Chess Trivia

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Labourdonnais-MacDonnell match
Played 85 games, the largest number of games ever played successively in match conditions. Neither knew a word of the other's language. Labourdonnais spent his time spitting, cursing, singing, and laughing. MacDonnell spent up to an hour and a half to make a single move.

Lane Hickey, Lisa (1938- )
Former U.S. women's champion (1959-62, 1966). She played 4 games in the Hastings Reserve tournament in 1961-62, then withdrew after one draw, two losses, and an adjourned game. She said she could not concentrate because she was "homesick and in love." In 1960 she appeared on "What's My Line" and on the cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED. In 1964 she opened up her own chess club, Queen Pawn, in New York.

Lange, Max (1832-1899)
Inventer of the helpmate in 1865 and the Max Lange Attack.

Lanni, Diana
One of the top ten women chess players in the US. She ran away from home to escape domestic turmoil, worked as a topless dancer and a prostitute. She entered a women's tournament in Michigan and won. She was a drug addict and suicidal and wound up in Bellevue Hospital in New York. In 1980 she walked out of the hospital and ended up at the Chess Center in New York where she found a room and a job. Since then, she has spent most her time playing chess. She was rated 2027 in the 1992 USCF Annaul Ratings List.

Larsen, Bent (1935- )
Danish Grandmaster who now lives in Buenos Aires. In 1956 he played first board of the Danish team at the chess Olympiad in Moscow. He played so well that FIDE awarded him the title of Grandmaster without him being an International Master first. In 1966 when Larsen beat Geller in a match, it was the first time in a match that a Soviet Grandmaster had ever lost to a foreigner. Bent Larsen was the first GM to lose to a computer in a tournament competition, 1988. To supplement his income, he translates detectice stories into Danish. In 1953 Larsen labored all night on an adjourned game to find a winning line. Then he tried to get a few hours sleep. He lost the game because he had overslept and failed to appear on time.

Lasa, Baron Tassilo von Heydebrand und der (1818-1899)
Considered the top 2 or 3 in the world from 1845-1855. He never played in a tournament or formal match, but in offhand games he beat the world's best players, including Staunton, Anderssen, and Lowenthal. He published the Handbuch des Schachspiels in 1843, the first complete review of openings in anylanguage. He was a Prussian diplomat and ambassador.

Lasker, Edward (1885-1981)
Became an International Master at the age of 75. Edward Lasker won the championship of Paris in 1912, the London championship in 1914, the New York City championship in 1915, and the championship of Chicago in 1916. Edward Lasker had degrees in mechanical and electrical engineering. He invented and patented a breast pump to secure mother's milk. At the age of 90 he played in a telex match between New York and London. He was a seventh cousin to Emanuel Lasker.

Lasker, Emanuel (1868-1941)
Lasker took first place at Breslau in 1889 by accident. Another competitor, needing a draw or win for first place, had a won adjourned game. After adjournment he lost. It was later discovered that one of his pawns was knocked off the board between sealing and resumption of the game, which would have given him the winning advantage. As a result Lasker, who was considering giving up chess, won the event and the title of national master. Five years later he was world champion. He once tried to breed pigeons for poultry shows. He tried for many months and failed. He learned later that all the pigeons were male. Between 1901 and 1914 he played in only three tournaments. In 1908 he married at the age of 48 and became husband, father, and grandfather all at once. His wife, a few years older than he, was already a grandmother. He tried to have the tournament rules changes for the older player at the international level. He proposed that play should be stopped after 2 hours for a half hour adjournment. His theory was that gentle exercises or turning to other thoughts for awhile would reinvigorate the older brain. During World War I he invested his life savings in German war bonds and lost it all. He wrote a book declaring that Germany had to win World War I if civilization was to be saved. His Ph.D. dissertation of 1902 on ideal numbers became a cornerstone of 20th century algebra. He believed that one of his opponents, Tarrasch, had hypnotic powers and wanted to play him in a separate room. Lasker's older brother, Berthold, won the New York State chess championship in 1902.

Last Place
The first time the last place finisher defeated the reigning world champion in the same event occurred in Hanover in 1983 when Wolfram Hartman defeated Karpov. Karpov suffered the same fate to last place finisher Torre in London 1984.

Laucks, Forry (1897-1965)
Founder and patron of the Log Cabin Chess Club. He collapsed and died after the 6th round of the U.S. Open in San Juan.

Leary, Timothy
Used chess sets as visual props for preparing classes at Harvard to receive the impact of LSD. He said, "Life is a chess game of experiences we play."

Lee, Edward
At 14 he has defeated 7 grandmasters in simultaneous exhibitions: Karpov, Korchnoi, Nunn, Speelman, Ftacnik, Kochiev, and Kupreichik. He has also drawn against Korchnoi and Hort in two other exhibitions.

Leko, Peter (1980- )
Hungarian player who became the youngest International Master in the world at age 12.

Lemachko, Tatjana (1948- )
Female chess master who defected from the Bulgarian team on the eve of the last round of the Lucerne Chess Olympiad in 1982. She was one of the eight finalists for the women's world championship for 1983.

Lendl, Ivan
Tennis super-star and chessplayer. His father, Jiri, was a Czech junior chess champion.

Lenin, Vladimir
An avid chessplayer who used "Karpov" as one of his pseudonyms during his exile.

Levanto, Galwan de
Physician to Pope Boniface VIII. In 1293 he ascribed the invention of chess to a philosopher named Justus for the reformation of a Persian tyrant named Juvenilis.

Levitina, Irina (1954- )
She was the 3-time USSR Women's Champion who was not allowed to play in the 1979 Women's Interzonal in Buenos Aires and for the World Women's Championship because her brother emigrated (legally) to Israel.

Levy, David (1945- )
British International Master who, in 1968, made a $2,500 wager that no computer could beat him by August 1978. He won his bet from Don Michie, John McCarthy, Seymour Pappert, and Ed Kozdrowicki.

Les Eschez Amoureax
An anonymous French poem of over 30,000 lines written in 1360. It describes the author's imaginary adventures in the Garden of Pleasure. He meets and plays a game of chess with a lady who is as skillful at the game as she is beautiful.

Lewis chessmen
Oldest known chess pieces in existence, carved from walrus ivory. Seventy-eight pieces were found in a stone chamber in a sand bank on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis in 1831. They date back to 1150-1170. The pieces were discovered by a peasant who found a mysterious stone building buried under several feet of sand. The pieces reside in the British Museum and the National Museum in Edinburgh. The most striking piece is the rook, which is the form of a capatain afoot, rather than a castle.

Lewis, Lennox
WBC Heavyweight Boxing Champion who plays chess every day while in training.

Libya
Site of the unofficial chess olympics in 1976 in protest to the main chess olympiad in Haifa, Israel. There were 37 entrants. It was won by El Salvador. Each team had its own car and driver and each team member received $8 a day. Forty-eight nations sent their team to Haifa. Italy had a team in both olympics. Their FIDE delegate proposed that the U.S. be barred from holding FIDE events and participating in FIDE meetings because the U.S. failed to grant a visa for a Libyian delegate.

Linares, Spain
Site of the first category 17 tournament ever, with an average rating of 2658, in 1991. The event was won by Ivanchuk. This was the first tournament since 1981 that Kasparov failed to at least tie for first.

Literature
The world's first periodical devoted solely to chess literature was the Chess Reader in 1955.

Liverpool Mercury
The first English newspaper to publish a chess column. The column first appeared on July 9, 1813 and ended on August 20, 1814.

Living chess
The first living chess played with people taking part of chessmen is demonstrated in the court of Charles Martel, Frankish ruler of Austrasia in 735.

Lombardy, Bill (1937- )
The first American to win an official world chess championship when he won the World Junior Championship in 1957 with a perfect 11-0 score. He was ordained a priest in 1967 by Cardinal Spellman.

London 1851
First international chess tournament ever held. The tournament was held in conjunction with the Great Exhibition of Art and Industry of 1851. Howard Staunton and the St. George's Club were the organizers. Anderssen won a silver cup and 183 pounds. He owed 1/3 of his winnings to Szen after a private agreement that if either were to gain first prize, he would share it with the other.

London 1927
The first of the series of international team competitions known as the Chess Olympiads. Sixteen countries participated, won by Hungary.

Longest Games
The longest chess game is 269 moves (I. Nikolic - Arsovic, Belgrade 1989) which ended in a draw. The longest won game for White is 193 moves (Stepak - Mashian, Israeli Championship 1980). The longest won game for Black is 161 moves (Duras - Janowski, San Sebastion 1911).

Losers
The worst loss by a player was Macleod of Canada who lost 31 games in the New York double-round robin of 1889. Col. Moreau lost all 26 games at the Monte Carlo tournament in 1903.

Loshinsky, Lev (1913-1976)
Considered the greatest of all problem composers. He won over 70 first place prizes in problem composing contests.

Lowenthal, Johann (1810-1876)
Considered the best opening theorist of his day. Inventor of the demonstration board in 1857.

Loyd, Sam (1841-1911)
The most famous American chess composer. He modified an Eastern board game and popularized it as Parcheesi. He was known as "The Puzzle King." He served as president of the New York Chess Club and organized the first international tournament on American soil. He composed about 3,000 chess problems.

Lucena, Luis
Author of the oldest existing printed book on chess, REPETICION DE AMORES Y ARTE DE AXEDRES published in 1497. Only 8 copies are known to exist.

Lucerne
Sight of the 1982 chess olympiad in Switzerland. The Ugandan team went by mistake to Lugano, Switzerland (home of the 1968 Olympiad).




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Copyright © 2001 David Hayes  All rights reserved.
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