The five weirdest chess masters
With The Simultaneous Chess Exhibition being hosted by Todd Bardwick in the Colorado Mills Mall this weekend, we've been thinking a lot about the weirdness that is chess dorks. While not exactly worthy of the cover of People, these often reclusive weirdos have been involved in their fair share of strangeness over the years. We tallied up our top five favorites.
5. Aron Nimzowitsch
Nimzowitsch was a weird one on a few different levels. He once yelled "How could I lose to this idiot?!" at an opponent during a tournament, just for starters. He was once ordered by his doctor to get more exercise and decided to take the advice by working out between and sometimes during matches. What's weirder, perhaps, is the fact he earnestly believed the chefs at restaurants gave him less food than anyone else at the table. We've heard the old joke before from goofy uncles, but he actually, rather seriously, thought his plate was less full.
4. Alexander Alekhine
Alexander Alekhine is one of the most celebrated and famous chess masters, which might have been the reason he reportedly pissed himself during games pretty often. We'd like to note one thing here: if we were playing chess with someone and they pissed all over the floor, we'd probably lose too. Perhaps that was his ultimate strategy? It's probably also clear he happened to play most of his games drunk, which has led some to argue that his genius was stifled by his alcoholism. We still think he only won the games because his opponents couldn't handle the smell of urine, though -- a theory we might try out at simultaneous chess this weekend.
3. Carlos Torre
Carlos Torre was three things: a chess grandmaster, a nudist and a lover of pineapple sundaes. The rumor is he would eat up to ten pineapple sundaes a day -- and as for the nudist thing, he was arrested for running nude and for taking his clothes off on a bus. Perhaps he was the first (and possibly last) to ever play "strip chess."
Wilhelm Steinitz, who was the first undisputed world chess champion, was also crazy as a loon. In his later years, he claimed he could telephone anyone in the world without using a wire -- not too much of a stretch now, but this was in the 19th century. As the stories go, he would walk around his yard having imaginary conversations with people, including once when he supposedly phoned God to challenge him to a chess match. He eventually died in an insane asylum. He did happen to have the best beard in chess, though.
1. Bobby Fischer
Where do we even start with Fischer? Perhaps we should mention the fact he was anti-Semitic from the get-go, but over the years he became increasingly anti-American as well. After retiring from chess he once denied the Holocaust and claimed bringing that "fact" to light was his new life goal. That wasn't really enough for him though; the crazy bastard went on a foreign talk radio after 9/11 and stated, "what goes around comes around for the United States," after which he publically called for the death of President Bush.