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Friday, March 11, 2005

Einstein and Chess

Although Albert Einstein played chess, his public position on the game was that it was a waste of time:

I do not play any games. There is no time for it. When I get through work I don't want anything which requires the working of the mind.

Chess grips its exponent, shackling the mind and brain so that the inner freedom and independence of even the strongest character cannot remain unaffected.

I always dislike the fierce competitive spirit embodied in [chess].

Einstein was a good friend of Dr. Emanuel Lasker (1868-1941). Lasker thought Einstein's theory of relativity was wrong and that the speed of light was limited due to particles in space. Lasker did not think there was a perfect vacuum.

Einstein knew Edward Lasker (1885-1981). On one occasion, Edward Lasker visited Einstein at Princeton and gave him an autographed copy of his book Go and Gomoku, written in 1934. Einstein, in return, gave Edward Lasker an autographed copy of one of his papers on relativity. The book given to Einstein later showed up in a Baltimore used bookstore. When someone told Edward Lasker about this, Lasker replied, "That's all right. I left his relativity paper on the subway."

Einstein thanked Edward Lasker for his book, but then asked, "You are obviously an intelligent man; clearly a great deal of work went into this book. But why for such a trivial and unimportant topic?" Edward Lasker replied, "A friend of mine recently said the following, and I must say I agree with it: 'We are born and we die, and in between these two events of a lifetime, there is a lot of time that must be wasted. Now, whether it is wasted by doing mathematics, practicing law, or playing games, it is really quite insignificant.'"


Anonymous Carboniced said...

Very interesting, It makes me wonder whether Lasker could have made a great scientist if he devoted the time to it. But anyway,he was still brilliant

3:44 AM  
Blogger Eric Muhr said...


11:35 AM  

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