Chess Trivia 6
In 1880 the first intercontinental telegraph match was held. Two games were played between the Liverpool Chess Club (founded in 1837) and the Calcutta Chess Club. The cost to transmit each move was over 4 shillings for each word, and each move was a minimum of three worlds. Liverpool won the match with one win and one draw. The telegrams cost each club 30 British pounds.
In March 1901, David Janowski (1868-1927), pictured above, won the first Monte Carlo international chess tournament. He then lost all his first place money, 5000 francs (then equal to about $1,000), at the roulette wheel in the casino the same evening the tournament ended. He had no money left and the casino management had to buy his ticket home. The Monte Carlo tournament was held to stimulate tourism during the winter season. Prince Dadian of Mongrelia and Arnous de Riviere organized the first in a series of annual chess tournaments in Monte Carlo. The start of the tournament was delayed to observer the funeral of Queen Victoria of England.
In June 1933, a German National Master chess tournament was held in Aachen, Germany. The event was won by Efim Bogoljubow. Dr. Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945), Nazi propaganda minister, was the honorary chair. Jews were excluded from German chess tournaments, chess cafes, and chess clubs. In 1932, Goebbels wrote in his diary, “The chess game for power begins.”
In 1941, the first USCF open correspondence chess tournament was won by the American violinist, Louis Persinger (1887-1966) of New York City. In 1944 he played in the US Chess Championship, but only scored ½ point out of 17 games and took last place. When he was a judge at violin contests, he would usually pull out his pocket chess set and study chess or find some other judge, such as David Oistrakh, to play chess. He gave violin and chess lessons to violinist and conductor Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999).
In 1951, Boris Ivkov (born in 1933) of Yugoslavia won the first World Junior Championship, held in Birmingham, England. He later married a former “Miss Argentina.” He once lost a game as Black to Spyridon Skembris, who played the Grob (1.g4) against him.
In 1956, China held its first Chess Exhibition Tournament, held in Beijing. Only six players from four provinces participated. In 1957, China held its first national chess championship. It was won by Zhang Fujiang. In 1962, the Chess Association of China was formed. In 1984, a plan called the “big Dragon Project” was started to promote chess in China and raise its level of chess to an international standard. It was sponsored by Tan Chin Nam, one of the richest men in Malaysia.
In 1962, Cyprus scored the worst score of any chess Olympiad when it scored 0 out of 20 in the 15th Chess Olympiad in Varna, Bulgaria. One of its players, Milton Ionnidis on board 3, scored the worst of any score in the chess Olympiad when he lost all 20 games he played. Cyprus only won 2 games, drew 2 games, and lost 76 games. In 1964 at the Tel Aviv chess Olympiad, Ionnidis lost all his games (4) and Cyprus, again, took last place, drawing 1 and losing 13. Cyprus won 5 games, drew 4 games, and lost 47 games.
In 1971, James Slagle (born in 1934) won the first U.S. championship for the blind, sponsored by the U.S. Braille Chess Association. In 1961, for his PhD dissertation, he wrote the first symbolic integration program which solved calculus problems. He was the first to make a computer compute indefinite integrals.
In November 1980, the Italian chess championship was delayed until 1981 because of a serious earthquake in Naples, Italy that killed 3,000 people. The championship was eventually won by Bela Toth.
In 1981, Cray Blitz became the first computer to win a state championship when it won the championship in Mississippi. In round 4, Cray Blitz beat Joseph Sentef (2262), a medical student and the defending champion and at the time, Mississippi’s only chess master. Cray Blitz won all 5 of its games in the tournament for a performance rating of 2258. It was the first tournament game won by a computer over a master. Cray Blitz could examine about 3,000 nodes (positions) per second.
In 1982, Yasser Seirawan became the first American to beat a reigning world champion in a tournament since Arthur Dake defeated Alexander Alekhine in Pasadena in 1932, when Seirawan defeated Anatoly Karpov in London. Seirawan then became a member of the $400 Club. To become a member, you had to beat Karpov in tournament play. You would then receive a check for $400 with compliments from Viktor Korchnoi.
In 1982, the Israel Chess Championship was stopped in the middle of the tournament as several of its participants were called up for army service in Lebanon. It was later won by Yehuda Gruenfeld.
The 1984 chess Olympiad was supposed to have been played in Indonesia, but they withdrew their support due to reduced oil revenues that would have paid for the event. The 26th Chess Olympiad was eventually held in Thessalonki, Greece.
In 1986, the U.S. House of Representatives passed House Joint (HJ) Resolution 545 by unanimous consent which stated that the United States government recognizes Bobby Fischer (the resolution spelled his name Fisher) as the official World Chess Champion. The resolution was sent to the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service. The resolution then went to the Senate and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary where it was objected by Senator Howard Metzenbaum (1917-2008), Democrat from Ohio. The resolution died in the Senate’s Judiciary Committee a week later. The resolution was drafted by Representative Charles (Chip) Pashayan, Republican from California. Congressional resolutions are non-binding and has no force of law within or outside the United States. Pashayan later served as Fischer pro bono lawyer.
In June, 1993, a Bosnia-Herzegovina chess player was shot and killed by a sniper. This was perhaps the first time a chess player died by sniper fire.
In 2001, Ukranian prodigy Sergey Karjakin (born Jan 12, 1990) became an International Master at the age of 11yeas and 11 months after winning the World Under-12 championship. In 2002, he became the world’s youngest grandmaster at the age of 12 years, 7 months. He holds the record of the youngest IM and the youngest GM in chess history.
On May 8, 2010, Andor Lilienthal (born on May 11, 1911) died in Budapest three days after his 99th birthday. At the time of his death, he was the world’s oldest grandmaster.
– Bill Wall
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