Chessic Humor

Hello again, I have gone back to my files and dug up some humor for chess buddies. Invite your friends to join in this adventure as we walk together down the historical road of chess adventure.

While I write features with spirit feedings so-to-speak for my readers of various age groups, I thought I would throw into the heap a little humor, tidbits of interesting facts and observations enough to tickle the ribs.

Chess ego is a very peculiar state of mind. Every student dreams of generalship with the grandmaster logo attached to their name. Elderly players most likely at some time in their lives played what to them was “the game of the century.” Strong players have bragging rights to boast their mettle and astuteness demonstrating skill and technique. The gambiteer delights in punishing opponents with dazzling attacks or giving pawn, knight or even queen odds. Losing such games does not hurt the ego of the gambiteer.

Paul Morphy offered Knight odds to any takers when he returned to the UsA from Europe. He visited Cuba and won many brilliant games playing without his Queen’s Knight.

Harrwitz wrote a book publishing only Morphy losses. It wasn’t a very big book but a lesson to learn because Morphy took revenge on Harrwitz by crushing him in match.

The rivals for determining the lst official World Championship title both rose to acknowledge a toast to the champion of the world to be. Who were these two egocentric giants of the chessboard? It did happen. Both Steinitz and Zukertort rose on that occasion. It must have brough great humor to the attendees. Admirers tossed aside the victories of Steinitz over Zukertort with the quip: Steinitz never really beat Zukertort because at the time he was not yet Zukertort; he won again when Zukertort was no longer Zukertort!

David Janowski was one of the greatest at demonstrating his exuberance for gambling. After a crushing defeat by Frank Marshall, he immediately offered Marshall the odds of a Knight!

Alekhine really enjoyed playing Bogolyubov. Besides being a great world champion, he was also quite a humorous storyteller. When asked for an impromptu speech, he told this little story. “Last night I had a dream that I died and was off to heaven. As I neared the portals, St. Peter, asking my name, hailed me. I am Alekhine, World Chess Champion. St. Peter said he was sorry but there was no room in heaven for chessplayers. My spirit was dejected. Before leaving the pearly gate, I took one last look and espied none other than my good friend Bogolyubov. Quickly I drew this to St. Peter’s attention telling him that Bogolyubov was a chessplayer. St. Peter sadly shook his head, smiled and said: “He only thinks he is a chessplayer!”

Chess tournaments can be remembered for more than just the entrants, the games, and final standings. The great Hastings Tournament of 1895 foretold the collapse of the British chess empire as their aging stars, Bird, Burn, Blackburne, Gunsberg and Mason were fast fading from the chess scene. Another great tournament held in Ostend 1907, saw the introduction of the title Grandmaster. O. Bernstein and Rubinstein both shared the lst prize. The Donner Memorial Tournament of 1994 held in Amsterdam, Holland saw disrespect by a reporter covering the event and being ignorant totally about the subject he was sent to cover. He called the older players the ‘Old Geezers’ group.

World Champions only exist by virtue of those people who never held the title. Chess on the highest level is not only a boardgame; it is much more. It is part of human civilization. Both Lasker and Euwe have described chess mainly as a fight or struggle. Also, it is interesting to study how people think during a game. I think I have contributed to chess science by creating my time graphs. I am proud of the fact that I am not known for fights off the chessboard but only on it.–David Bronstein.

Oddly enough there have been numerous poems published about chess. For you poetic chessnuts, (are you in a composing mood?) consider…

Philosophical understanding after all: “He can’t be dumb it is safe to guess, because he loves and plays good chess.”

Postal chess improves your mind, winning is so much fun! He’s in a subtle trap I set, the game’s as good as won. With eager eyes I scan the mail, but to my great surprise, I find that word upon his card is “Mate” and not “Resign.”

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