Chess Trivia

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O'Kelly de Galway, Alberic (1911-1980)
In 1962 he became the first grandmaster of over-the-board and correspondence chess. He won the third World Correspondence Championship (1959-62).

Olafsson, Fridrik (1935- )
Iceland's first Grandmaster and former FIDE president (1978-82). He is the Secretary General of the Icelandic Parliament. In 1955 he arrived late to participate in the annual Hastings tournament in England. No rooms could be found for him so he spent his first night in a cell at the Hastings police station as a guest to the local police.

Oldest Recorded Game
The oldest recorded game in existence comes from a 10th century manuscript. The oldest game recorded in the modern style is between Francisco de Castelliz and Narcisi Vinoles in the 15th century.

The first official Olympiad began in London in 1927. Prior to that, an Olympiad was held in Budapest in 1926 with the rules that only amateurs could participate. Only four teams showed up: Hungary, Yugoslavia, Romania, and Germany. The first Women's Olympiad was held in 1957. The first U.S. win over the USSR was in 1984 at Thessaloniki, Greece.

At the 1976 Olympiad in Buenos Aires, a member of a Middle East team trid to buy one of the girls working at the site for $1 million. The offer was not taken up.

The oldest player to participate in an Olympiad is Gudju, at age 90 at the 1984 Olympiad in Thessaloniki. He is the sole survivor of the group that formed FIDE and played in the 1924 Paris Olympiad.

The youngest participant of the Olympiad was 10 year-old Heidi Cueller of Guatemala, who played on their women's team in 1986 in Dubai. 11 year-old Schermann of the Virgin Islands played at Siegen in 1970. In 1982 12 year-old Kien Tjing-Joe played for Surinam.

The US is the only country to defeat the USSR twice in the Chess Olympiad. In 1992 when the Soviet Union broke up, instead of one team, 12 of the 102 teams were from the previous Soviet Union. None of these countries finished with a minus score and three of the countries from the former Soviet Union took the Gold, Silver, and Bronze.

The first woman to play on a man's team was Mary Gilchrist who played for Scotland in the 1937 Olympiad. In 1950 Madame Chade de Silans played for France.

Openings, Number of Possible
There are 400 different possible positions after one move each. There are 72,084 different possible positions after two moves each. There are over 9 million different possible positions after three moves each. There are over 288 billion different possible positions after four moves each. The number of distinct 40-move games is far greater than the number of electrons in the observable universe.

Orangutan Opening
This opening (1. b4), also known as Sokolsky's Opening, got its name during the New York 1924 tournament, when grandmaster Tartakover visited the Central Park Zoo, encountering Suzan the orangutan. The next day Tartakover played 1. b4 against Maroczy.

The World Chess Oscar was founded in December 1967 by Jordi Puig for chess journalists to select the outstanding player of the year.

Oxford University Chess Club
Oldest university chess club in Britain.

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Copyright © 2001 David Hayes  All rights reserved.