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Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Chess Trivia 2

The first published game by a US woman chess player appeared in an 8-page brochure in 1830.

The first unofficial US women’s champion was crowned in 1857, but we don’t know her name.

In 1870, a major chess tournament was held in Baden-Baden, Germany. It was the first tournament that used chess clocks. It was the first tournament that draws counted as half points. It was the first tournament that only top international players were invited. Ten chess masters participated. The winner was Adolf Anderssen (earning 3000 francs or $15,000 in today’s currency), followed by Wilhelm Steinitz (earning 600 francs).

In 1909, Eliza Campbell Foot became the first US female chess author when she published a series of chess puzzles. She was a cousin to William Steinitz and was President of the Women’s Chess Association in New York.

The first official US women’s championship was held in 1937. It was held at the Rockefeller Center in New York City, organized by Caroline Marshall, the wife of US chess champion Frank Marshall. It was won by Adele Rivero.

In 1966, Havana hosted the 17th Chess Olympiad, in which Fidel Castro was the head of the organizing committee. Castro gave each competitor a near-mint chess set. After the event, 371 of the Olympiad participants conducted a massive simultaneous exhibition against 6,840 challengers.

In 1973, Susan Polgar, at age 4, won her first chess tournament, the Budapest Girls’ Under 11 Championship, with the score of 11-0.

The first World Girls Chess Championship was held in 19821. It was won by Susan Polgar.

Viktor Korchnoi claimed to play a game with long-dead Hungarian GM Geza Maroczy (1870-1951). He started playing Maroczy through a Hungarian medium (Robert Rollans) since 1984, and the game continued through 1989, when Korchnoi won in 47 moves. Rollans was chosen as he did not know how to play chess and was willing to participate without remuneration. Korchnoi stated that he also wanted to play Capablanca, but Capa could not be reached in the afterlife.

In the 1987 Zonal in Jakarta, several Chinese players (acting under orders) threw their games to each other to insure that one Chinese player (Xu Jun) qualified. Xu Jun was chess champion of China in 1983 and 1985. In 1994, he became China’s fourth Grandmaster.

In 1987, Hitech won the Pennsylvania State Championship on tiebreaks with a score of 4.5-0.5 with a performance rating of 2559. In 1988, it won the Pennsylvania State Championship with a score of 5-0. In 1989, it won the Pennsylvania State Championship with a score of 5-0. However, Hitech could not claim the 1989 title as the USCF prohibited a computer from winning a state championship title.

Savielly Tartakower (1887-1956) played 6 times on the Polish team during Chess Olympiad play in the 1930s without ever having been at any time a resident of Poland. He also won the Polish Chess Championship twice.

In 1988, 15-year-old French FIDE master Joel Lautier (born in 1973) became the youngest winner of the World Junior Championship (under 20 years of age), held in Adelaide, Australia. He was ranked #19 with a rating of 2365 and took 1st on tiebreaks over three Soviet players (Ivanchuk, Gelfand, and Serper).

Don Schultz (1936- ) has been president of four state chess associations – New York, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Bill Wall has been president of two chess associations – North Carolina and Ohio. He ran for president of the Texas Chess Association, but took 2nd in the votes.

In 1988, Anatoly Karpov won the first FIDE World Active (30 minutes per game) Chess Championship on tiebreaks over Viktor Gavrikov. The event was held in Mazatlan, Mexico. Both players won $40,000. 31 GMs participated. At the same time, 100 GMs participated in the JAT Open in Belgrade, Yugoslavia.

In 1988, the computer Deep Thought (rated 2551) played in the Software Toolworks tournament in Long Beach, California. It defeated GM Bent Larsen in round 3 and announced a mate in 19 against a FIDE master. A few months later, Deep Thought won the World Computer Championship with the score of 5-0.

In 1989, 14-year-old Sofia Polgar (rated 2295 at the time) achieved a performance rating of 2879 by winning a strong Open in Rome. She scored 8.5 out of 9 that had 6 Grandmasters and 6 International Masters. She won the event by two whole points. She won her first 8 games game in a row and took a draw against a 2580 grandmaster in the final round. Against rated players, her performance rating was 2930. She would have made a grandmaster norm (1.5 points over the GM norm) except for the technicality that GM norms can’t be made in events in which unrated players participate.

Iceland has a lottery where 30% of the profits go to chess and 70% goes to team handball.

When Mikhail Tal (1936-1992) was sick and his kidneys failed, he had to have his blood recycled through the kidneys of his brother. At one time, he lapsed in a coma. He recovered and upon waking, asked for a cigarette.

In 1989, the U.S. did not send a representative to the World Junior Championship in Tunja, Colombia because the USCF, after consulting with the US State Department, thought it was too dangerous to play chess there. It was the first time since 1965 that the US did not send a representative to the World Junior Championship.

Olivier Renet (1964- ) was France’s first French-born grandmaster (1990). Pal Benko was born in France, but has never represented it.

In 1989, Stuart Rachels (1969- ) tied for 1st in the US chess championship. At age 20, he was the youngest US titlist since Bobby Fischer (who won at age 14) up to that time. He was also the lowest rated player in the event, the only time that the lowest rated player had won the US championship. At one time, in 1981, he was the youngest Master in the USCF rating system, at the age of 11 years and 10 months, a record that stood until 1994. He became a master after playing chess for less than 3 years. He retired from chess in 1993 and is now an Associate Professor in Philosophy at the University of Alabama.

In 1990, the first half of the World Chess Championship was held in New York (Kasparov-Karpov). The last time a World Chess Championship was held in the United States was in 1907 (Lasker-Marshall match).

Gisela Kahn Gresser (1906-2000) won the US women’s championship an unmatched 9 times. She was inducted in the 1992 Chess Hall of Fame, the first American woman to be inducted. She won her first US women’s championship in 1944, scoring 8-0. She won her last US women’s championship in 1969 at the age of 63.

Irina Krush (1983- ) holds the record as the youngest to win the US Women’s Chess Championship. She won it in 1998 at the age of 14. She also won it in 2007, 2010, 2012, and 2013.

– Bill Wall

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