### Famous Chess Players – When They Learned the Game

Here are the ages that some well-known chess players learned the game of chess.

• Alexander Alekhine (1892-1946) was first introduced to chess by his mother and older brother, Alexei at the age of 7.

• Viswanathan Anand (1969- ) learned the game of chess at age 6, taught by his mother and a close family friend named Deepa Ramakrishnan.

• Adolf Anderssen (1818-1879) learned at the age of 9 from his father.

• Levon Aronian (1982- ) learned chess from his sister, Lilit, at age 9.

• Joseph Henry Blackburne (1841-1924) was 18 years old when he learned chess after hearing about Paul Morphy’s exploits around Europe. He learned the game from a chess book he had purchased.

• Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957) learned chess at 13, taught by his father at their summer home in Canandaigua Lake, New York.

• Isaac Boleslavsky (1919-1977) taught himself the game of chess at age 9 and improved by joining the House of Pioneers.

• Mikhail Botvinnik (1911-1995) learned at the age of 12 from a school friend of his older brother, using a home-made chess set.

• Louis-Charles Mahe de La Bourdonnais (1795-1840) learned chess at the age of 19 while in college.

• Walter Browne (1949- ) learned the game at age 8 in Brooklyn.

• Jose Capablanca (1888-1942) claimed he learned chess at the age of 4 by watching his father play chess against friends.

• Magnus Carlsen learned chess at age 5, taught by his father.

• Fabiano Caruana (1992- ) learned chess at age 5 and participated in an after school chess program in Brooklyn.

• Ray Charles (1930-2004) learned at age 35 in a hospital to fight drug addiction.

• Irving Chernev (1900-1981) learned at the age of 12 from his father.

• Mikhail Chigorin (1850-1908) learned at the age of 16 from a school teacher in Russia.

• Arnold Denker (1914-2005) learned at the age of 9, watching his elder brothers play.

• Jan Donner (1927-1988) learned at the age of 14, taught by his friends.

• Max Euwe (1901-1981) learned at the age of 9 from his parents.

• Larry Evans (1932-2010) learned at age 12 from his brothers and his father.

• Reuben Fine (1914-1993) learned chess at the age of 8 from his cousin.

• Bobby Fischer (1943-2008) learned chess at the age of 6, along with his older sister Joan, by using the instructions from a chess set bought at a candy store.

• Nona Gaprindashvili (1941- ) learned at the age of 5 from her 5 older brothers.

• Boris Gelfand (1968- ) learned chess at age 4 when his father bought him a book about chess called Journey to the Chess Kingdom, by Averbakh and Beilin.

• Svetozar Gligoric (1923-2012) learned at age 11 from a boarder in his mother’s home. He carved his own chess set from corks of wine bottles.

• Robert Huebner (1948- ) learned at the age of 5 from his father.

• Igor Ivanov (1947-2005) learned at age 5 from his mother.

• John Jarecki (1969- ) learned at the age of 6 from his father (a medical doctor).

• Mona May Karff (1908-1998) learned at age 9 from her father, a wealthy Jewish land-owner.

• Anatoly Karpov (1951- ) learned chess at the age of 4 at the Pioneers Palace in Zlatoust, USSR.

• Garry Kasparov (1963- ) learned at age 5 from his father and from the Young Pioneers’ Club in Baku.

• Paul Keres (1916-1975) learned at the age of 4, from his father and older brother Harald.

• George Koltanowski (1903-2000) learned chess by watching his father and brother play. He took up the game seriously at the age of 14.

• Bent Larsen (1935-2010) learned at age 6, probably from his family. He discovered chess after contracting a number of childhood diseases.

• Edward Lasker (1885-1981) learned at age 6 from his father.

• Emanuel Lasker (1868-1941) learned at age 11 from his older brother, Berthold.

• William Lombardy (1937- ) learned at age 9 from a neighborhood boy named Eddie Garlerter. He then started playing chess at the Lion’s Square Den Park.

• Frank Marshall (1877-1944) learned chess at age 10 from his father. By age 13, he was one of the leading players in Montreal, Canada.

• Henrique Mecking (1952- ) learned at age 6, probably from his family. He won the championship of Brazil at age 13.

• Vera Menchik (1906-1944) learned at age 9 from her father.

• Paul Morphy (1837-1884) learned at age 8 by watching others play chess.

• Hikaru Nakamura (1987- ) learned how to play chess at the age 4 and was coached by his stepfather, FIDE master Sunil Weeramantry.

• Aron Nimzowitsch (1886-1935) learned chess at the age of 8 from his father.

• Victor Palciuskas (1941- ) learned at age 5 from his uncle.

• Louis Paulsen (1833-1891) learned at age 5 from his father.

• Tigran V Petrosian (1929-1984) learned chess from his parents at age 8. His parents died a few years later during World War II.

• Francois-Andre Danican Philidor (1726-1795) learned at age 10 from his musician friends.

• Harry Nelson Pillsbury (1872-1906) learned at age 15.

• Susan Polgar (1969- ) learned chess at the age of 4 from her parents. Judit (1976- ) and Sofia (1974- ) also learned the game at a young age.

• Stuart Rachels (1969- ) learned at age 8 from an older brother.

• Samuel Reshevesky (1911-1992) was playing chess at 4 and giving simuls at age 5.

• Nicholas Rossolimo (1910-1975) learned chess at age 7 from his mother.

• Diane Savereide (1954- ) learned chess at age 17 from her brother. A few years later she was the top woman chess player in the U.S.

• Gabriel Schwartzman (1976- ) says he learned chess at the age of 2.

• Yasser Seirawan (1960- ) learned chess in Seattle at the age of 12. At age 13 he was Washington State junior champion.

• Vasily Smyslov (1921-2010) learned chess at the age of 6 from his father and from the chess books in his father’s library.

• Wesley So (1993- ) learned chess at age 6, taught by his father. He started to compete in tournaments at age 9.

• Andrew Soltis (1947- ) learned chess at age 9.

• Boris Spassky (1937- ) learned chess at the age of 5 on a train evacuating from Leningrad during World War II.

• Wilhelm (William) Steinitz (1836-1900) learned chess at the age of 12 from friends.

• Mir Sultan Khan (1905-1966) learned Indian chess from his father at age 9. He learned modern chess at age 21.

• Mikhail Tal (1936-1992) learned at the age of 8 by watching patients play chess at the hospital his father worked at.

• Siegbert Tarrasch (1862-1934) learned chess at the age of 15 from a chess book.

• Sir George Thomas (1881-1972) learned chess at the age of 13 from his mother, a top British Ladies’ Champion.

• Veselin Topalov (1975- ) learned at age 8 from his father.

• Norman Whitaker (1890-1975) learned at age 14 from his father, and learned more from watching Harry Nelson Pillsbury play.

• Michael Wilder (1962- ) learned at the age of 6 from his father.

Bill Wall (learned at age 10)

Tags: Age of Chess Players