Losing at Chess
by Bill Wall

In chess, you lose if you are checkmated. But there are other ways to lose. You could lose on time, you could just resign, you could lose if your mobile phone and/or other electronic device goes off, or even if you take it in the playing area. You could lose if you distract or annoy your opponent, or take notes, or analyze any game on another chessboard. In international events, you could lose if you don’t conform to the clothing attire (don’t wear shorts, for example), or bring a watch or a pen in the playing area. Online, you can lose after a mouse slip, or hitting “I resign” instead of “draw.”

Here are some ways to lose at chess, forfeit at chess, or some consequences after losing a game of chess. Some people were just sore losers. And finally, some excuses for losing at chess.

Around 1213, Prince Ferdinand (Ferrand) of Portugal (1188-1233) lost a chess game to his wife, Joan (1194-1244), Countess of Flanders and the daughter of Baldwin IX (1172-1205), count of Flanders and first emperor of the Latin Empire of Constantinople.  Ferdinand got so mad at being beaten by his wife in a game of chess that he hit her with his fists.  In revenge, she left her husband in French captivity from 1214 to 1226, refusing to ransom him. (source: Murray, History of Chess, 1913, p. 436)

In the 1250s, the first known court case involving chess and violence appeared.  It dealt with a chess player who stabbed his opponent to death.  A quarrel arose between two players of Essex, England, over a chess match.  One of the players who lost was so angered that he stabbed his opponent in the stomach with a knife.

In 1263, an English court case was opened when a man stabbed a woman to death with his sword after losing to her in a game of chess (ad scaccarium). David de Bristoll was playing chess with Juliana, wife of Richard le Cordwaner, at Richard’s house. David lost to Juliana, then stabbed her in the thigh before fleeing. (source: The London Eyre, 1276, case 151)

General Winfield Scott (1786-1866) was a chess player, but a sore loser. In 1846, when he lost a chess game to nine-year-old Paul Morphy (1837-1884) in New Orleans, he did not take his defeat gracefully. He arose from the game trembling and with indignation. (the story is poorly sourced and may have not happened as Scott was under arrest at the time)

In 1851, chess master Johann Lowenthal (1810-1876) was living in Cincinnati giving chess lessons at his chess divan. His customers raised enough money for him to travel to the London International Chess Tournament of 1851 and then return back to Cincinnati. However, he got knocked out in the first round by Elijah Williams. Because of his early loss, he felt too embarrassed to return to the United States and stayed in Europe the rest of his life, settling in London.

The Reverend Arthur Skipworth (1830-1898) was a poor loser.  He had the habit of suddenly getting "ill" when he lost a few chess games, then would petition the tournament committee to return his entry fee due to his poor health.  He dropped out of the British Chess Association (BCA) London tournament in 1868 after a few losses.  In 1883, he lost his second game to James Mortimer (1833-1911) in the BCA tournament in London, then said he was in ill-health and wanted his deposit money back, which they returned to him.  In 1886, he dropped out of a Nottingham tournament after losing his first 2 games (his first game was adjourned in a lost position, but he would not resign), claiming ill health and asked for his entry fee back.  In 1888, he dropped out of a Bradford tournament in the 6th round after a few losses and no wins, claiming illness.  He did that throughout his chess career.

In 1878, the automaton Mephisto, built in 1876, started playing chess in England against all comers. It beat almost every player except when it played a lady. When playing with ladies, it would obtain a winning position and then lose the game, offering to shake hands afterwards. Mephisto was a remotely controlled electromechanical device, mainly operated by chess master Isidor Gunsberg (1854-1930).

In January 1880, at the 5th American Chess Congress in New York, Preston Ware (1821-1890), a wealthy banker of Boston, testified to the tournament committee that his last-round opponent, James Grundy (1855-1919) of England, offered him $20 (over $400 in today’s currency) if he agreed to play for a draw in their game that had been adjourned. A draw would give Grundy, who needed the money, at least 2nd place prize money. Ware agreed, but complained that Grundy then reneged on the deal and went on to win the game in 64 moves, and tied for 1st place (with George Mackenzie). 1st place was $500 and 2nd place was $300. Grundy lost the playoff match with Mackenzie to take 2nd. When Grundy admitted his guilt, he was forbidden from ever again taking part in an American tournament. Grundy played in other tournaments, but under false names. Ware was suspended for one year from playing chess. Preston Ware didn’t need the money, but agreed to the shady deal because he wanted his friend, Captain George Mackenzie, to take first place. Karl Marx (1818-1883) was a chess player, but a sore loser. His wife, Jenny (1814-1881), had to make him stop playing chess to cool his temper. When he lost, he got angry and flew in a rage.

In 1882, James Mason (1849-1905) became the first person to lose a game of chess on time. It happened at Vienna where everyone played with a chess timing piece. Mason, in a losing position, overstepped the time limit at moves 30 against Henry Bird and should have lost. But Bird declined not to take the win on time forfeit, feeling confident that he could beat Mason. The game continued and it was Mason that won the game. Bird then protested and ultimately received the point as he was able to find enough witnesses to show that Mason lost on time. Mason was an alcoholic and lost several chess games while being intoxicated and making drunken disturbances.

In 1889, James Mason lost to David Graham Baird (1854-1913) at a chess tournament in New York after 8 moves. Mason had visited a barroom with some friends just before the game and was unable to play any further because he was too drunk.

Baird – Mason, New York, 1889, 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. Nf3 Bf5 5. Bd3 Bxd3 6. Qxd3 Nf6 7. O-O Bd6 8. Re1+ and ‘Game lost by forfeit’.

In 1889, Nicholas MacLeod (1870-1965), two-time Canadian champion, lost 31 games in the 6th American Chess Congress in New York and took last place. He holds the record for the most games lost in a single tournament.

In 1891 William Steinitz played Mikhail Chigorin in by cable telegraph match and lost. Shortly afterward, the New York police arrested Steinitz as a Russian spy for using chess code over a cable. This was cleared up later on.

In 1892, Emanuel Lasker (1868-1941) lost only one game at a simultaneous exhibition in Quebec. He lost to Nicholas MacLeod. Lasker refused to resign, despite MacLeod being up two queens against him.

In 1895, Willian Steinitz (1836-1900) made a very good move against Curt von Bardeleben (1861-1924) that would lead to mate. Von Bardeleben decided to leave the hall during the game and didn’t return. Tournament official found him outside the hall pacing angrily. He forfeited his game after the clock ran out 50 minutes later.

Steinitz – von Bardelben, Hastings 1895, 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Bc5 4. c3 Nf6 5. d4 exd4 6. cxd4 Bb4+ 7. Nc3 d5 8. exd5 Nxd5 9. O-O Be6 10. Bg5 Be7 11. Bxd5 Bxd5 12. Nxd5 Qxd5 13. Bxe7 Nxe7 14. Re1 f6 15. Qe2 Qd7 16. Rac1 c6 17. d5 cxd5 18. Nd4 Kf7 19. Ne6 Rhc8 20. Qg4 g6 21. Ng5+ Ke8 22. Rxe7+ Kf8 23. Rf7+ Kg8 24. Rg7+ Kh8 25. Rxh7+ {And von Bardeleben walked out of the hall at this point and did not return. Steinitz demonstrated immediately afterward, there is a mate in ten moves which can only be averted by ruinous loss of material; analysis follows:...Kh8 25. Rxh7+ Kg8 26. Rg7+ Kh8 27. Qh4+ Kxg7 28. Qh7+ Kf8 29. Qh8+ Ke7 30. Qg7+ Ke8 31. Qg8+ Ke7 32. Qf7+ Kd8 33. Qf8+ Qe8 34. Nf7+ Kd7 35. Qd6#} 1-0

In 1895, Siegbert Tarrasch (1862-1934) was a sore loser by blaming the "lassitude from the effects of the sea air" on his losses.  He blamed the climate when he lost in Duesseldorf in 1908 during the world championship match with Emanuel Lasker.

In 1903, Colonel Charles Paul Narcisse Moreau (1837-1916) lost all 26 games at Monte Carlo. This was the worst result ever recorded in an international chess tournament. Although a weak player, he participated because he was on the tournament organizing committee and was perhaps a patron of chess.

In 1904, Frank Marshall (1877-1944) defeated David Janowski (1868-1927) in a match in Paris.  Janowski acted like a sore loser and wrote to Marshall, “I consider the result of our match far from proving our respective abilities.  On the contrary, as in the great majority of games, I allowed the win or draw to escape me.  I am persuaded that normally I should have won very easily.  I therefore challenge you to a return match on the following conditions – The first winner of 10 games to be declared the winner, draws not to count.  I also offer you the advantage of 4 points; that is to say, my first 4 wins are not to count.  Stakes not to exceed 5,000 francs.” Reuben Fine wrote that Janowski was a “master of the alibi” with respect to his losses.

On February 8, 1910, Carl Schlechter (1874-1918) lost his 10th and final game against Emanuel Lasker in the world chess championship. If he had drawn or won the game, Schlechter would have been world champion. Schelecter, was leading 5-4 and tried to win tactically. He had a big advantage and missed a stronger move 35. He had a draw on move 39. He continued to take increasing risks to try to win the game, but ended up losing in a rook plus pawn vs. knight plus pawn endgame. Hence, the match was a draw, 5-5, and Lasker remained World Chess Champion.

Emanuel Lasker - Carl Schlechter, World Championship, Berlin (10), 1910 1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 g6 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Bd3 0–0 7.Qc2 Na6 8.a3 dxc4 9.Bxc4 b5 10.Bd3 b4 11.Na4 bxa3 12.bxa3 Bb7 13.Rb1 Qc7 14.Ne5 Nh5 15.g4 Bxe5 16.gxh5 Bg7 17.hxg6 hxg6 18.Qc4 Bc8 19.Rg1 Qa5+ 20.Bd2 Qd5 21.Rc1 Bb7 22.Qc2 Qh5 23.Bxg6 Qxh2 24.Rf1 fxg6 25.Qb3+ Rf7 26.Qxb7 Raf8 27.Qb3 Kh8 28.f4 g5 [28...e5] 29.Qd3 gxf4 30.exf4 Qh4+ 31.Ke2 Qh2+ [31...Qg4+; 31...Qh5+] 32.Rf2 [32.Kd1] 32...Qh5+ 33.Rf3 Nc7 34.Rxc6 Nb5 35.Rc4 Rxf4 [35...Rd8] 36.Bxf4 Rxf4 37.Rc8+ Bf8 38.Kf2 Qh2+ 39.Ke1 Qh1+? [39...Qh4+ 40.Kd2 (40.Kf1 Qh3+) 40...Qh2+ 41.Ke1 Qh4+ 42.Kd2=] 40.Rf1 Qh4+ 41.Kd2 Rxf1 42.Qxf1 Qxd4+ 43.Qd3 Qf2+ 44.Kd1 Nd6 [44...Qg1+ 45.Kc2 Nd4+ 46.Kb2 Kg7] 45.Rc5 Bh6 [45...Bg7] 46.Rd5 Kg8 [46...Kg7] 47.Nc5 Qg1+ 48.Kc2 Qf2+ 49.Kb3 Bg7 50.Ne6 Qb2+ [50...Qb6+] 51.Ka4 Kf7 [51...Qb7] 52.Nxg7 Qxg7 53.Qb3 Ke8 54.Qb8+ Kf7 55.Qxa7 Qg4+ [55...Qg2] 56.Qd4 Qd7+ [56...Qc8] 57.Kb3 Qb7+ 58.Ka2 Qc6 59.Qd3 Ke6 60.Rg5 Kd7 61.Re5 Qg2+ 62.Re2 Qg4 63.Rd2 Qa4 64.Qf5+ Kc7?? [64...Ke8; 64...Kd8] 65.Qc2+ Qxc2+ 66.Rxc2+ Kb7 67.Re2 Nc8 68.Kb3 Kc6 69.Rc2+ Kb7 70.Kb4 Na7 71.Kc5, Black resigns 1–0

In 1913, at Scheveningen (a district of The Hague), Gyula Breyer (1893-1921) lost his game to Frederick Yates (1893—1921) after failing to show up an hour after the game had started. Someone telephoned the hotel in time to reach Breyer, but the message came back that Breyer had left the hotel and was on his way. It turned out afterwards that the hotel person who received the message mistook Alekhine for Breyer (they looked alike), so nothing else could be done but let the clock run out. Breyer said afterwards that he would never stay with Alekhine at the same hotel.

In 1913, at a tournament in Havana, Charles Jaffe (1879-1941) lost his game with Frank Marshall (1877-1944), blundering away his queen for a rook and then promptly resigned. Jose Capablanca (1888-1942), who lost to Marshall and Jaffe, charged that Jaffe intentionally lost his game to Marshall so that Marshall would win the tournament ahead of Capablanca. It was alleged that Capablanca influenced tournament organizers in the USA and Cuba so that Jaffe would be unable to be invited or play in major tournaments after this, especially tournaments in which Capablanca was playing. Jaffe never played again in a tournament where Capablanca also participated.

In 1915, Ajeeb, a chess and checker automaton, was set up at Coney Island by James Smith and Emma Haddera.  One player lost to it and was so angry he took out a gun and shot at the torso of the automaton.  There is some speculation that this killed its apprentice hidden operator, which was covered up.  In another incident with Ajeeb, a Westerner emptied his six-shooter into the automaton, hitting the operator in the shoulder.  One lady who lost to the Ajeeb automaton was so enraged that they stuck a hatpin into the automaton, stabbing its operator, Peter Hill, in the mouth. Ajeeb was in action from 1868 to 1936.

In 1918, Aron Nimzowitsch (1886-1935) supposedly lost a last round blitz game in Berlin, and allegedly leapt on the table and shouted, “Gegen diesen Idioten muss ich verlieren!" (Why must I lose to this idiot!). (source: Reinfeld and Kmoch, “Unconditional Surrender,” Chess Review, Feb 1950, p. 55)

Vladimir Lenin (1870-1924) was a chess player, but gave it up because he was a sore loser.  Maxim Gorky wrote that Lenin “grew angry when he lost, even sulking rather childishly.”

At Vienna in 1922, Alexander Alekhine (1892-1946) resigned in a game against Ernst Gruenfeld (1893-1962) by throwing the king across the room. (source: Reinfeld and Kmoch, Chess Review, Feb 1950, p. 55)

In May 1923, Alekhine smashed all the furniture in his hotel room at the Helenenhof Imperial Hotel after losing a game to Rudolf Spielmann (1883-1942) at the Carlsbad tournament. (source: Kmoch, Chess Review, May 1950, pp. 136-138). Alekhine also lost to Karel Treybal (1885-1941) and Frederick Yates (1884-1932) in the tournament. Yates won a brilliancy prize for his win against Alekhine. Alekhine still tied for 1st place.

In 1927 at Kecskemet, Hans Mueller (1896-1971), a poor loser, waited until it was time to seal a move.  Instead of sealing a move, he wrote, 'aufgegeben' (I resign) and never showed up for the adjournment.

In 1927, Sadi Kalabar (1901-1960) of Yugoslavia was running late for his game with Luis Palau (1896-1971) of Argentina at the Chess Olympiad in London. He was absorbed filling in the score sheet as he played this with the Black pieces: 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 Ke7 5.Nxb4 Kxb4?? He had touched the wrong piece, moving the king instead of the Queen.

In 1929, the Viennese master Albert Becker (1896-1984) said that if any master should lose to Vera Menchik (1906-1944), a woman, he would be a member of the Vera Menchik Club. Becker became the first member when he lost to her at Carlsbad in 1929. Later, other members included Max Euwe, Samuel Reshevsky, Mir Sultan Khan, Sir George Thomas, C. H. O'D. Alexander, Edgar Colle, Frederick Yates, William Winter, Lajos Steiner, Frederich Saemisch, Milner-Barry, Harry Golombek, Karel Opocensky, and Jacques Mieses (who lost to her four times in a match).

In the 1930s, Savielly Tartakower (1887-1956) once lost five games in a row. He was asked how that could happen. He replied, "I had a toothache during the first game. In the second game I had a headache. In the third game it was an attack of rheumatism. In the fourth game, I wasn't feeling well. And in the fifth game? Well, must one have to win every game?"

In 1935, at the Warsaw Chess Olympiad, Isaias Pleci (1900-1980) of Argentina claimed his game on time forfeit against Miguel Najdorf (1910-1997). Najdorf made his move just before time control, but before he could press the button on the chess clock, Pleci picked up the chess clock and ran away with it. Pleci said he could not forcible stop Najdorf from making his move and writing it down on his scoresheet. The arbiters were unable to determine who was telling the truth, so they let the chess clock decide the issue. Najdorf lost the game on time.

In 1935, Ilya Rabinovich (1891-1942) was ordered to lose against Mikhail Botvinnik (1911-1995), to ensure that Botvinnik took 1st place at a Moscow tournament. Botvinnik refused to go along with the plan, saying, “…then I will myself put a piece en prise and resign.” The plan was aborted, the game was drawn, and Botvinnik shared 1st place with Salo Flohr (1908-1983) of Czechoslovakia. Rabinovich tied for 11th-14th.

In 1938, Ronald Bruce lost a chess game to two world champions on the same day. He lost to world champion Alexander Alekhine in the morning, and then lost to world women’s champion Vera Menchik in the evening.

In 1938, Jack Straley Battell (1909-1985) lost all 11 games in the 1937-38 Marshall Chess Club Championship. He gave up over-the-board-chess tournaments and started playing correspondence chess instead. By 1946, he was the highest rated postal player in the United States and won the 1946 Correspondence Chess League of America (CCLA) championship.

In 1939, Weaver W. Adams (1901-1963) wrote a book called White to Play and Win. After publication of the book, he played in the U.S. Open in Dallas in 1940. He did not win a single game as White (3 losses and 1 draw).

In 1942, Samuel Reshevsky (1911-1992) lost on time against Arnold Denker (1914-2005). However, the tournament arbiter, L. Walter Stephens, who was standing behind the clock, flipped the chess clock around, which made it look like Denker had lost on time. He awarded the point to Reshevsky instead of Denker, despite lots of protests and appeals. He refused to correct his error explaining, "Does Kemesaw Mountain Landis reverse himself?" The crowd demonstrated its disapproval with boos and jeers. Denker filed a protest as Reshevsky was not keeping his own score and the players were using a battered chess clock that had no flag indicators. If there were no flag indicators, how did Stephens know who lost on time? The erroneous ruling allowed Reshevsky to tie for 1st place with Isaac Kashdan (1905-1985). Reshevsky then won the play-off match to become U.S. champion six months later.

In 1944, Al Horowitz (1907-1973) was giving a simultaneous exhibition in Kansas City. He had just played a spectacular winning move against one of his opponents, when his opponent, shocked, had a heart attack and died.

In the 1940s Marlon Brando (1924-2004) moved from Illinois to New York and was an average chess player, but poor loser.  Whenever he lost a game of chess, he would knock all the pieces off the board and say, “I’m bored.”

In 1950, a player had just lost a chess game to Walter Bjornson in Vancouver, British Columbia. The player was arrested for assault after taking out a knife and putting a 4-inch gash in Bjornson’s forearm. (source: Chess Review, Feb 1951, p. 38)

In 1950, Samuel Reshevsky (1911-1992) was playing Fotis Mastichiadis, a minor master from Greece, at the chess Olympiad in Dubrovnik, Yugoslavia. Reshevsky made his 24th move too fast, then noticed that the move was a blunder and that it would lose immediately. Without hesitation, as his opponent was busy writing down the move on his score sheet, Reshevsky offered a draw. His opponent, happy to draw with Grandmaster Reshevsky, accepted the draw immediately without examining the position before accepting the draw. Of course, there is nothing unethical or illegal in offering a draw from a clearly lost position.

In 1954, Fedor Dus-Chotimirsky (1879-1965) took a move back that would have lost the game to David Bronstein (1924-2006) in Moscow.  Fedor said, "Hey, I just made a bad move and now I am changing it to a good one.  To hell with the rules.  This is chess!"

In the 1950s, Humphrey Bogart (1899-1957) played a chess game against a friend, Mike Romanoff (1890-1972), at a restaurant and lost. He then went home, phoned his friend and bet some money on a new game played over the phone. Bogart won the game, but then admitted he cheated. At the time, U.S. Champion Herman Steiner (1905-1955) was visiting Bogart at his house, who helped Bogart with the moves. Bogart himself said that he liked chess better than poker because you couldn’t cheat at chess.

In 1957, Donald Byrne (1930-1976) was playing Samuel Reshevsky in a match.  The referee, Hans Kmoch (1894-1973), was watching the game.  In the first game, both players got in time trouble, and Byrne’s flag fell.  All the spectators, as well as Hans Kmoch, saw the flag fell but no one said anything.  Reshevsky, who was not paying attention to the clock, then offered Byrne a draw, which Byrne accepted right away (he knew his flag fell).  After the agreed draw, Kmoch then told Reshevsky that he could have claimed a win on time forfeit.  Resheveky then replied, “I claim it.”  But it was too late. In the second game, Byrne’s flag fell first, then Reshevsky’s flag fell.  Neither player had noticed that the other ‘s flag had fallen.  Seated in the front row was Mrs. Reshevsky who suddenly rose to her feet and shouted, “I claim the game on behalf of my husband.”  Samuel Reshevsky, who heard this and now noticed the fallen flags, made a claim of his own.  Then Byrne, seeing Reshevsky’s flag down, made his own claim.  The matter was referred to a committee for a ruling, which Byrne protested and temporarily resigned the match.  Reshevsky’s claims to both the first and second games and Byrne’s claim to the second game were all disallowed.  Play eventually resumed and Reshevsky won the match.

In the winter of 1959, a Soviet scientist at a Soviet research station at Vostok Station, Antarctica, lost a game of chess with a fellow soviet scientist. He got so mad he killed his opponent with an axe. Chess was subsequently banned at Russian Antarctic stations. (source: Anthony, “Vostok, or a brief and awkward tour of the end of the Earth,” www.worldhum.com, 2006)

On June 1, 1960, American sailor Michael L. George, age 34, had just lost a chess game while playing at Chumley's bar in Greenwich Village restaurant at 86 Bedford Street in New York. A spectator, Clinton Curtis, age 43, a freelance editor from Miami who was visiting his brother, made fun of George’s game and criticized his game. George got so mad, he broke a beer bottle and smashed it against Curtis, cutting his jugular vein. Curtis then bled to death. Michael George went to jail for manslaughter, but was eventually acquitted of murder and charged with accidental death instead. (source: New York Times, June 2, 1960)

In 1962, Lisa Lane (1938- ), US women’s champion, was playing in the Hastings Reserve tournament in England. After her second loss, she withdrew from the tournament. She said she could not concentrate on her chess because she was "homesick and in love."

John Wayne (1907-1979) played chess but was not a very good loser. Wayne once played William Windom (a higher rated player but lesser known actor) and lost 6 games in a row. Wayne finally had enough and knocked all the pieces to the floor, blaming the chess board and chess pieces.

In 1964, Grandmaster Klaus Darga (1934- ) resigned his game to Levente Lengyal (1933-2014) at the Amsterdam Interzonal, overlooking he had a won game. He overlooked an escape move for his king in which he would have been an exchange up. Instead, he thought he was losing a rook, so he extended his hand in resignation. A moment later, he struck his forehead and exclaimed, “My God, I have a winning position!” However, he had just resigned his game.

In 1968, at a tournament in Athens, two Greek players were trying to qualify for International Master at the event. During the opening ceremony, invited players to the tournament were asked to lose their games to the Greek players. In return, they would be paid a sum of money or points would be thrown in their direction by other accommodating players. Some players cooperated, others refused. The two Greek players did get their International Master title.

In 1969, at the World Student Team Championship in Dresden, the Yugoslavian player Momcilo Despotovic was playing the American player Gregory DeFotis, who had white.  DeFotis got in time trouble and was depending on Despotivic’s score sheet to determine when 40 moves were made before time control at 5 hours.  Despotovic relaxed, made his next move, wrote it as move 41, and walked away from the board.  DeFotis had 25 seconds left and thought he made time control since his opponent had turned over the score sheet after recording what was seemingly his 41st move.  When DeFotis saw his flag fall, he thought he had made time control.  But Despotovic swooped back to the board and immediately claimed a win on time, stating that his own score “accidently” contained a duplication of one move and hence only 40 white moves had been played.  Despotovic was awarded the point.  It was alleged that Despotovic pretended to make 41 moves in order to mislead his opponent.   Despotovic pulled the same trick on another opponent during the tournament.

In 1969, Danny Kopec (1954-2016), who later became an International Master, lost a game to a person he beat in his first tournament.  In a temper tantrum, he threw all his chess sets and magazines down an incinerator.

In 1969, Grandmaster Freidrich Saemisch (1896-1975) lost all 15 games on time at a tournament in Buesum, Germany.

In 1969, Grandmaster Freidrich Saemisch lost all 13 games on time at a tournament in Linkoping, Sweden.

In 1970, Oscar Panno lost his game with Bobby Fischer because Panno refused to show up and play at the Palma de Mallorca Interzonal. Fischer played 1.c4 and waited an hour before winning on time. Panno refused to play in protest to the organizers’ rescheduling of the game to accommodate Fischer’s desire not to play on his religion’s (Worldwide Church of God) Sabbath.

In 1970, at the Palma de Mallorca Interzonal, Mark Taimanov was paired with Milan Matulovic in the final round. It was alleged that Taimanov or his Soviet Federation paid Matulovic $300 to lose the game so that Taimanov would qualify for the 1971 Candidates matches. Taimanov needed a win to qualify. Matulovic showed up 20 minutes late, lingered at the board, looked at the previous day’s tournament bulletin, then finally made a move. Matulovic, normally a slow player, played at a fast pace and lost after about an hour of play. Taimanov qualified for the Candidates match and then lost to Bobby Fischer in Vancouver, with a 0-6 score.

In 1970, Bobby Fischer was playing White against Vlatko Kovacevic at a tournament in Zagreb. On his 18th move, Fischer had a chance to win if Black made the obvious move. Petrosian and Korchnoi, who were watching the game, spotted Fischer’s deadly intention and were analyzing the position in a different room. Petrosian’s wife had followed the analysis of the Petrosian and Korchnoi, then walked across to the board and whispered the lines to Kovacevic. Kovacevic then played another, less obvious, but stronger move, and actually won the game. It was Fischer’s only loss in the 17-round tournament.

In 1970, at the chess Olympiad in Skopje, Yugoslavia, Viktor Korchnoi accidently overslept and missed his round against Spain, forfeiting his game. The round started at 3 pm and Korchnoi showed up after 4 pm.

Also at Skopje, Albania decided to forfeit their match against South Africa as a protest against racial segregation. The lost their match 4-0.

In 1971, when Tigran Petrosian lost his match with Bobby Fischer, Petrosian’s wife, Rona, put the blame on his trainer, Alexey Suetin, and slapped him.

In the 1970s Lubomir Kavalek (1943- ) forfeited the last round of a tournament by not showing up. He had a chance to win the event. His excuse was that his hotel failed to give him a wake-up call. He wanted the forfeit annulled because it was the hotel’s fault, not his.

In one of the US Opens of the early 1970s, a chess player had just lost his game and, by himself, set up the pieces to analyze his game.  A player sitting next to him told him to leave the playing area, that this was not a skittles room.  Ignoring the player, the other person quietly replayed his lost game.  The player again told him to leave.  The lone kibitzer replied, “Who died and made you king?”  The player then swept all the pieces off the other guy’s board with his hand.  The kibitzer responded with a right hook that knocked the player off his seat.  A fight then started, which had to be broken up by the tournament director.

In July 1972, Bobby Fischer forfeited his second game with Boris Spassky in the world chess championship. He failed to appear at the playing hall. He boycotted the game because he objected to the presence of movie cameras in the hall.

In 1972, Robert Heubner lost a game for not apologizing to the tournament arbiters after he played a game with Kenneth Rogoff. In the World Student Championship, Huebner played one move and offered a draw. Rogoff accepted. However, the arbiters insisted that some moves be played. So after 11 moves, another draw was agreed. The arbiters ruled that both players must apologize and play an actual game later in the evening. Rogoff appeared and apologized. Huebner did not appear and did not apologize, so was given a loss after an hour’s time when Heubner’s clock was started. Rogoff was declared the winner. Heubner did not want to play the round so that he could rest and he still had several adjourned games to play.

In 1972, Tigran Petrosian (1929-1984) lost a game on time against Robert Huebner in the 1972 Skopje Olympiad, his first loss on time in his whole career. When he was later told that the incident was shown on television, re responded, “If I had known that, I would definitely have smashed the clock.”

In 1972, Grandmaster Georgi Tringov (1937-2000) at the 20th Chess Olympiad in Skopje, Yugoslavia, was playing Viktor Korchnoi. At time control, Tringov was to seal his next move. Tringov wrote his sealed move on his scoresheet and thought he sealed his scoresheet in the envelope. When the game was resumed, the arbiter opened the envelope. In the envelope was Korchnoi's score sheet but not the one belonging to Tringov. The arbiter ruled the game a forfeit win for Korchnoi, which the Bulgarian team captain protested. After the Olympiad was over, it was learned that Tringov had accidentally placed his score sheet in his pocket. Tringov discovered his mistake several days after his forfeit but was too ashamed to admit his mistake to the organizers of the Olympiad. (source: Chess Life, Feb 1988, p. 1)

In 1972, during the World Youth Team championship in Graz, Switzerland, Robert Huebner of Germany was scheduled to play Ken Rogoff of the USA. Both were tired from previous long games and Huebner offered a draw to Rogoff without making any moves. However, the arbiters did not like this and refused the game. So the two players put together a scoresheet of a game that looked like this: 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.Ng1 Ng8 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Ng1 Ng8 and so on ... Draw. The arbiters were not amused. They insisted that the two play some real moves. So the next game went 1.c4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.Nf1 Bg7 4.Qa4 O-O 5.Qxd7 Qxd7 6.g4 Qxd2+ 7.Kxd2 Nxg4 8.b4 a5 9.a4 Bxa1 10.Bb2 Nc6 11.Bh8 Bg7 12.h4 axb4 draw. The arbiters were not amused. They insisted that the two play a valid game. Rogoff agreed but Huebner did not, so Rogoff was given a win and Huebner was given a loss by forfeit. The Russian team pressed for a double forfeit, but Huebner insisted that he alone bore responsibility. Years later, the main arbiter, Sajtar, admitted he was wrong in ordering a rematch of the games.

On April 3, 1975, Bobby Fischer forfeited his world chess title to Anatoly Karpov because he did not like the FIDE conditions for the match.

In 1973, Henrique Mecking lost his match with Petrosian and made a formal protest. He accused Petrosian of kicking the table, shaking the chessboard, stirring the coffee too loudly, and rolling a coin on the table. He went to the referee twice to complain that Petrosian was breathing too loudly. Mecking kicked back at the table and started making noises of his own. Petrosian responded by turning his hearing aid off.

In 1978, at the world chess championship in Baguio, Philippines, Korchnoi was blaming his losses on a Soviet hypnosis expert, Dr. Vladimir Zukhar, and threatened to punch him out. Korchnoi had accused Zukhar of putting a hex on him by long-range hypnosis.

In January 1979, Patrick McKenna (1946- ) strangled his Clark County Jail (Las Vegas) cellmate, Jack J. Nobles. Nobles had lost a chess game to McKenna and took a swing at him. McKenna responded by attacking Nobles and choking him to death. McKenna was put on death row.

In the 1980s, the Soviet Union banned cosmonauts from playing chess in space with each other (they can play against ground control personnel) after a fist fight once broke out between cosmonauts after one of the cosmonauts lost his game to the other cosmonaut.

In 1981, at the Lone Pine tournament in California, Sammy Reshevsky offered a draw to John Fedorowicz. After letting his time tick down, Fedorowicz accepted. Reshevsky then denied he made the offer. There were several witnesses to Reshevsky’s offers, but the tournament director, Isaac Kashdan, eliminated all the witnesses, saying they were all Fedorowicz’s friends, and upheld Reshevsky’s fabrication. However, the game was resumed with Fedorowicz almost out of time and Reshevsky lost!

In 1981, future grandmaster John Fedorowicz (1958- ) and grandmaster András Adorján (1950- ) got into a fistfight at the Edward Lasker Memorial on New York.  Fedorowicz was upset that Adorján beat him when Adorján was drawing all his earlier games.  Most of the blows landed not on each other, but on the tournament director, Eric Schiller, who was trying to break up the fight.

In 1982, the Ugandan chess team forfeited their first-round match at the 1982 chess Olympiad in Lucerne, Switzerland because they showed up late. They accidently went to the wrong city, thinking the chess Olympiad was at Lugano, Switzerland instead of Lucerne, Switzerland. Lugano was the home of the 1968 chess Olympiad.

In 1983, Anna Akhsharumova was playing the final round of the Soviet Women’s Chess championship against her main competitor, Nana Ioseliani.  Anna won the game on time forfeit and should have won the title.  But the next day, Ioseliani filed a protest alleging a malfunction in the chess clock.  Ioseliani demanded a new game be played.  Anna refused to play, so the result of her game with Ioseliani was reversed by the All-Union Board of Referees in Moscow (the tournament itself was being played in Tallinn), thereby forfeiting her title.  Anna went from 1st place to 3rd place over this decision.

In 1984, GM Kamran Shirazi (1952- ) lost in 5 moves (1. e4 c5 2.b4 cxb4 3.a3 d5 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.axb4?? Qe5+ 0-1) to Jack Peters in the 1984 US Chess Championship. It is the shortest decisive game in the history of the U.S. Championship.

In 1986, David Straus became the first International Master to lose to a computer in tournament competition. He lost to a Fidelity computer at the U.S. Open in Somerset, New Jersey.

In 1986, at the New York Open, Pal Benko was playing Hungarian Grandmaster Gyula Sax in the final round.  If Benko won, he would have earned $12,000.  If Benko drew, he would only get $3,000.  Sax offered Benko a draw at a critical position.  Benko turned it down, blundered in time pressure, and lost.  He got nothing.

In 1986, the Israeli chess team was banned from the chess Olympiad held in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) because the UAE did not recognize Israel.

In 1987, Viktor Korchnoi was playing Anatoly Karpov in a tournament in Brussels. In a drawn position, Korchnoi accidently touched his king on his 48th move, which would have led to a loss of his knight and loss of the endgame. Instead of resigning normally, he took his hand and swept all the chess pieces off the chessboard and onto the floor before storming out.

In 1988, Bent Larsen became the first Grandmaster to lose to a computer in tournament competition.

In 1989, during the French championship, IM Gilles Andruet and IM Jean-Luc Seret got into a violent fight over an argument whether Andruet resigned before Seret checkmated him.  After the fight, Andruet needed 8 stitches and had to withdraw from the tournament, despite the fact that he was in the lead after 10 of 14 rounds.

In 1990, I had just beaten my opponent in the last round of the National Open. After he was checkmated (he would not resign after being a queen down), he threw a glass of ice water on my chess board and ran out of the playing hall.

In the 1990s, Soviet Grandmaster Semen Dvoirys (1958- ) threw his shoe across a tournament hall in the Netherlands after he lost a game.  He was known to beat his head on the floor with great force when he lost.

In 1992, Grandmaster and former world junior champion Pablo Zarnicki of Argentina was disqualified from a Dos Hermanas Internet Chess Club tournament, accused of cheating by using a computer, which he denied.

In 1992, Robert Bryan of England shot Matthew Hay over a chess game.  Bryan had ‘had enough’ after losing to Hay and was jailed for 10 years after admitting attempting to murder Mr. Hay by shooting him in the neck with a shotgun.

In 1994, at Linares, Spain, Garry Kasparov made a move against Judit Polgar, momentarily letting go of the piece (in violation of the “touch move” rule), then made a move to another square once he realized his original move was a blunder that would have lost the game. Kasparov went on to win the game. Judit Polgar waited a day before issuing her complaint instead of during the game. A videotape of the incident proved that Kasparov did let go of the piece.

In 1994, chess was banned in Afghanistan by Taliban edicts.  Anyone caught playing chess were beaten or imprisoned.  Chess was banned from 1994 through 2001.

In 1994, Martin Wirth, 37, of Fort Collins, Colorado, shot to death Vernie Cox, 24, on his birthday after the two argued over a chess game. Cox died of two gunshot wounds to the chest. Witnesses said that Wirth had lost a chess game with Cox, knocked over the chess board and some furniture, and then began to argue with his opponent. Wirth went across the street to his home and returned with a gun and shot Cox to death.

On February 10, 1996, Garry Kasparov lost a chess game against the computer Deep Blue for the first time in a regulation chess match. The match took place in Philadelphia. It was the first time a chess-playing computer had beaten a reigning world champion under classical time controls.

In March 1997, two teenagers got into a fight over a school chess game that one of the teenagers lost.  13-year-old John Slack was in critical condition, lapsed into a coma, and had to have brain surgery after being hit in the head.  His 15-year-old opponent, Joshua Simms, was arrested on an assault charge.

In September 1999, Laurence Douglas, 32, stabbed Craig Williams, 25, to death over a chess game in Poughkeepsie, New York. Williams beat Douglas in a chess game that had a $5 wager. Williams took a $5 bill from Douglas after the game and Douglas then stabbed Williams 16 times. Douglas was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Edward Gufeld (1936-2002) was known as a poor loser in chess. When he lost, he refused to shake hands and occasionally insulted his opponents with remarks like, "He plays like a first category player," or "I will not shake the hand of a friend of a traitor to the Motherland." Gufeld once played Tony Miles and lost after Miles opened the game with 1.e4 c6 2.d4 Na6. The next day, Gufeld saw Miles at breakfast. Gufeld said: "I hate you, my friend. You are destroying chess with your stupid ideas." Gufeld kept shouting for two hours and later he never said a polite word to Miles. When they met at the board again, there was no handshake.

In October 2000, GM Nigel Short, one of the world’s best speed chess players, lost 8 games in a row in the Internet Chess Club (ICC) chess site. Short was convinced it was Fischer. It looks like it was a strong chess computer instead.

In 2001, Christopher Newton, imprisoned for burglary, murdered his cellmate, Jason Brewer, 27, over a game of chess in a Ohio prison.  Brewer would resign his chess game against Newton every time a pawn was lost or the position looked bad.  Newton tried to tell him not to give up and play the game out, but Brewer refused.  After a month of playing chess and Brewer always resigning early without playing out the game, Newton finally had enough and strangled Brewer.  Newton was executed on May 24, 2007 by lethal injection on Ohio.  He was the first murderer executed for killing someone over a chess game.

In 2002, at the World Open in Philadelphia, a Russian player was caught going outside and getting advice from another player. His opponent followed the Russian player outside and caught him speaking in Russian to the same man intently watching the game. They had been discussing the last move of the game, which was heard by 30-40 onlookers. The Russian then said he would forfeit the game.

In 2003, Kasparov lost to Teimour Radjabov by storming away from the board and lost on time rather than resign in a clearly lost position.  He refused to shake hands or do a post game analysis.  Later, Radjabov was awarded the brilliancy prize, but Kasparov walked up on the stage, grabbed the microphone, and launched a 10-minute tirade at the journalists, saying the award was a public insult and humiliation because Radjabov was completely lost in the game.

In 2003, at the Lampertsheim Open, a player was caught with a handheld PC which displayed a running chess program. The player often left the tournament room for protracted periods of time to go to the bathroom. The tournament director caught him when he entered a neighboring stall, stood on the toilet bowl and looked over the dividing wall, where he observed the player using a stylus to operate the program. He forfeited all his games.

On June 21, 2003, Simon Andrews, 60, of Falls Township, Pennsylvania, stabbed to death Jerry Kowalski, 56, after Andrews had lost a game and Kowalski wouldn’t stop talking about it. Andrews then pulled a knife from under a sofa-bed mattress and stabbed Kowalski in the neck. Andrews was sentenced from 15 to 30 years in state prison.

On October 11, 2003, Ukrainian Grandmaster and former world chess champion Ruslan Ponomariov became the first grandmaster to lose a game of chess because his mobile phone rang. It was during round one of the 2003 European Chess Championship in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Ponomariov was playing the Black pieces against Swedish GM Evjenij Agrest. The rule of a chess game forfeit if a mobile phone rings during play had just been introduced. And who called? The president of FIDE was calling Ponomariov wishing him a happy 20th birthday. Ponomariov protested the loss and refused to sign the scoresheets indicating his loss.

In 2004, top seed Christine Castellano was playing in the Philippine Women’s National Chess Championship when her cell phone rang. She was disqualified from the event.

In 2004, Swedish GM Avjenij Agrest lost a game when his cell phone rang.

In 2005, at the HB Global Chess Challenge in Minneapolis, a player was caught receiving chess moves over his cell phone during his game. The rules were published that cell phones were prohibited. His games were forfeited.

In 2005, Zoltan Almasi became the first grandmaster to lose to a computer program in Chess960 format (random chess).

In 2006, at a New Delhi tournament, an Indian player was caught using a chess computer via a Bluetooth-enabled device which as sewn in his cap. He had a Bluetooth headset sewn into the cap which he typically pulled down over his ears. An accomplice had been communicating with him outside the playing location. He was relaying moves from a computer chess program. The player was banned from competitive chess in India for 10 years.

In July 2006, at the World Open in Philadelphia, two players were accused of cheating in chess by using computer assistance. One player was found to be using a wireless transmitter and receiver called “Phonito.” He had a wireless device in his ear, claiming it was a hearing aid. He was disqualified from the event. The other player, wearing a hat, was suspected of cheating. The tournament director wanted to search this person. The suspect agreed, but first ducked into a bathroom. Although no device was found, there were suspicions that he used the bathroom visit to dispose of a miniature wireless receiver that might have been hidden in the hat he wore.

In 2006, Vladimir Kramnik forfeited his 5th game in the world championship match with Veselin Topalov. Kramnik was protesting that he did not have a private bathroom as agreed. Topalov’s manager made a complaint that Kramnik was using the bathroom far too often during each game, implying that Kramnik was getting computer assistance. The tournament organizers decided to alleviate the complaint by opening a common bathroom. Kramnik arrived for the 5th game, but when he discovered his bathroom was locked, he refused to play.

Jan Nepomniachtchi (1990- ), a Russian grandmaster, was expelled from a chess school for throwing a shoe at his trainer.

Victor Korchnoi (1931- ) lost to Irina Krush in Gibraltar in 2007 and acted like a sore loser.  He left the playing area without saying anything, but then saw her analyzing the game with a friend.  He went up to Irina and insulted her, saying, “It’s good to know theory, but you should learn how to play chess as well.”

In 2007, a Dutch player was caught using PocketFritz on his PDA. The tournament director caught him when the player went outside to get some fresh air. His games were forfeited.

In 2007, two players got into an argument at the Village Chess Shop in New York during a chess game.  One player, who lost, picked up the wooden board and hit the other player in the mouth, which drew blood.  The police were called.  The player that was hit was pressing criminal charges and vowed to sue.

In December 2007, Anna Rudolf, a Hungarian Woman Grandmaster and International Master, was accused of cheating by some of the male players in the Vandoeuvre Open chess tournament in France. She was allegedly receiving transmissions of chess moves through her container of lip gloss. One of the male players even refused to shake hands with her in the final game and demanded that the arbiter take further actions against her. At the time, Rudolf was leading the tournament by ½ point. She was so shocked by the accusations that she lost the final round and ended up in 9rd place.

In January 2008, Zachary Lucov was playing chess with Dennis Klien in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, when a scuffle broke out after Lucov lost a game.  Luco pulled out a gun and Klein was shot in the elbow.  Lucov was arrested for aggravated assault and reckless endangerment.

In August 2008, a chess player in Malaysia lost a chess game because his phone rang due to a birthday reminder.

In 2008, at the Dubai Open, an Iranian player was caught receiving suggested moves by text message on his mobile phone. The game was being relayed live over the Internet and a friend was following it and guiding the player using a computer. The player was caught when he was looking into his mobile handset. When confronted, he immediately dropped his cell phone. On examining the handset, it was found that he had received SMS instructions in Farsi.

In 2008, Bulgarian GM Ivan Cheparinov lost to GM Nigel Short because he refused to shake hands. The arbiter declared the game as forfeited for Cheparinov, but the tournament committee allowed for the game to be played if the Bulgarian player apologized and shook Short’s hand at the start of the game, which he did.

In September 2008, GM Nigel Short lost a game of chess when his new Nokia cell phone rang, even though it was turned off. The incident occurred in the second round of the European Union Individual Open in Liverpool. The phone didn’t actually ring, but it beeped because it was low on battery power. His phone had a low battery and it beeped to remind its owner to charge it. Because of the beep, Short lost his game to Mrs. Ketevan Arakhamia-Grant from Scotland. The phone had been a gift from a sponsor at a recent chess tournament. Short was unaware that the cell phone beeped when it was low on battery power.

In October 2008, David Christian of Iowa City got in a fight with Michael Steward after losing a game of chess at the rooming house where they both lived. Christian choked Steward to death and was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter.

In December 2008, a man was so upset in losing a chess match, that he threw his opponent out the window.  It happened in Gloazov, Russian Republic of Udmurtia.  43-year-old Aleksey Valentikhin lost several games to a 60-year-old pensioner neighbor.  He got so mad that Aleksey threw his opponent from his second-floor window.  The pensioner broke several bones and later died.  Valentikham was sentenced to 6 years in prison.

In 2009 at a Chinese tournament, Wang Chen and Lu Shanglei both lost a game in which they played no moves, but agreed to a draw with each other. The chief arbiter declared both players to have lost the game.

In 2009, in a match between Bulgaria and England in the 2009 European Team Championship, the Bulgarian Grandmaster Alexander Delchev’s cell phone went off, leading to an immediate forfeit of the game to Stuart Conquest of England.

In 2009, at the Aeroflot Open, GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan, the top seed, lost quickly to Igor Kurnosov of Russia. After the game, Mamedyarov accused his opponent of cheating, saying that his opponent went to the bathroom after every move, taking his coat with him. Mamedyarov said he examined the game against the computer program Rybka, and that every move in the game matched the computer’s recommendations every time. Kurnosov’s pockets were searched, and the organizers only found cigarettes, a lighter and a pen in his pockets. After the protest, Mamedyarov withdrew from the tournament and Kurnosov was allowed to finish the tournament.

In 2009, a 14-year old chess player from Australia was caught cheating with a Playstation Portable with a chess program (Chessmaster). He was caught using the hand-held computer in the toilet cubicle by a deputy arbiter who followed him in the bathroom. Suspicions were first aroused when the player visited the bathroom 6 times in 20 moves. The player was in the under-1600 section of the Norths Chess Club Centenary Year Tournament.

In January 2009, a Bridgeport, Connecticut man stabbed his opponent with a plastic snow shovel after he had lost a chess game.

In February 2009, a man, Joseph Groom killed a friend with a sword after losing a chess game in Alameda, California. Groom retreated to his bedroom and returned with a sword, which he used to stab Kelly Kjersem once. Kjersem later died.

In September 2009, GM Vladislav Tkachiev fell asleep during a round 3 at an international tournament in Kolata, India. He was reportedly intoxicated and passed out repeatedly during the first hour of play. He was forced to forfeit his game after 11 moves. He had to be carried off. He lost to Indian master Praveen Kumar.

In 2010, a chess game between inmates at the Indian River County Jail in Florida led to a fight.  Christopher Brown had lost a chess game with another inmate in the cell block when Christopher O’Neal, who was watching the game, commented about the game on the other inmate’s behalf.  Brown told O’Neal to shut up, but O’Neal ignored him and continued to discuss the ongoing chess game.  The two then got into a fight.  It took several detention deputies to break up the flight.

At the 2010 chess Olympiad, the Yemeni team lost scored 0-4 after refusing to sit down across from the Israeli team.

In 2011, the French Chess Federation suspended two Grandmasters and one International Master, finding them “guilty of a violation of sporting ethics” for allegedly cheating during the 2010 Chess Olympiad in Khanty-Mansiysk. They may have been texting each other chess moves on their mobile phones.

In 2011, Grandmaster Eshan Ghaem Maghami was disqualified from a tournament in Corisca after he refused to play against his 4th round opponent, Israeli FIDE master Ehud Shachar.

In 2011, a FIDE master was caught using a chess program on his smartphone during the 2011 German Chess Championship. His games were forfeited.

On August 11, 2011, two people were stabbed at a Chuy’s Restaurant in Phoenix after police say a person got mad after losing a game of chess.  Officers at the scene said two people were playing a game, but when one person won the game the other person, a sore loser, got mad and stabbed the winner twice.  The victim’s friend jumped in and tried to help, but he was also stabbed.

In November 2011, Quinton Smith, age 17, was competing in the K-12 Nationals in Dallas. During the tournament, he climbed to the roof of the Hilton Anatole (27 stories) and jumped to his death. He laid on the ground for several hours while being attended by bystanders and police. He had lost his first four games.

In 2012, six players from Soviet Georgia were all forced to forfeit their games at the 13th European Individual championship. They failed to arrive at the boards on time after accidentally setting their clocks wrong for Daylight Savings Time.

In January 2014, an Italian man, Saverio Bellante, who had been living in a rented home in Dublin, killed his unlucky landlord over a game of chess.  He was arrested for the killing after stabbing his landlord, Tom O’Gorman, multiple times.  O’Gorman was a minister.  Bellante told police that they were fighting over a chess game.  Bellante was then asked by O’Gormon to leave the house following an argument over a lost chess game.  Instead, Bellante found a kitchen knife and stabbed O’Gormon, then beat him over the head with a dumbbell.  Bellante was also accused of eating the heart of his victim.

On January 23, 2014, Bill Gates got checkmated in a blitz chess game against world champion Magnus Carlsen after 79 seconds. It was a television exhibition that appeared in London, England. Paul Allen wrote that he had to stop playing chess with Bill Gates because Gates was such a bad loser, he would sweep the chess pieces to the floor in anger when he lost.

Bill Gates - Magnus Carlsen, London 2014, 1.e4 Nc6 2.Nf3 d5 3.Bd3 Nf6 4.exd5 Qxd5 5.Nc3 Qh5 6.O-O Bg4 7.h3 Ne5 8.hxg4 Nfxg4 9.Nxe5 Qh2# 0-1

In April 2014, inmate John Otha Dickens, Jr, age 24, lost a chess game against Antwuan Somerville in the day room of the St. Mary’s County Detention Center. Dickens, a sore loser, then became angry and struck Somerville with his fists. Dickens was charged with 2nd Degree Assault.

On March 6, 2015, a 10-year-old boy lost a game of chess at a school tournament in Dumont, New Jersey, walked to the school window and jumped to his death.

In July 2015, Craig Woolcock of Wales killed himself after he quit his job as a customer services official to concentrate on chess, but lost his final game and failed to qualify for the British chess championship. He suffered from mood swings.

In April 2015, GM Wesley So forfeited a chess game in round 9 of the U.S. Championship for taking notes and writing them on his score sheet. He forfeited his game to GM Varazhan Akobian for writing down motivational sayings on his score sheet and a separate piece of paper underneath his score sheet. He had written down the first 6 moves of the game when he was notified that he had to forfeit the game for violation of note taking. So thought that it only applied to his score sheet, and not a separate piece of paper. And what did his notes say? “Use your time, you have a lot of it.” “Sit down for the entire game. Never get up.” “Double check and triple check.” “Use your time.” Wesley was relying on motivational sentences that gave him energy. The relevant rules are:

8.1b The scoresheet shall be used only for recording the moves, the times of the clocks, offers of a draw, matters relating to a claim and other relevant data. 

11.3 During play the players are forbidden to use any notes, sources of information or advice, or analyse any game on another chessboard. (...) The rules of a competition may specify a different, less severe, penalty. 

11.5 It is forbidden to distract or annoy the opponent in any manner whatsoever.

11.7 Persistent refusal by a player to comply with the Laws of Chess shall be penalised by loss of the game.

On June 16, 2015, world champion Magnus Carlsen lost in the first round of a Norway chess tournament because he did not know the time control. Carlsen showed up late for the first round. He did not hear the reminder that the first time control was at the 40th move, and they would add one more hour to the clock plus 30 seconds of increment per move. However, Carlsen thought that after the 60th move they would also get more time. There was no more time after the 60th move and Carlsen lost. Carlsen was playing GM Veselin Topalov and had a totally won game, but lost on time after reaching the 60th move.

In 2016, London resident Massimo Fishti stabbed a man that was sharing an apartment with trough the heart after losing a game of chess.

In 2016, at the Baku Chess Olympiad, you could forfeit your game if you had carried a watch, pen, or telephone into the playing hall. One Japanese player was spotted with a mobile telephone and was immediately forfeited.

In Feb 2017, the world’s strongest woman player, Hou Yifan of China, lost a game in 5 moves in the final round of the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival. She was protesting the pairing in which she had to play 7 women of her 10 opponents during the tournament.

In 2017, Canadian GM Anton Kovalyov was forfeited for wearing shorts. It was at the 2017 FIDE World Cup. According to the organizers, his shorts were not in compliance with the dress code specified in the tournament rules. Kovalyov asked the chief organizer, GM Zurab Azmaiparashvili, why he could play in shorts, in which Zurab replied, “because you look like a gypsy.” Kovalyov forefeited the game after leaving the playing hall and the competition.

On May 31, 2018, Chinese Grandmaster Ding Liren (ranked #4 in the world) was involved in a bicycle accident in the early afternoon and broke his hip. He was riding with his father when the 25-year-old fell off his bicycle making a turn at high speed. He went into surgery at the Stavanger University Hospital and had to withdraw from the Altibox Norway Chess tournament after playing just three rounds and forfeited all his games.

Oh, and here are some excuses for losing at chess.

* Went outside for fresh air, forgot about tournament, kept on walking for an hour.
* Disturbed by own reflection in opponent’s sunglasses.
* Confused ECO A29 line 13 note 87c with ECO A13 line 87c, lost queen.
* Unlucky pairing with historical nemesis Magnus Carlsen.
* Studied book How to Beat Bobby Fischer, was unprepared for other opponents.
* Two words: opponent’s breath.
* Tried to avoid my opponents bad case of flatulence.
* Shouldn’t have agreed to play on my opponent’s green and red Florentine gothic chess set.
* Forgot to say “J’adoube” when I accidently touched my king.
* My opponent did not follow my plan.
* Distracted by my opponent’s time pressure.
* He shouldn’t have played on in a dead lost position.
* I thought it was a different time control, 40 moves in 5 hours.
* I didn’t know it was sudden death after 30 minutes.
* My opponent foolishly declined a draw.
* My opponent was sick and looked as if he had a contagious disease, so I thought it best not to take any of his pieces.
* My position deteriorated while I was in the toilet with diarrhea.
* I had a clear advantage, and then my opponent found this lucky checkmate.
* Every single one of my pieces was optimally placed; unfortunately, it was my turn to move.
* I was warned that a week earlier my opponent had beaten a GM - with an iron bar.
* I lost on time while trying to decide whether to accept his cheeky draw offer.
* It was stalemate, but then he played an illegal move, and I decided to play on because I thought I could mate him.
* Bishops can move backwards? Since when?
* Queens have crowns and there’s one in each corner, right?
* I’d always thought that en passant was just another word for castling.
* I wanted to see if the refutation of my sacrifice in the Jerome Gambit worked, and I was proved right.
* My perpetual check didn’t last very long.
* The position was dead level apart from the fact that she could win a piece by force.
* Everyone agreed I was winning, except my opponent.
* I ought to have been more suspicious when he kept rushing to the toilet with his mobile phone during the opening.
* She idiotically blundered away her queen without realizing that it was in fact a brilliant sacrifice.
* I played the French Defense without realizing that my opponent was a staunch Euro-sceptic.
* He played the Exchange Variation of the French Defense, which everybody knows is drawish, but he played it all wrong.
* I played Alekhine’s Defense, but placed too much faith in the principle of not moving the same piece twice in the opening.
* Thought I’d try the King’s Gambit, but became demoralized when I went a pawn down on move two.
* I played the Benko Gambit, but now regret my decision to castle queenside.
* He refused to use my “lucky” digital clock.
* My captain told me a draw was no good for the team, so I quickly resigned.
* It was a theoretical draw, but my opponent wasn’t smart enough to realize this.
* I would’ve won on time if he hadn’t have checkmated me.
* The table was on an downward slope, which meant that his pawn queened first.
* After the game I discovered that the chessboard we’d been using had an odd number of squares.
* I reached out my hand to offer him a draw, but in so doing knocked my king over with my arm, and the gesture was misinterpreted.
* My opponent wasn’t very bright, and afterwards it took me all of fifteen minutes to explain to him how and why he’d won.
* Forgot to stop the clocks when I went to look for the tournament director on what the next time control was.
* Afterwards he admitted that if it wasn’t for my two blunders he might not have won.
* He was extremely fortunate to win as earlier he had missed a mate in two.
* Cosmic rays.
* When I blame it on “dark forces,” I’m not just referring to the fact that he had the black pieces.
* After a great deal of thought I sacrificed a major piece, but next move I forgot why.
* I wanted to see what would happen if I fianchettoed a knight instead of a bishop.
* I make up all my own openings, y’know.
* His knight wasn’t pinned after all.
* It was a rook and pawn ending, but he had the rook.
* Played QxN instead of NxQ.
* I played all the right moves, although not necessarily in the right order.
* She was in complete zugzwang, but then she found a way out of it.
* My superior opening knowledge ran out when we reached the endgame.
* Apart from the result, I actually played quite well.
* He played a stupid gambit that just happened to work and I accepted it.
* When he said he was twenty-four-twenty-five I though he was talking about his age.
* My position kept getting better and better until finally I had to give up.
* They’ll have to rewrite the opening book traps after that game!
* He knew he was facing a superior player, so he raised his game accordingly.
* My opponent saw me going out for a cup of coffee and told me I had enough time left for a couple of sandwiches as well.
* I played a rook sacrifice, but he took my queen instead.
* My partially-sighted opponent insisted I wear a blindfold to even things up.
* I castled queenside, which was unlucky because ten moves later my opponent decided to attack down that very side.
* The set had a bishop missing, so we had to use a spare pawn in its place. Need I go on?
* Just bought Karpov’s book Learn From Your Defeats, and I was anxious to put it to good use.
* Sat down at board 16 in the top section instead of board 91 in the Reserve section.
* I was forced to play inferior moves in order to surprise him.
* My lying opponent assured me that a draw would mean we would share first prize.
* When I saw the letters IM on the scoreboard I assumed they were his initials.
* I would’ve won the endgame if we’d got that far.
* He reached the middlegame before I did.
* I got my king stuck in my eye when I dozed off.
* My opponent poisoned a pawn while I was on a bathroom break. I took it.
* He played the opening moves in the wrong order.
* I was saving myself for a better opponent.
* His knight just jumped over my impregnable pawn formation.
* Played a brilliant sacrificial attack including my queen, both bishops, a knight, and four pawns, only to realize that the checkmate-delivering rook was pinned to my king.
* Alzheimer’s disease kicked in.
* She wasn’t wearing a bra. Couldn’t concentrate.
* Still despondent over Fischer’s death in 2008.
* After making a move, accidently punched my opponent instead of the clock.
* Brought in my mobile phone on my birthday. Forgot to turn it off.
* I was playing the “Swiss Gambit” in too many rounds.
* Didn’t think he knew the opening if I played 1.g4 e5 2.f3.
* I had tickets to a Madonna concert.
* Didn’t know we were playing “touch move.”
* Shouldn’t have taken that colonoscopy medicine just before the tournament.
* Got into an endgame. Forgot what color I was. I queened his pawn first.
* Dead batteries in hidden transmitter.
* With his earpiece, I thought he was listening to music. Thought Komodo was a Japanese band.

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