Showing posts with label Chess Stories. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chess Stories. Show all posts

July 3, 2012

Chess city break in Flanders!

If you would like to travel, but feel unequal to learning at least one international language for the purpose, then play chess;) The ideal substitute for English, Spanish etc. at last has been found!
For our family, last weekend was a perfect opportunity to employ the reliable speech of chess without danger of going astray, in...Oostende! 
Probably it would have taken us some time to reach this Flemish city if it wouldn't have been the universal language of chess. Even if Erwin was busy for a couple of hours with his simul, the reason for our city break, it doesn't mean we didn't enjoy every single bit of it! And you can see for yourself the upside of playing chess further on:

December 12, 2011

Chess - the game of pharaohs?

I cannot stand winter. I hate to be cold, to wrap myself up in dozens of clothes, shivering and muttering the bad weather, cursing the multiple delays in public transportation and eventually getting exhausted of drinking gallons of tea to warm up. Only the holidays save the season:) I still have to be patient for that; meanwhile, I decided to 'trick' winter once again, by wandering off to…EGYPT!

September 30, 2011

Jan Timman and Jorge Luis Borges

To my shame, I must admit that my cultural knowledge is lacking Jorge Luis Borges' famous masterpieces. The Argentine writer and poet came to my consciousness today, thanks to Jan Timman and his book, Een sprong in de Noordzee. Amongst many interesting chess stories which you can enjoy reading his book, Timman is also talking about literature, art and different cultures he encountered through his chess tournaments.
In 1982, while Timman was playing in Buenos Aires, the Argentinian grandmaster Miguel Quinteros arranged a meeting between the Dutchman and Borges, a meeting that had a profound impact on Timman. 2nd of March 1982 is still vivid in his memory, the day when he could meet in person one of his favourite writers: Jose Luis Borges!

September 23, 2011

Chess Story

There are dozens and dozens of technical chess books on the market about how to improve your chess, how to become a champion, how to study this game, top ten x and z, hidden secrets and so forth. And yet, so little good books which are capable to offer the reader a different perspective, with an emphasis on the chess player's personality, a sensitive and sometimes derided subject in the chess circles.
"Chess Story" (also known as "The Royal Game", written by the Austrian author Stefan Zweig, published in 1942) shows us the other side of this pure intellectual meeting of two individuals' brains for a dual upon a 64 square board.

September 16, 2011

Why does White move first in chess?

Have you ever asked yourself why is White the one to make the first move on the board? I never seriously thought about it before, not until today. I don't even know what strange connections or associations took place in my head to come up with this question. Rules are rules and we don't really bother to wonder why they are there in the first place. But just like when you cannot remember a word, a name, and you are struggling with it the whole day long to bring it into memory, so this question gave me no peace until I started to look out for the answer. And it's pretty interesting!

June 18, 2011

Che Guevara and chess

If you have to use the public transportation, no matter which country you are, I suppose you all experience the same boredom as me, until you reach the final destination. To cope with that, I usually take a small book in my handbag. This time I ran out of chess books, I have to find some smaller ones, to fit my bag:) So I took a compressed Che Guevara biography, which reminded me what I've heard before: that one of his passions was...chess!
Interested by the subject, I used a bit our modern friend - internet - and I came up with the following information:

May 9, 2011

Luzhin Defence

1st Edition (Russian)
I have just finished reading the book "The Luzhin Defence" by Vladimir Nabokov...a chilling story of obsession and madness. As a young boy, Luzhin was unattractive, distracted, withdrawn, grumpy - an enigma to his parents and an object of ridicule to his classmates. He takes up chess as a refuge from the anxiety of his everyday life. His talent is prodigious and he rises to the rank of grandmaster but at a cost:  in Luzhin's obsessive mind, the game of chess gradually replaces the world of reality. His own world falls apart during a crucial championship match, when the intricate defense he has devised pales  under his opponent's unexpected and unpredictable lines of assault.

December 28, 2010

The Fairest chess game ever!

 If a game was unfinished in the first four-hours, a player used to seal his next move in an envelope and hand it to an official for safekeeping until play resumed. In his book 'From Beginner to Expert in 40 Lessons', Alexander Kostyev cites an adjournment between Jose Capablanca and Milan Vidmar at London 1922:

    "Vidmar awaited his opponent with the intention of resigning.
     Time passed, but Capablanca didn't appear. Looking at the
     clock, Vidmar suddenly realized his opponent's flag was about
     to fall. Not hesitating for an instant, the Yugoslav
     grandmaster rushed up to the board and just had time to
     resign by tipping his king as the arbiter was about to
     declare him the winner on time. The British press dubbed
     Vidmar's action 'the most beautiful move ever played in a
     chess game.'"

Vidmar's position was hopeless but he showed up to continue the battle, not to resign. The real story is told in his memoirs:
    "When we parted I told Capablanca that I'd probably have to
     lay down my arms soon. We spoke in French, in which he was
     even less proficient than I. He nodded pleasantly and we
     went our separate ways.

     "When play resumed, the arbiter opened the sealed envelope,
     made my move on the board and then started White's clock.
     Later I felt someone touch my arm. 'Capablanca is still not
     here,' said the arbiter, who appeared anxious. 'He has lots
     of time left,' I replied, and watched other interesting
     games in progress, for how long I don't know. Suddenly I
     felt the arbiter's hand again. He was unmistakably very
     concerned. 'In a minute or at the most two, the world
     champion will overstep on time,' he said.

    "An oppressive feeling of anxiety overwhelmed me. What if,
    when we parted, I caused Capablanca to misunderstand me? What
    if he took my last words to mean I had written 'Resigns' on
    my scoresheet? If I eventually won first prize through this
    misunderstanding, it would be gained in an underhanded way.

    "With difficulty I pushed my way through the throng of
    spectators, arrived at my table and turned my king over
    without further thought. His flag fell. Capablanca came,
    saw my prostrate king, and smiled pleasantly at me.

    "We never spoke about the anguish I went through, or of
    the danger in which he had unwittingly placed himself. I
    must admit my game was not to be saved if it had followed
    its normal course on resumption.

     "I had long since forgotten this curious incident. But at
     Nottingham 1936, the president of the British Chess
     Federation introduced me as 'the man who played the FAIREST
     move ever seen in England.'"

How many players today, we wonder, would exhibit such sportsmanship?
If you know a similar story, don't hesitate to share it with us!

Source: Evans on Chess - 1995 from Chess Connection