Sarah's Chess Journal

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The History and The Culture of Chess

Chess in the Press - Issue #1
    May  2006


Chess in the Press, The One You've Been Waiting For. Your Free
Internet Shareware Chess Magazine, featuring the great game of chess
in the world's press. Volume 1, number 1 (collector's item). For this
first special edition, I've tried to pick out some things that are
not too boring, but I've included a few of those anyway, for people
who like that sort of thing.

The Dangers of Chess in Space

On the Soviet space station Mir, work schedules are carefully planned
to include a generous amount of time off, during which the cosmonauts
are encouraged to engage in recreational activities only. Chess is a
favorite orbital pastime, though cosmonauts are discouraged from
playing against each other. If they want to play, they have to play
with one of the ground controllers or with members of a visiting
crew. No one wants to take the chance of having psychological stress
from feuding crewmates. Rains, Lon. "The Russia House." Discover;
1991 (Aug), p67+.

The Dangers of Chess in Antarctica -- Murder!

With longer space missions planned, NASA is trying to learn ways to
reduce the psychological burdens of life in a space station--anxiety
and stress. In comparable situations--underseas labs or research
stations in Antarctica--where small, isolated groups have had to
endure each other for many months, there have been violent outbursts.
There has even been one murder, when one Soviet wintering in
Antarctica killed another after a chess game argument. Booth, W.
"Testing the Outer Limits." Washington Post--Health; 1989 (Jul 18),

They Must've Been Playing Blitz for Quarters

Police officers were called to a shooting at a social club in Harlem.
They tried to arrest a man believed to have shot a couple in their
20s, and the police were surrounded and injured by a crowd of about
50 people. The name of the club was the "Cleveland Chess and
Backgammon Social Club." Neighbors said they had never heard of it,
or heard any disturbances before. Hays, Constance. "Teen-age Girls &
2 Men Die at Social Clubs. "New York Times; 1990 (Feb 26).

Chess Expert Sets Himself on Fire

War protesters have erected a shrine of flowers, candles, a signs at
the site in Amherst, MA, where Gregory Levey burned himself to death
in an apparent protest of the Persian Gulf War. "He just couldn't
handle it anymore, and the war was just one more thing," said Charles
Donohue, a friend. "He was extremely gentle, compassionate, and
extremely shy." He had been reading Eastern literature and studied
meditation and yoga. Levey was also an expert chess player. Katz,
Nancie. "Shrine Set Up at Amherst Site." San Francisco Chronicle;
1991 (Feb 22).

A Category 15 Brawl

The civilized warfare of chess gave way to the real thing when
grandmasters from the rival Yugoslav republics of Serbia and Croatia
came to blows during an Italian tournament, police said. The fight
between Croatian Nenad Sulava and Velibor Zirkovic of Serbia broke
out at the hotel bar. Two or three other Yugoslavs were drawn into
the bottle-throwing battle, forcing the hotel to call in paramilitary
troops. "Serbian & Croatian Chess Masters Brawl During Tournament."
San Francisco Chronicle; 1991 (Jul 13).

British Rock Group Plays Chess Onstage

The British group "The Orb" has defied all the "Tops of the Pops"
regulations by playing chess onstage during performances, yet their
album still reached number one. Lester, Paul. "The Orb." Melody
Maker; 1992 (Aug 1), p26-27.

Nude Chess Fans Take Note

A woman recalls playing a chess game in the nude with the famous
artist Marcel Duchamp. A photographer photographed the match,
intending it to be a likeness to "Nude Descending a Staircase, No.2."
The experience gave the woman a new definition and appreciation of
art. Babitz, Eve. "I Was a Naked Pawn for Art." Esquire; 1991 (Sept),

A Rook Revenges Roosevelt's Death

[Letter]: On April 13, 1945, while bivouacked in North Germany, my unit
learned of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's death. The war's stress, we
decided, hastened his end, and we blamed the German enemy. With hostility,
I wandered into town until I came to the Gotthold Ephraim Lessing Museum.
Inside, I spotted an old wooden chess set on a small table. Thinking to
revenge the president, I picked up a black rook and stuffed it into my
pocket. I carried the rook through Europe until my return to the US and
discharge in 1946. Then I forgot about it. More than 30 years later,
having learned about Lessing and Germany, I rediscovered the rook. I
mailed it to the mayor with an explanation and apology. The curator wrote
me a letter of thanks and invited me for a visit.
"What of the Other Lost Spoils of Hitler's War?" New York Times; 1990
(Sep 22), p22.

How Much Do I Hear for Jimmy Carter's Chess Set?

Former President Jimmy Carter plans to visit Colorado to raise money for
the Atlanta Project, which he founded to draw together volunteers and
corporations to combat poverty and homelessness in Atlanta. Carter will
also auction off a wooden chess set and case that he made, and his own
Brumby Jumbo rocking chair (which he didn't make).
Brozan, Nadine. "Chronicle." New York Times; 1993 (Jan 6).

Chinese Chess Player is Most Honest Man in San Francisco

The most honest man in San Francisco, who makes $7.50 as a busboy, had a
headache explaining why he returned the $277,700 he found in a bag under
a chair at the restaurant where he works. Allan Fong, 57, who came from
Guangdong, China, 35 years ago, said, "It wasn't mine, how can I take the
money? It doesn't belong to me." Fong usually relaxes by playing Chinese
chess in Portsmouth Square in Chinatown, where he likes to go to unwind
after work.
Popp, Robert. "Busboy Tells Why He Returned A Ditty Bag Filled With Cash."
San Francisco Chronicle; 1991 (Jun 6).

GM Norwood Pouts

Norwood laments the fact that English culture considers chess a mere hobby
and discourages its best players from pursuing greatness.
Norwood, David. "Genius in Check." Spectator; 1991 (May 11), p24.

Levitina Plays Bridge, Too

Irina Levitina of Teaneck, N.J., is one of the few people in the world who
plays both chess and bridge at a high level. She recently won the US Women's
Chess Championship & is a member of the Truscott Bridge Team which has
survived the year-long New York Double Knockout for the Von Zedtwitz.
Truscott, Alan. "Bridge." New York Times; 1992 (Sep 17).

Weaker Players Crumble Under Time Constraints

The findings that blitz-time constraints had a greater detrimental effect
on the move quality of class B games than on master games was consistent
with the idea that rapid, holistic processing becomes increasingly important
at higher levels of skill development.
Calderwood, Roberta, Gary Klein, and Beth Crandall. "Time Pressure, Skill,
and Move Quality in Chess." American Journal of Psychology; 1988 (Wint),

Secret Society of Chess Masters Beat the Stock Options Game

A group of former chess [players unnamed], bridge and scrabble champions has
quit the top-class games world, allowing the players to turn their quick wits
instead to trading options at the American Stock Exchange. They say stock
options is just another game of skill and chance, but a far more profitable
one than the tournament and gaming tables that honed their brains."The Game
Players," as they are known by envious fellow traders, form the biggest, and
some say the most profitable, trading body on the stock options floor. The
clan's success stirs envy and disbelief. "It's like they have a system, and
you'll never catch on. They're a secret society, a breed apart." The players
were lured by Ron Rubin and Michael Becker, former US bridge champs. "I have
an interest in 11% of the trades on this exchange," said Becker, "and I own
5% of about 25 people and 20-50% of 10 others." He calls his financial
interest a "training fee." Becker turned to options trading when he lost all
his money on a stock investment in 1979.
"Secret Society of Traders." San Francisco Chronicle; 1990 (Jan 23).

Bank is Looking for GMs to be Executives

Bankers Trust is seeking to find new talent in offbeat areas, having recently
employed executives who include a former prosecuting attorney, a former art
historian, and two grandmaster chess players. The company is said to be in
the vanguard of the human resources field and has an estimated 5% turnover
rate, substantially less than the banking industry average.
"Bankers Trust Recruiter Has Mandate to be Unconventional. "American Banker;
1991 (Jan 17), p9.

Invest with Me, Because I'm a Genius at Chess

The reasons why investment advisers stretch the truth are discussed. One
promotional package sent through the mail to sell the "Grandmaster Thrust"
system of the trader Emil Van Essen boasted of a 500% gain after 2 months,
which turned out not to be true. Mr. Van Essen's photograph, life history,
and claims of genius at the game of chess are among the nuggets in the
Antilla, Susan. "Wall Street: Advisers Who Stretch The Truth."New York Times;
1992 (Sep 20).

Take Steroids and Become a GM

Sixteen male chess players were tested for testosterone (T) levels before and
after a competition. Findings showed that postcompetition, winners had higher
levels of T than losers. In pre-competition tests, T levels rose in
winners-to-be, but not in losers-to-be. The results confirm previous findings
on the role of T in the allocation of status rankings.
Mazur, Allan, Allan Booth, and James Dabbs. "Testosterone and Chess
Competition." Social Psychology Quarterly; 1992, v55, p70-77.

Strong Players Know When To Quit

Analysis on decision making in tournament chess reveals that highly skilled
players are the best at sustaining involvement, and also the best at ending
the game when the outcome becomes obvious, suggesting that involvement
should stand alongside rationality as divergent ideals in social action.
Leifer, Eric. "Trails of Involvement: Evidence for Local Games."
Sociological Forum; 1988, v3 (4), p499-524.

The Elusive Public Management/Chess Connection Revealed

Knowledge about public management is similar to knowledge about chess and
warfare. It consists of general information about formal & informal rules,
principles of public management, and examples of when they apply. Just like
the chessmaster and the battlefield commander, the grandmaster of public
management has encoded into his long-term memory a large repertoire of
successful patterns that can be applied to new problems.
Behn, Robert. "The Nature of Knowledge about Public Management: Lessons
for Research and Teaching from Our Knowledge about Chess and Warfare."
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management; 1987, v1(fall), p200-212.

If Shogi = Zen Philosophy, Then Chess = ?

In shogi, the structure of the board, the pieces, the playing style used,
and the kinds of moves made, exhibit the Zen philosophy and situational
ethics of the Japanese character. The strategies used in shogi are similar
with those used by Japanese in business, international relations, and
Suzuki, Peter. "Japanese Chess, Revelatory of Japanese Business Practices,
Diplomacy, and National Character." Cahiers de Sociologie Economique et
Culterelle, Ethnopsychologie; 1984, v1(June), p57-81 (French).

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Sarah's Serendipitous Chess Page
The Life and Chess of Paul Morphy

Chess - in  general

Chesslinks Worldwide
Rythmomachy Chess Links

Chess History

Mark Week's History on the Web
Chess Journalists of America
Chess History Newsgroup
Hebrew Chess
Chess Tourn. & Match History
Super Tournaments of the Past
La grande storia degli scacchi
Bobby Fischer
Bill Wall's Chess Pages
Edward Winter's Chess Notes
Schaaklinks - biographical links
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My Chess Biographies

Carlos Repetto Torre
Gioacchino Greco
Henry Thomas Buckle
La Bourdonnais
Francois Andre Philidor
Philidor's Opponents
Rashid  Nezhmetdinov
Rudolf Charousek
William E. Napier
G. H. Mackenzie
Lisa Lane
Karl Schlechter
Prince André Dadian
Henry Thomas Buckle
Joseph Blackburne
Isodore Gunsberg
James Mason
William Lewis
George Walker
Augustus Mongredien
Adolf Anderssen
Saint Amant
Daniel Harrwitz
Samuel Boden
Johann  Löwenthal
Howard Staunton
The Duke of Brunswick Charles Henry Stanley
Louis Paulsen
Jacob Henry Sarratt
Alexander McDonnell
Joszef Szen
Vincent Grimm
John Cochrane
George Atwood
del Rio, Lolli, Ponziani
Arpad Elo
Sultan Khan

My Historical Explorations

    Seeds to the Renaissance
    The Catalysts
    Chess Literature
    Chess Players

    Sofonisba Anguissola
    Schaccia, Ludus by Vida
    The Black Death
    Da Vinci
William Jones
    Aristotle's Children

Chess Automatons
The Origins of Chess
Chess History is a Pain!
Girl Chess I
The Forgotten Philidor



Franklin's Morales of Chess Pandolfini's Comandments
Six Chess Vignettes
Fischer's 10 Greatest
My Life as a Chess Criminal Celebrities Playing Chess
Mis/Dis Information
Morphy's Brilliant Moves
What is Chess
Schachdorf Ströbeck


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