Category Archives: Cool Stuff

Crazy Story… The Chess Prodigy Who Renounced Chess

In recent years, chess has become a pretty high-stakes game, politically, ideologically, and monetarily. However, that hasn’t always been the case. In fact, the first unofficial world champion would be appalled by the giant prizes dangled in front of modern competitors. Paul Morphy (pictured left) abhorred the taint of professionalism, once writing to a rival, “Permit me to repeat that I am not a professional player; that I never wished to make any skill I possess the means of pecuniary advancement, and that my earnest wish is never to play for any sake but honor.”

However, Morphy’s superhuman powers on the chessboard astounded his contemporaries. Born in New Orleans in 1837, Paul was a child prodigy who was beating his father and uncle by age 10. He’d never consulted a chess book, yet he was handling the pieces with an intuitively precise grasp of strategy and tactics. At age 13, he shocked the chess world by defeating the Hungarian master Johann Lowenthal (pictured right). It then became Morphy’s great ambition to defeat the best masters in the US and Europe.

After earning his law degree in 1857, Morphy set out on his insane quest. Howard Staunton, Britain’s star player, avoided him and was accused of cowardice. In Paris, Morphy played eight opponents simultaneously, neither eating nor drinking for 10 hours until all succumbed to his brilliance. Oh, and did we mention that he was blindfolded? (The moves were called out so he could visualize them.)

But in his tours of European chess circles, the idealistic Morphy was disgusted at how the game was being made into a business. While Morphy loved chess itself, he was repelled by this practice. He was further alienated from the game when he saw how it took him away from more important things, particularly his law career. However, people were more interested in Morphy the chess player than Morphy the lawyer, and his practiced folded after a few months. Adding insult to injury, a girl he was courting rejected the idea of marrying a “mere chess player.”

Frustrated, Morphy simply gave up on the game. He was reluctant to even play privately, and he never again dazzled the world with his power. Many tried to cajole him out of his aversion to the game. Once, a financially desperate Morphy approached an old friend to borrow $200. The friend said he would make it $250 if Morphy played a game with him. Grudgingly, Morphy agreed, but he showed his distaste by deliberately losing. Afterward, he left without bothering to collect his money.

On another occasion, Morphy was informed that the self-proclaimed world champion, Wilhelm Steinitz, was in New Orleans and wanted to see him. Morphy reluctantly agreed to a meeting on the condition that chess must not even be alluded to. After an embarrassing 10 minutes with nothing to discuss, Morphy and Steinitz parted ways.

Do not fear.. there is much more to discuss and do at Chess Plus Summer Camp afternoon session than chess related activities!

In his later life, Morphy began showing signs of insanity. He suspected his brother-in-law of trying to poison him and refused to eat unless the food was prepared by his mother or sister. Morphy believed barbers were planning to slit his throat. He haunted Canal Street in New Orleans, muttering and smiling to himself, all while swinging his cane at anyone who approached him. He also stalked attractive women around town for hours.

Morphy’s relatives tried to commit him to an asylum, but he defended his sanity with clever expositions on his civil liberties, thus convincing officials to let him go. Sadly, Paul Morphy, the “Pride and Sorrow of Chess,” died in his home on July 10, 1884.

Article From – listverse.com

Will we find a chess prodigy that embraces their gift at Chess Plus Summer Camp?

Carlsen, Giri Battle Racism With Game Where Black Moves 1st

Top grandmasters Magnus Carlsen of Norway and Anish Giri of the Netherlands today joined forces in a video posted on Carlsen’s Twitter account as part of a United Nations campaign against racism. For once, they broke the rule in chess that White begins.

It all started on Tuesday evening with a slightly mysterious tweet and Facebook post from Carlsen. The world’s number-one chess player appears together with world number-four Giri, in front of a dark background that some insiders might have recognized as The Good Knight chess pub in Oslo, where the video was recorded on Tuesday.

Carlsen: “We broke a rule in chess today.”
Giri: “To change minds tomorrow.”

See Full Article Here @ https://www.chess.com/news/view/moveforequality-carlsen-giri-battle-against-racism

 

8-year-old homeless Nigerian refugee crowned chess champion in New York

An 8-year-old Nigerian refugee was just crowned a chess champion in New York’s statewide competition.

Tanitoluwa Adewumi, who lives in a Manhattan homeless shelter with his family, won the kindergartener through third grade category in New York’s chess championship last weekend with an undefeated performance, according to New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.

Tanitoluwa, known as “Tani,” learned to play chess just one year ago, and now tells the Times that he wants to be “the youngest grandmaster.”

The Adewumis, including Tani, his parents and older brother, reportedly arrived in New York after fleeing Nigeria in 2017 due to fear of terror attacks from the group Boko Haram.

Tani learned chess with his classmates at New York’s P.S. 116, and joined the school’s chess club. The club’s organizer waived the fees for Tani because of his family’s financial situation. Though he started out as the lowest-rated member of the club, he quickly improved and is now bringing his school statewide recognition, according to the newspaper.

P.S. 116’s principal, Jane Hsu, told the Times that Tani’s win is “an inspiring example of how life’s challenges do not define a person,” and credited the third-grader’s supportive parents despite being homeless.

The Adewumis have applied for asylum, and are reportedly set for an immigration hearing in August. The hearing will take place just three months after Tani competes at the elementary national chess championship.

“I feel American,” Tani told the Times.

He would fit nicely in our Chess Plus Summer Camps.