, a frighteningly powerful player before the war, seems to have suffered from some emotional trauma that led to a progressive mental and professional breakdown when he returned to chess.
macheide 51 ( +1 | -1 )
ccmcacollister Nice idea! Here are some amusing facts:

1. In a forty-year career, Steinitz captured a total of 47,963 pawns.
2. Kieseritzky in one day's play against all comers sprang the Scholar's Mate 19 times.
3. In offhand games alone, Morphy sacrificed 52 Queens, 97 Rooks, 136 Knights, and 263 Bishops.
4. Buckle wrote two chapters of the "History of Civilization"while waiting for Williams to make his 25th move in the fourth game of their 1851 match.
5.... It will continue, after my lunch. :)

Regards.
ccmcacollister 18 ( +1 | -1 )
furryfunbundle Thanks for the info on Miles and that interesting link on The Baron. And it also mentioned G.H.Diggle as the "Badmaster", the title awarded by his friend C H O D. Always nice to have friends, isn't it ?!
ccmcacollister 32 ( +1 | -1 )
bucklehead & macheide Bucklehead....sounds like a fascinating time indeed! Is that from a book on that event ? Or link? I'd like to read up on it much.

Macheide....can't wait till lunch is over! Sounds like somebody did some interesting d-base work there... Or counted a heck of a lot of pawns & games?!
macheide 144 ( +1 | -1 )
ccmcacollister Here are some more:

5. Colonel Moreau holds the record for the worst score in any one tournament. At Monte Carlo in 1903, he lost twice to every opponent, winding up 26 zeros.
6.Mason made 144 moves in succession with his Queen, against Mackenzie at London in 1882.
7. In 10 years of tournament and match play, Capablanca lost only one game.
8. The world's record for checkmating on the unprotected last rank is held by Paolo Boi, who won 9,647 games after this maneuver.
9. Nimzowitsch doubled Rooks on the seventh rank in 167 tournament games, beating the former mark of 152 held by Zuckertort.
10. The record holder of "en passant" captures in one game is Paulsen, who had four such captures out of six possible in his game against Anderssen at Baden-Baden in 1870.
11. Rèti fianchettoed both Bishops in 42 games in succession. His lifetime total of fianchettoed Bishops is 2,486.
12. Rubinstein played a grand total of 1,985 games, of which 1,763 were Rook and Pawn endings.
13. World's record for resigning by sweeping away the pieces and breaking the board over his opponent's head is held by Ahmed Ben Jussof, whose seven in one tournament is still unapproached.
14. In Sumatra, where the natives bet money, clothing and even parts of their bodies, the championship was held once by a young man whose name in english would be "Lefty".

If someone is interested in this sort of facts, just let me know.

Your friend,

Andrés
macheide
error 11 ( +1 | -1 )
macheide Thanks for the list of facts, really interesting! Especially #8 imo, you'd think they'd learn after 9000 ;)
macheide 5 ( +1 | -1 )
error My friend,

No, I don't think so. :)

Thanks,

Andrés
macheide
tyekanyk 81 ( +1 | -1 )
an interesting story I've read on the net is about the fight between Capablanca and Nimzowitsch at a tournament. Capablanca was playing Lasker and the game was not going very well. So he started making slanted remarks to the World Champion. Lasker, being an old man at the time didn't have the nerve to speak back. So the great Capa challenged anyone in the tournament to a brawl. Alekhine was too young for this sort of thing, so Nimzowitsch rolled up his sleeves and took of glases and went outside. Capa began throwing punches, Nimzowitsch started a stubbern defence, countering when he saw fit. Finaly Capa got Nimzowitsch in a head-lock and started gloating about his fighting abilities. Then somehow Nizowitsch escaped the head-lock and that was the end of it. Grandmasters present at the tournament were of the general opinion that it was a draw.
macheide 24 ( +1 | -1 )
tyekanyk Dear friend,

The story is true. And I agree that it was a draw. Hopefuly you agree with me in my oppinion that that was a must interesting Grand Master 's draw that some I see in the Linares Tournament.:)

Regards,

Andrés
ccmcacollister 64 ( +1 | -1 )
tyekanyk...ah So you are saying Nimzovich found a hole and blockaded with his head, then !? [8-)

Good story! Think I'm with Nimzo on that one. I was just reading that Capa often finished behind Lasker in tournaments because of too many draws too. That Lasker
felt very goaded into it before finally granting him the match that Capa won. Some have suggested Lasker may have thrown it, or really just didn't care at that point in his life. (Of course, I have no idea, except from what others have said.) To me all those players were great.
blindio 48 ( +1 | -1 )
What's in a name This article www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=1416 appeared on Chessbase recently. It explains a lot about the way different cultures have different naming conventions. So Moiseevitch isn't really Botvinnik's "middle" name, but it tells us what his fathers name was. I don't think the Russians go in for multiple forenames in the way that we in the west do. (But if I'm wrong, I'm sure one of our fellow players on GK will enlighten me!)
baseline 47 ( +1 | -1 )
furryfunbundle I ran into that article on Lasa a few months ago. Its great!! like the guy said with a plus score against Staunton and Anderssen you would think more people would know more about Baron Tassilo Heydebrand und der Lasa. anyone who would like to look at some of his games can try:

www.chessgames.com/perl/chessplayer?pid=15952

cheers
bucklehead 83 ( +1 | -1 )
Reaching for my slovar Russian middle names (in general) for boys and girls are "patronymics," indicating the name of the father and giving acquaintances a way to address an individual respectfully should the need arise. The Russian word for this name is "otechestvo," from an adjectival form meaning "fatherly." The word also, coincidentally but perhaps unsurprisingly, means "fatherland" and is the name of a Russian political party.

Thus a man named Ivan may have a daughter named Zyuzya Ivanovna and a boy named Vladimir Ivanovich. And so Botvinnik's father's name was likely Moise, a Slavic version of Moses.

I just noticed an interesting page on ChessBase about names which is relevant here: www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=1416. Na zdarovye!
tyekanyk 15 ( +1 | -1 )
An interesting GM Was Zuckertot. He could speak 12 languages fluently, was a good horse-rider, a great marksman and a strong chessplayer. A well-rounded GM if I ever saw one.
cairo 22 ( +1 | -1 )
If I not mistaken, I think Zuckertort also participated in several wars, were he on top of everything else, also was wounded!!!

Best wishes
Cairo
macheide 28 ( +1 | -1 )
cairo How are you, my good friend?

Zuckertort is a mystery to me, a real genius,..., period. Maybe a liar in some respects. He used to said that he was a noble,..., but his last name is jewish. But the most important, look at his games, they define him in one piece.

Regards,

Andrés
macheide
soikins 21 ( +1 | -1 )
Facts Some interesting facts:
www.xs4all.nl/~timkr/records/records.htm#Shortest%20game
calmrolfe 76 ( +1 | -1 )
The inventor of the hands free telephone In this age of technological marvels it is hard to believe that the hands free telephone was invented by a Chess Grandmaster (and ex-World Champion !!) in the late 1890's.

Whilst living in New York, Steinitz claimed to be able to telephone anyone in Europe without the aid of the more usual wire and equipment, as normally used by his lesser brethren, using just brainwaves and the superior power of his intellect. Of course, the fact that he was quite mad does take a little credence away from his claims......

Steinitz also lays claim to having made the best chess challenge of all time, offering God himself pawn and move, although maybe Fischer in his latter days may perhaps offer up a rival claim.

Kind regards,

Cal

cairo 13 ( +1 | -1 )
Andrés amigo- good to see you on the Forums again :-))

All the best
Cairo
ccmcacollister 250 ( +1 | -1 )
Garry K ? Trying to remember, not so successfully, the particulars of a story once enjoyed. Am thinking twas Kasparov once offering Knight odds to any female player in the world? Decades ago now, was no doubt before Polgar power made the scene convincingly. [Or might it have been Fischer?]
Whereupon a fellow GM stated "Kasparov(?) may be Kasparov, but a Knight is a Knight ! " Sounds very Tal-like doesn't it?...& believe it WAS him offering the remark. Anyone know this story better ? (Still groggy from my allnighter,to pack for vacation. Sorry) At the time I felt that it Might have been an interesting contest, tho perhaps a "wee" bit brash.

Morphy did quite well giving Knight odds back in his day, when it was very common
practice Its well known he offered "pawn & move" odds to anyone in the world.In a tribute article to him, who RJF called 'the most accurate player who ever lived',the
USCF's mag "Chess Life" pictured a casting of Morphy's hand on its Cover !?
.....
{In an aside, to any TD's out there ... }
[Like Cinderella's slipper that cover got passed around the local tmt with but a single match found, to the delight of that player ...who's hand was actually then photographed that day by the "Omaha World Herald", to appear in their special Metro Extra section covering the city's 1st Corporate Chess Championship, where Mutual of Omaha was victorious over N.W.Bell Telephone, btw. But as common in USA, the Corporate Teams concept could not be successfully sustained here either.]

Today I learned the following from my book "The Worlds Great Chess Games" by Fine:

* That Alekhine (like the Polgar sisters) was reputed to be a fiercely competitive Ping-Pong player...who so hated to lose that upon such an outcome, he would then
crush (Kaaaarrrrushhh ?! :) the ball in anger.

*After being born in "Horodenka, Russian Poland" and becoming a young orphan, Salo Flohr later adopted Czechoslovakia as his country and was held in such high esteem there, that among other things, there were: Flohr Cigars, Flohr collars and Flohr pastries being marketed there ! [Wouldn't it be great to have a Garry K. doll & some Bobby Fischer bagels besides your GK T-shirt & Chess Players Mate Better bumper sticker ...8-)]

*Isaac Kashdan got nicknamed "The Little Capablanca" because of his proven abilities in Positional Chess and Endgame Technique.

atrifix 16 ( +1 | -1 )
Tal responding to Fischer, not Kasparov, if I'm not mistaken (Fischer: "Women are weakies. I can give any woman in the world Knight odds and win." Tal: "Fischer is Fischer, but a Knight is a Knight.")
umpito 192 ( +1 | -1 )
From The Mammoth Book of Chess:

J.R. Capablanca:

"I was born in Havana, the capital of the Island of Cuba, on the 19th of November 1888. I was not yet five years old when by accident I came into my father's private office and found him playing with another gentleman. I had never seen a game of chess before; the pieces interested me, and I went the next day to see them play again. The third day, as I looked on, my father, a very poor beginner, moved a Knight from a white square to a white square. His opponent, apparently, not a better player, did not notice it. My father won, and I proceeded to call him a cheat and to laugh. After a little wrangle, during which I was nearly put out of the room, I showed my father what he had done. He asked me how and what I knew about chess? I answered that I could beat him; he said that that was impossible, considering that I could not even set the pieces correctly. We tried conclusions, and I won."

I've also heard a funny story about Lasker, who acted like a beginner anxious to improve at chess. He approached a friend of his friend, who professed to know a lot about chess but wasn't very good. The man agreed to play a game with him, and critiqued his every move. When Lasker apparently hung a piece, the man reproached him, telling him that he had a great deal more to learn about chess. Lasker then mated him in about three moves :)

Some favorite quotations:

It is better to sacrifice the opponents pieces - Tartakower

Actually, when i made music it was recuperation from chess and when i played chess it was recuperation from music. In this way my life has been a neverending holiday -Taimanov

His [Retis] 100-move-combinations are always right, but his two-movers are often faulty. -Alekhine

These are not my best games, these are the worst games of my opponents. (D. Bronstein about a book with his games.)

Cheers,

Dan
ccmcacollister 79 ( +1 | -1 )
Reshevsky Teaches Chess ... A book I just looked over a bit. Says Resh "became the U.S. Chess Champion 8 times.(I'm not Quite sure what that means, in the 1930's. US Opens? US Clsoed? Either and or both? Sounds impressive tho, by whatever criteria.) The first being in 1934. Defeated Capablanca in their individual game, to win the international tmt in Margate, England in 1935, where he recieved his GM title. Defeated Botvinnik (pre-resurrection) 2.5 to 1.5 ub 1952, as board-1 for the USA, vs the USSR. And "in 1960 defeated Robert Fischer in a match. After 11 games the score was tied 5.5 to 5.5; Fischer refused to continue, and Reshevsky won the match by forfeit."

(Well thats what it says)

A bit of wisdom from therein: If you see that your adversary is about to make a bad move, don't ...discourage him from making the move. [hey, gets my vote!]
ccmcacollister 11 ( +1 | -1 )
umpito .... Omygosh I just reread your posting. You're SURE that second sentence is an Exact Quote ?! Heh Heh he Hahahahaha !!
macheide 26 ( +1 | -1 )
One of my favourites...
Free translation (and, of course, a very bad one, :)):

"When the game is over, both, the King and the pawn go to the same box"

Post data: I promise to relearn english from the very begining.

Regards,

Andrés
Zatara, in the real life
macheide, in the virtual one
bluebabygirl 109 ( +1 | -1 )
Trivia- Andy Soltis in his book titled -THE GREAT CHESS TOURNAMENTS & THEIR STORIES ,relates about Nimzovich this story told by Harry Golembek.
Nimzovich grew up in the same cultural milieu as another talented East European, David Przepiorka of Warsaw. They were both young, Jewish and exceptionally good at the game. They must have seen each other at dozens of tournaments. But had
never spoke, never shook hands, never recognized one another.
It wasn't Przepiorka's fault. He was everyone's friend- everyone that is ,but Nimzovich. Finally ,after a quarter century of this, both men were playing at Liege 1930 when Nimzo came over to congratulate the Pole for a fine game and a fine illustration of Nimzovich principles . The ice broken, Przepiorka asked why Nimzovich had been so cold over all these years .
Oh, very simple , Nimzovich replied. " I always thought you were a member of the Tarrasch school".
I found this to be very revealing of Nimzovich's dislike of Tarrasch!!!--BBG
hijodelmatador 194 ( +1 | -1 )
I think, nobody knows the late.... GM Rosendo Balinas of the Philippines. He was a very strong local player in the early 70's but was not given any exposure in the international chess arena probably because he lacked the charisma, such that during that time, everybody including the government were having their full attention to the fast-rising asian icon Eugene Torre.

Well, Balinas was a lawyer by profession, but i read he never pratised his vocation and ultimately became a professional chessplayer.

His unexpected opportunity came in 1975, a mere Fide Master, he was invited to the very strong Manila tournament, and crossed swords with Larsen, Kavalek, Gligoric, Lombardy, Portisch, Petrosian. He garnered a fine showing and thereafter earned an International Master title. At that time, Balinas was at his mid 30's.

A year later, due to his outstanding performance, he was invited by the Russian Chess Federation in the Odessa tournament as a last minute substitution for Torre who cannot make it because of conflicting schedule. He was rated last among the participants.

Prior to the 1976 Odessa, no foreign player had ever won a single tournament held inside Russia EXCEPT Capablanca sometime in 1936.

The participants in 1976 Odessa were too strong, namely GMs Bronstein, Savon, Lutikov, Tukmakov, Lerner, Ignatiev, Alburt, Espig, Tringov, Tarjan and Plachetka. Everybody was asking "where on earth this little man (Balinas) came from?" He never stood a chance. He will be whipped blue and red !

Then came the surprise of the century. Balinas mowed and demolished them one by one, and without a single loss, became a clear WINNER with 2 rounds to spare.
For being the 2nd foreign player to win a tournament inside Russia, he was awarded by FIDE the full pledge GM title without undergoing the required 2 or 3 norms.

Thereafter, he was afflicted by a dreaded disease Diabetis, and soon, his strenght had deteriorated. In 1996, he died of liver cancer.
chessnovice 16 ( +1 | -1 )
... I think the best piece of trivia that I know of is that Capablanca never studied books or openings. He was simply a naturally great player.
macheide 133 ( +1 | -1 )
chessnovice Dear friend,

I admire and share your admiration to Capa. But some of his life facts have
been darkened by the time and the legend.

Capa was very lazy in study openings; he hate that. In his last years and with
the appearene of an all new bread of younger and less lazy young masters, he
began to study the newest trends in opening theory.

Capa allways said that before his match with Corzo for the absolute
championship of Cuba, he have never read a single chess books. That's not
true. When he was preparing for the match, some of his elder friends and
admirers, including the former Cuba champion, Golmayo gave the young boy
dozens of the best chess books available at that time,..., among them the best
treatise of endgames available at that time. This last book was Capa's love at
first sight with that phase of the game and his main weapon to won the match.

That his superior mastery and virtuosity of the endgames was THE decisive
factor I mentioned above is revealed by himself in a mysterious little passage
of his book "My Ches Career", when he mentions that after the third game of
the match he saw "some weaknes" in Corzo's game. The rest is history.

Regards,

Andrés
macheide
soikins 29 ( +1 | -1 )
Capa I agree with macheide Capas "naturall greatness" is a little bit exagerated. IMO it's just a PR trick. It makes you look better if you achieve everything without much effort. Hard workers are not publics favorites.
macheide 19 ( +1 | -1 )
soikins My friend,

Nice to meet you. And "Viva Lituania (Latvia)!", motherland of "The Magician of
Riga", the late genius SGM (Super Grand Master) Mikhail "Misha" Tal.

Regards,

Andrés
macheide
soikins 2 ( +1 | -1 )
macheide Nice to meet you too. :)