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 Chess Trivia
By William Hyde Chess Trivia #1 - The Answers

(1) For a time in the 1880s Emanuel and Berthold Lasker were
never at the chess cafe (where they earned a substantial
part of their money) at the same time. This was because:

(a) They hated one another.

(b) They had only one decent pair of pants between them.

(c) As a medical student Berthold went to classes in
the daytime.

(d) The club director said that "Two Laskers is a Lasker
too many".

(e) All of the above

Answer: b, source Harnack’s bio of Lasker

(2) Botvinnik once said that he envied Vidmar’s

(a) Height

(b) Living outside of the USSR

(c) Engineering skill

(d) Endgame skill

(e) Command of English

Answer: c

(3) Which of the following were active chess players?

(a) Stanley Kubrick

(b) William Windom

(c) Humphrey Bogart

(d) Alan Turing

(e) All of the above

Answer: e. Source, (a) and (c) from Chess Life,
(b) I saw at a chess lecture, (d) from Andrew Hodges’
biography of Turing.

(4) Several chess masters participated in the decoding
of the German "Enigma" machines in World War Two. Two
of them were:

(a) Max Euwe and Ruben Fine

(b) C.H. O’D Alexander and Harry Golombek

(c) William Winter and Ruben Fine

(d) Charles Kalme and F. D. Yates

(e) Sir George Thomas and R.H.V. Scott

Answer (b) from Hodges as well.

(5) When Efim Bogoluybov arrived at his hotel for the
Nottingham 1936 event he was asked what his room reservation
was. He is said to have replied:

(a) 204

(b) I need no reservation, I am Bogolyubov!

(c) What is a reservation?

(d) Beer.

(e) P-K4

Answer (d)

(6) In the early 1950s Spassky swore there was one thing
he would never again do after losing a chess game. It
was to:

(a) cry

(b) call his opponent a @)*#&)@#^^%^++&

(c) get drunk

(d) lose a night’s sleep

(e) play for a risky attack in the next game

Answer (a) from Chess Life 1970 and other sources.

(7) Chess was not Keres’ only skill. He was also an

(a) Mathematician

(b) Poker player

(c) Auto mechanic

(d) Engineer

(e) Woodworker

Answer (c) according to Tal

(8) The nation with the largest number of native-born GMs per
capita is

(a) Russia

(b) Armenia

(c) England

(d) Iceland

(e) Monaco

Answer (d)

(9) Only one player has held both the Soviet and united
German championships. This was:

(a) Yusupov

(b) Karpov

(c) Khalifman

(d) Gulko

(e) Bogolyubov

Answer (e)

(10) Only one player has held both the Soviet and US
championships. This was:

(a) Bogolyubov

(b) Yermolinski

(c) Gulko

(d) Dzindzihashvilli

(e) Alburt

Answer (c)

(11) Norwegian GM Simen Agdestein is a professional football
(soccer) player. What other strong chess player was
internationally ranked in a sport?

(a) Capablanca

(b) Sir George Thomas

(c) Sultan Kahn

(d) Edward Lasker

(e) none of the above

Answer (b) - Sir George Thomas at lawn tennis/badminton

(12) According to legend, J.H. Blackburne once won

(a) Threatening violence

(b) "Checking" an opponent with his own bishop

(c) Stealing his opponent’s drink

(d) all of the above

(e) both (b) and (c)

Answer (e) various sources

(13) According to Edward Lasker, Master Schottlander
once said to his wife:

(a) Let them eat cake

(b) Honi soit qui mal y pense

(c) We have nothing to fear but fear itself

(d) Steinitz is a patzer

(e) If one of us dies I think I’ll move to Berlin

Answer (e)

(14) At the turn of the century, GM Kurt von Bardeleben
used to support himself largely by

(a) Prizes in tournaments

(b) Simultaneous exhibitions

(c) Journalism

(d) Frequent marriages

(e) Giving private chess lessons

Answer (d) Again from Edward Lasker.

(15) After about 40 years as a professional chessplayer
Blackburne estimated that he had played how many games?

(a) 2,500

(b) 5,000

(c) 50,000

(d) 100,000

(e) Blackburne didn’t play for 40 years

Answer (c)

(16) Tartakower once said that the source of his inspiration
for the move 1.b4, played against Maroczy at New York, 1924 was:

(a) a dream

(b) something he had seen in a Dutch chess magazine

(c) A conversation with a primate at the zoo

(d) He meant to play c4 and touched the wrong pawn

(e) Tartakower never played 1.b4

Answer (c) (Hence the name “Orangutan Opening.” An old story but fun.)

(17) Who was known as the "Little Capablanca"?

(a) Jose Capablanca, Jr.

(b) Alexander Alekhine

(c) Carlos Torre

(d) Isaac Kashdan

(e) Ruben Fine

Answer (d). Many seem to think (e). Kashdan is rather
unfairly neglected.

(18) Many great players have been amateurs, making
their living as artists, writers, scientists or
lawyers. Which of the following was both a master level
chess player and a politician?

(a) Lord Randolph Churchill

(b) Ernst Falkbeer

(c) Pierre Charles Fournier de Saint-Amant

(d) Marmaduke Wyvill

(e) Al Gore

Answer (d) (Though Al Gore invented chess.) St-Amant was
a diplomat.

(19) Fischer’s 6-0 scores vs Taimanov and Larsen are
famous. Two other world champions also won non-title
matches with clean scores against reputable opponents.
The champions were

(a) Tal and Kasparov

(b) Capablanca and Steinitz

(c) Tal and Alekhine

(d) Lasker and Smyslov

(e) Karpov and Korchnoi

Answer (b) Capablanca vs Kostic, Steinitz vs Blackburne

(20) John Grefe attributed his surprising win of the
U. S. championship to

(a) Meditating on the thoughts of the guru Mahara Ji

(b) Intensive openings analysis

(c) luck

(d) an improvement in his endgames

(e) Other players didn’t take him seriously until too late

Answer (a)

(21) In US Championship play, Walter Browne was known
for complaining about

(a) the lighting

(b) the lighting

(c) the lighting

(d) the lighting

(e) all of the above

Answer (any)

(22) Bobby Fischer won the US championship

(a) Six times

(b) Seven times

(c) every time he played

(d) every time he played except his first try at age 14

(e) ten times

Answer (c)

(23) Who was the first American to be the official world champion?

(a) Bobby Fischer

(b) Jose Capablanca

(c) Harry Nelson Pillsbury

(d) Wilhelm Steinitz

(e) Emanuel Lasker

Answer (d)

(24) Who was the first Soviet champion?

(a) Botvinnik

(b) Alekhine

(c) Bogolyubov

(d) Romanovsky

(e) Levenfish

Answer (b)

(25) Which of the following players has won the most
interzonal tournaments?

(a) Fischer

(b) Bronstein

(c) Larsen

(d) Korchnoi

(e) Spassky

Answer (c) Larsen. Tal also won three.

See related articles:

  • Genius or Joker? Chess Trivia #1 (1/21/2000)
  • Chess Lore! Trivia Challenge #2 (with answers) (2/25/2000)
  • Chess Lore! Trivia Challenge #2 (3/13/2000)
  • Meet the Masters! Trivia Challenge #3 (with answers) (5/3/2000)
  • Meet the Masters! Trivia Challenge #3 (4/29/2000)
  • Meet the Masters! Trivia Challenge #4 (8/4/2000)
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