More Chess Trivia

by Bill Wall


The 1987 Belgrade Open had 11 Grandmasters, 23 International Masters, and 22 FIDE masters participating.  98 players were rated over 2300 Elo!  The event was won by 19 year old Ivan Sokolov.

Grandmaster vegetarians include Nick deFirmian, Speelman, Mestel, and Flear.

Kasparov’s IQ is 135, well above the average, but not on the genius level. 

In 1988, Kasparov played the first “World Simultaneous” exhibition.  Kasparov played in Cannes, France while his opponents played in Japan, Belgium, Italy, the USSR, England, Australia, Switzerland, Senegal, the USA, and Canada.  Kasparov won 8, drew to the Soviet Junior Champion Mikhail Ulybin, and lost to 16-year-old International Master Michael Adams of England.

Only two players have played in both the U.S. and Canadian chess championships – Duncan Suttles and Peter Biyiasis.


In 1932, Dutch Master Daniel Noteboom attended the Hastings Chess Congress, held in December-January.  The weather was so cold that he caught pneumonia at Hastings and then died.

Grandmaster Ulf Andersson did not play in a chess tournament in his native country of Sweden from 1971 to 1988, a span of 17 years.  When he finally played, he took 2nd place at Haninge.

The first and only rated public celebrity chess tournament was held in Hollywood in 1988.  The eight celebrities that participated were Lew Ayres, Erik Estrada, Gene Scherer, William Smithers, William Windom, Gerry Goffin, Jimmy Komack, and Hiram Strait.  The event was won by Hiram Strait.

In 1988, four people were barred from the World Open in Philadelphia for rating manipulations.

In 1988, Mikhail Tal, age 52, played in his first-ever chess tournament in the United States.  He tied for 1st at the National Open in Chicago.

Some of the top chess players in the world, especially women (several world women’s champions and several Candidates), are from the former Soviet Georgia, and not from the state of Georgia.  Why we call them Georgians is unknown.  In their own language, the country is called Tsakhartvelo.  In Russian, the country is known as Gruzia.  In Georgia, when a woman marries, she is given a chess set.

When Judit Polgar was 11 years old, she made three International Master (IM) norms (in New York, Iceland, and France), a Woman Grandmaster norm, defeated several International Masters and at least one GM, and had an Elo rating of almost 2400.  She was playing blindfold games with grandmasters.  In Iceland, she won a Category 7 (2400-2425) tournament, and an Icelandic Open with the score of 8.5 out of 9.  At age 11, she became the youngest player to earn an IM title.  She then played in the World Under 12 Boys championship in Romania and won with the score of 9 out of 11.

In 1988, Grandmasters Amador Rodriquez and Guillermo Garcia played in a New York tournament.  They were the Cubans to play in the U.S. in over 30 years.  Garcia took 2nd place and was supposed to have received $10,000 2nd place prize.  But the U.S. Treasury Department would not allow him to receive any prize money due to the Trading with the Enemy Act of 1917 and the economic embargo against Cuba.  Garcia has since died (car accident) and the money is still in the bank.

The first Candidates’ match ever held in the U.S. was the Korchnoi-Mecking match, held in Augusta, Georgia in 1974.  The second Candidates’ match ever held in the U.S. was the Karpov-Hjartarson match, held in Seattle in 1989.

In 1988, 19 year old Ivan Sokolov broke his leg playing basketball in the middle of the Yugoslav chess championship.  He recovered and won the championship, the youngest player ever to win the Yugoslav championship.

In the February 1964 issue of the British Chess Magazine, a writer mentioned that master Raymond Weinstein “had a ruthless killer instinct.”  This was written before Raymond Weinstein had actually killed someone.

Finland has two chess federations.  One is called the Finnish Chess Federation, and the other is called the Finnish Worker’s Chess Federation.  Both have national championships, usually played around the same time in spring.

In 1988, the USCF had a deficit of over $212,000.  Because of this loss, the US Championship was canceled.  However, corporate sponsors, Software Toolworks and Fidelity Electronics, came to the rescue, and the US Chess Championship was held at Cambridge Springs, Pennsylvania.

Kasparov ‘s first defeat against someone younger than he occurred in 1986, when Nigel Short defeated Kasparov.

In 1988, England became only the second country (after the USSR), to have at least 4 players rated over 2600 at one time.  They were Short (2665), Speelman (2645), Nunn (2625), and Chandler (2605).

In the 1980s, the Soviet Union, with over 5 million registered tournament players, had fewer FIDE-rated players than the USA.  For example, in 1987, the FIDE rating list had 288 rated men for the USA, but only 238 men for the USSR.