Celebrities Who Play Chess

by Bill Wall


More and more celebrities are playing chess or have played chess. Here are some observations.

P.T. Barnum didn't like the big chess tournaments. It was too much a circus atmosphere.

Frank Baum liked to play chess with odds. He was the wizard of odds.

Beethoven composed a lot of chess problems.

Larry Bird plays chess. His favorite opening is 1.f4.

David Blaine used to play a lot of chess, but now seems to have disappeared.

Humphrey Bogart played chess. When Bogart was a kid, Sam Loyd showed him a few chess puzzles and interesting games. After seeing a good game, Bogey would say, "Play it again, Sam."

Usain Bolt is a very fast chess player.

Bono plays chess well. U 2 can play as well as he.

Marlon Brando played chess. When he offered a draw, he made an offer you couldn't refuse.

Eng and Chang Bunker were good simultaneous chess players. They also played a lot of Siamese chess.

Aaron Burr dueled with Alexander Hamilton in a game of chess.

Al Capone played chess. He liked the Sicilian Defense and the Italian Opening.

Casanova loved the game.

Wilt Chamberlain played chess. His favorite opening was the Center Game.   He mated thousands of times.

Ray Charles was good at blindfold chess.

Charles De Gaulle played chess. He favored the French.

Winston Churchill played a lot of blitz chess during World War II. He played the English Defense.

Christopher Columbus discovered chess in his later years.

Macaulay Culkin played chess at home alone.

General George Custer played chess, but did not like the Indian Defenses.

Jeffrey Dahmer played chess with his victims.  He favored the Fried Liver Attack.

In all probability, Abraham de Moivre played chess.

Chess was too hard for Albert Einstein. He couldn't figure it out.

Heidi Fleiss likes to mate and keeps a black book of all her chess players.

Francisco Franco played chess. He liked the Spanish Opening.

Benjamin Franklin played a lot of lightning chess.

Sigmund Freud dreamed a lot about playing chess.

Al Gore said he invented Internet chess. I once played him a game of chess and he was way ahead in material count, and he still lost.

Don't play Billy Graham in chess. He is good. You don't have a prayer.

Ron Guidry was on the cover of Chess Life and made a pitch for chess.

John Hinkley was a chess player.  He impressed Jody Foster with his bullet chess.

Hitler played chess, favoring the Berlin Defense.

Anthony Hopkins plays chess. He prefers the Fried Liver Attack.

Harry Houdini played chess and was pretty lucky to escape from some bad positions.

Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi played chess. Their favorite opening was the Frankenstein-Dracula variation in the Vienna.

Robert E. Lee once played Ulysses S. Grant on one of those civil war sets, but lost.

Ron Guidry was on the cover and made a pitch for chess in an earlier issue of Chess Life magazine.

For a brief moment in time, Stephen Hawking played chess.

It is uncertain if Werner Heisenberg played chess.

John Hinckley once took a shot at chess. He tried to impress Jody Foster.

Harry Houdini played chess and escaped from so many bad positions.

Don Johnson said that his only vice was chess.

King Arthur played chess.  He preferred his knights and liked to play on a round table.

Kreskin is amazing at chess.

Stephen King always makes novel moves that look scary.

Lennox Lewis likes to play in knockout chess tournaments. He usually lasts a couple of rounds.

Madonna plays chess, but she likes to hold on to her material.

Marcel Marceau played chess, but never talked about it.

Steve Martin is a wild and crazy guy when he plays chess.

John McEnroe plays chess, but badly. He once played a game against Michael Chang, lost, then jumped on the table, yelling, "Why must I lose to this idiot."

Dmitri Mendeleev periodically played chess.

Yehudi Menuhin fiddled at the game.

John Glenn thought chess was out of this world.


Richard Nixon played chess, but he always resigned, saying, "Pardon me."

Chuck Norris gets his kicks from chess.

The Pope plays chess. He prefers his bishops.

Rembrandt played chess and liked to draw his games.

William Shakespeare played chess around the Globe.

Josef Stalin played chess. He preferred the Russian Defense.

Tolstoy liked his warrin’ pieces when he played chess.

John Voight was a mid-knight cowboy.

Ray Walston was my favorite chessplayer.

Bruce Willis liked to blitz harder.