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Saturday, April 16, 2005

How They Died

Deaths of Chess Players
by Bill Wall

Georgy Agzamov (1954-1986) - Russian GM fell between some rocks at a beach and died
Alexander Alekhine (1892-1946) - choked to death on a piece of meat in 1946
Johann Allgaier (1763-1823) - dropsy
Adolf Anderssen (1818-1879) - heart attack
Vladimir Bagirov (1936-2000) - heart attack while playing chess in Finland
Rosendo Balinas (1941-1998) - liver cancer
Curt von Bardeleben (1861-1924) - threw himself out the window of his boarding home at age 63
Thomas Barnes (1825-1874) - too much weight loss at one time
Joseph Blackburne (1841-1924) - heart attack
Claude Bloodgood (1924-2001) - lung cancer while in prison for life
Samuel Boden (1826-1882) - died of typhoid fever
Efim Bogoljubov (1889-1952) - suffered a heart attack after a simultaneous display
Paolo Boi (1528-1598) - poisoned (murdered) in Naples
Mikhail Botvinnik (1911-1995) - cancer
Louis Bourdonnais (1795-1840) - stroke
Gyula Breyer (1893-1921) - heart disease
Henry Buckle (1821-1862) - typhoid fever
Ricardo Calvo (1943-2002) - esophagus cancer
Jose Capablanca (1888-1942) - died after watching a skittles game at the Manhattan Chess Club in 1942.
Rudolf Charousek (1873-1900) - tuberculosis
Mikhail Chigorin (1850-1908) - diabetes
Edgar Colle (1897-1932) - died after an operation for a gastric ulcer
Arthur Dake (1910-2000) - died in his sleep at age 90
Cecil de Vere (1845-1875) - tuberculosis
A. Deschapelles (1780-1847) - hydropsy
Ed Edmundson (1920-1982) - died of a heart attack while playing chess on a beach in Hawaii
Max Euwe (1901-1981) - heart attack
Janos Flesch (1933-1983) - died in a car wreck in England
Guillermo Garcia (1953-1990) - car wreck
Efim Geller (1925-1998) - cancer
Aivars Gipslis (1937-2000) - stroke while playing chess in Berlin
Karen Grigorian (1947-1989) - suicide by jumping
Nikolai Grigoriev (1895-1938) - appendicitis
Eduard Gufeld (1936-2002) - stroke
Alexander Ilyin-Genevsky (1894-1941) - died in the siege of Leningrad while on a barge
Dawid Janowsky (1868-1927) - tuberculosis
Klaus Junge - German army officer killed in action in 1945.
Paul Keres (1916-1975) - died of a heart attack returning home from a tournament in 1975.
George Koltanowski (1903-2000) - heart failure at the age of 93
Boris Kostic (1887-1963) - blood poisoning from a scratch
Nikolai Krylenko - executed in Stalin's purges in 1938.
Leonid Kubbel (1891-1942) - executed by firing squad in Leningrad
Salo Landau (1903-1944) - gassed by Nazis at a German concentration camp
Emanuel Lasker (1868-1941) - heart attack
Paul Leonhardt (1877-1934) - died of a heart attack while playing chess at a chess club in 1934.
George Mackenzie (1837-1891) - suicide: took an overdose of morphine
Frank Marshall (1877-1944) - died of a heart attack after leaving a chess tournament
Alexander McDonnell (1798-1835) - died of Bright's disease
Edmar Mednis (1937-2002) - pneumonia and cardiac arrest
Vera Menchik (1906-1944) - died in the German bombing of London
Tony Miles (1955-2001) - died in his sleep at age 46; he was diabetic
Johannes Minckwitz (1843-1901) - suicide: threw himself under a train
Paul Morphy (1837-1884) - died of a stroke while taking a cold bath
Miguel Najdorf (1910-1997) - heart attack
Aron Nimzovich (1886-1935) - died of pneumonia
Lembit Oll - suicide by jumping out of the window of his 4th story apartment
Louis Paulsen (1833-1891) - died of diabetes
Julius Perlis (1880-1913) - died in a mountain climb in the Alps in 1913.
Tigran Petrosian (1929-1984) - cancer
Vladimir Petrov (1908-1943) - died in a prison camp in Russia
Harry Pillsbury (1872-1906) - died of syphillis
David Przepiorka (1880-1940) - died in a mass execution outside Warsaw in 1940.
Cecil Purdy (1906-1979) - died of a heart attack while playing chess
Abram Rabinovich (1878-1943) - starvation
Samuel Reshevsky (1911-1992) - heart attack
Richard Reti (1889-1929) - died of scarlet fever
Karl Robatsch (1928-2000) - stomach and throat cancer
Nicholas Rossolimo (1910-1975) - fell from flight of stairs; died of head injuries
Pierre Saint-Amant (1800-1872) - died after a fall from his carriage
Carl Schlechter (1874-1918) - died from pneumonia and starvation
Vladimir Simagin (1919-1968) - died of a heart attack while playing in a tournament
Gideon Stahlberg (1908-1967) - heart attack during the 1967 Leningrad International tournament.
Howard Staunton (1810-1874) - died of a heart attack will writing a chess book
Leonid Stein (1934-1973) - heart attack
Herman Steiner (1905-1955) - heart attack after a California State Championship game
Alexei Suetin (1926-2001) - heart attack after a chess tournament
Mikhail Tal (1936-1992) - kidney failure
Mikhail Tchigorin (1850-1908) - died of diabetes
Karel Treybal - died a victim of the Nazis in 1941.
Alexi Troitzky (1866-1942) - died of starvation during the siege of Leningrad
Abe Turner (1924-1962) - stabbed 9 times in the back by a fellow employee at the Chess Review office
Alvis Vitolins (1938-1997) - suicide by jumping
Daniel Yanovsky (1925-2000) - cancer
Frederick Yates (1884-1932) - died in his sleep from a leak in a faulty gas pipe connection
Alexander Zaitsev - died of thrombosis as a consequence of a leg operation in 1971.
Johann Zukertort (1842-1888) - died of a stroke while playing chess at a London coffee-house
Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) - committed suicide.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Opening Theory

From Man de la Maza:

My theory is that if one learns one opening really well one will be introduced to all the major themes in chess strategy. Sort of like great literature. It is said that you if you read the whole body of work of any one great author -- Shakespeare, Dante, Proust, Faulkner, or Spider Robinson -- you will introduced to all the major themes of literature.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

What Businesspeople Can Learn from Chess

From an interview with Gary Kasparov:

“The first rule is: Never, ever, underestimate your opponent. Whenever I am playing at grand master levels, I always, always assume that my competitor is going to see everything I do—even when I plan to make an unexpected move in order to confuse him.”

“It’s also critical to keep a psychological edge. I am not a big fan of pop psychology, but I do believe that getting the other guy off balance is a real skill. You have to go on fighting even if you are in a winning position—in fact, especially if you are in a winning position.”

“You also have to make yourself comfortable in the enemy’s territory. If you can convince your enemy that you’re comfortable on their ground, then you can often trick them into moving into your own territory.”

Saturday, April 02, 2005

What’s Wrong with a Draw?

THIS column has often wondered why chess needs the rule that players are allowed to agree draws at any stage of the game. Players can call a halt to hostilities after a few moves, shake hands and adjourn to the pub. It doesn’t happen in any other sport and it shouldn’t happen in chess. Draw offers are highly distracting for players who are trying their hardest to win. It is so easy to damage your position since rejecting the draw makes you feel obliged to play something aggressive just to show how uninterested you are in your opponent’s peace proposals.

A category 20 tournament in Bulgaria next month will forbid draws by mutual agreement.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

The Openings

A chess poetry blog (link from Boylston Chess Club)

Upon the horse a deep
abiding affection rode in on
the town monorail. World rocking
would likely commence, like an
erotic and fretful schoolboard.
With an eye towards noodling
wolves at the 5&10, the stategies
were both casablanca and fargo.