Chess Trivia 3
Perhaps the first known picture of two players playing chess was taken by Antoine Claudet (1797-1867) around 1843 at his studio in France. The early photo was also attributed to W.H. Fox Talbot (1800-1877) and Claudet’s assistant Nicholaas Henneman (1813-1898).
In 1845, Dr. Peter Mark Roget (1779-1869), devised the first pocket chess set. He called it the stereotic chess and draught board and the economic chess board. He said the set as “adapted for playing games in carriages or of of doors, and for folding up and carrying in the pocket.” In 1852, he published the Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases (Roget’s Thesaurus), a collection of related words.
In 1916, the first place prize for the winner of the Siegbert Tarrasch-Jacques Mieses match, played in Berlin, was a half-pound of butter. Tarrasch won the match (and the butter) with 7 wins, 2 losses, and 4 draws. At the same time, the winner in a metropolitan event in Berlin was a keg of schmaltz herring.
On April 14, 1920, the first shortwave wireless radio match of note in the USA occurred between Ed Lasker in Chicago and A.F. Whittaker (Norman Whitaker?) in Washington, DC. The shortwave radio was provided by the U.S. Navy. Capablanca adjudicated the game. The moves by Whittaker were telephoned from the Capital City Chess Club to the naval operator at the Arlington, Virginia wireless station. Messages were received at an amateur’s station in Evanston, Illinois, and relayed to the Illinois Chess Club.
In July 1924, the first world chess team competition (1st unofficial Chess Olympiad) was held in Paris in conjunction of the 8th Summer Olympic games. There were 54 participants and the tournament director was Alexander Alekhine. Although officially this was not part of the Olympic games and the winners were not given official Olympic medals, the rules of the Olympiads applied, including a ban on professional players. The individual winner went to Hermanis Matisons of Latvia, who earned the title of the “Amateur World Champion” and received a gold medal. The team championship went to Czechoslovakia, followed by Hungary and Switzerland. The Russian representatives were two refugees living in Paris (they took 17th out of 18 places). Canada, Ireland, and Yugoslavia only sent one player to play in this team event. The British team had a lady on their team, Mrs. Edith Holloway. The officially recognized chess Olympiads did not have another woman until 1950.
You think Kasparov had it tough when he got arrested at the Pussy Riot demonstration in Moscow. In 1969, Ludek Pachman (1924-2003) was arrested in Prague, Czechoslovakia for protesting the Soviet occupation in that country in 1968. The police beating him up pretty good and almost tortured him to death. On December 24, 1969, a doctor called his wife to inform her that he would probably not survive the night. Pachman attempted suicide while in prison by jumping head first from his bed to the cement floor, causing permanent injuries to his spine and back. He was arrested and imprisoned again in 1972.
In 1971, Tigran Petrosian lost his Candidates match with Fischer in Buenos Aires. After the match, Petrosian’s wife, Rona, blamed Petrosian’s loss on his trainer, Alexei Suetin. Rona slapped Suetin’s face for his poor analysis after Tigran lost the 6th game.
The second most popular PBS show ever aired was the 1972 Fischer-Spassky chess match. The most popular PBS show was the Watergate hearings in 1973. The 1972 PBS broadcast of the Fischer-Spassky match is still the most popular television chess show in history. It was the first-ever live, real-time American TV coverage of a chess match. The show was created by Mike Chase in a PBS studio in Albany, New York, starring Shelby Lyman and Edmar Mednis as commentators.
In 1976, the Philippines, Italy (Palermo Chess Club), and Uruguay (political dissidents escaping military dictatorship) was the only nations to send team to the chess Olympiad in Haifa and the “Against Israel Olympiad” in Tripoli, Libya. The Philippines took 20th place out of 48 countries at Haifa. They took 15th place out of 34 countries in Libya. There wasn’t a single grandmaster that participated in Libya. There were 23 grandmasters at Haifa.
In 1979, Cecil Purdy of Australia, the first correspondence world champion, was playing a game of chess in Sydney when he suffered a heart attack. His last words to his son (who was also in the same tournament) were purportedly, “I have a win, but it will take some time.” Another source says that his last wods were “I have to seal a move.” He died shortly after.
In 1948, Judith Edith Price (1872-1956) won the British ladies chess championship. She was 76, the oldest person ever to win a national championship. She won the British Women’s Championship five times (1922, 1923, 1924, 1928, and 1948).
In 1958, The Gambit Chess Club in London finally closed. It began as a coffee house in 1898. From 1898 to 1958, it was only closed for two days during September 1940, when it was bombed during a Nazi air raid. During its existence, it only had one burglary. A man once died at the club while playing chess. The club was owned and run by Edith Price, who, for many years, did not allow women to enter the club, although she did hire waitresses for the club.
Miguel Quinteros, Grandmaster (born in 1947) from Argentina, is married to a former Miss Philippines. In 1973, Quinteros’s wife Benjie, was crowned “Miss Philippines, Maid of Cotton.” Benjie’s sister was Gloria Diaz, Miss Universe in 1969. In 1987, Quinteros was the first grandmaster to visit South Africa in six years. He gave simultaneous exhibitions in South Africa and was barred from FIDE events for three years for playing chess in South Africa that practices Apartheid. Quinteros was the first modern grandmaster to visit Australia.
In 1991, the Raging Rooks, a chess team at Adam Clayton Powell Junior High School in Harlem, tied for 1st place in the U.S. Junior Chess Championship in Michigan, ahead of 60 other junior high school teams. When they returned to New York, Bob Guccione (1930-2010), publisher of Penthouse, threw a victory party for them in his Upper East Side town house with his indoor pool. Guccione helped pay for their trip to the nationals in Dearborn, Michigan. The team’s coach was future grandmaster Maurice Ashley, the first and only African-American grandmaster.
In 2003, Svetozar Gligoric (1923-2012), two weeks away from his 80th birthday, was attacked in his sleep in Belgrade by masked burglars who tied him up and took his money, jewelry (his wife had recently died), chess trophies, and a silver chess set. Gligoric won the Yugoslav nationals championship 12 times and played for Yugoslavia in 15 chess Olympiads, winning 12 medals. He died on August 14, 2012.
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