Chess Trivia

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Pachman, Ludek (1924- )
Grandmaster who was imprisoned in Czechoslovakia after openly protesting the Soviet occupation of his land in 1968. He was beaten and suffered a broken skull and backbone.

Paine, Thomas (1737-1809)
American Revolutionist saved by a game of chess. Paine was arrested for favoring the exile, rather than the execution, of King Louis XVI and about to be guillotined in Paris in 1794. His wife went to a cafe frequented by Robespiere and defeated him in a game of chess. Robespiere challenged her again and promised to grant any wish she made if she defeated him again. She again won and got her husband's life spared. Tom Paine wrote 'The Rights of Man' and 'Common Sense.'

The first painting with a chess theme was a painting by a Venetian artist in 1490, called, The Chess Players.

Palace of Young Pioneers
Soviet children's sports school which has a chess club, found in every Soviet city. Tigran Petrosian got his early training at the Tbilisi Palace, Smyslov at the Moscow Palace, Polugaevsky at the Kuibyshev Palace, Karpov at the Zlatoust Palace, and Kasparov at the Baku Palace. Over 5 million children take part in these Pioneer Chess Clubs.

Palamede, Le
The first magazine devoted entirely to chess, founded by La Bourdonnais in 1836. The periodical was named after Palamades, an ancient Greek who was believed to have made many inventions, including chess.

Palciauskas, Victor (1941- )
Winner of the 10th World Correspondence Championship (1984). He has a PhD in Theoretical Physics and is a professor of geophysics.

Pan-Am Intercollegiate
America's oldest team-on-team competition, begun in 1946.

Paris 1924
First world team competition, held in conjunction of the Olympic games. Fifty-four participants came from all over the world. The individual winner was Mattison of Latvia. The team winner was Czechoslovakia. The two representatives from Russia were refugees living in Paris. Canada and Ireland were each represented by one player only.

Weak chess player. From the German verb patzen, to make a mess of.

The new pawn move, advancing two squares on its first move instead of one, was first introduced in Spain in 1280. Starting a game by making two pawn moves before the opponent moved was common in Germany and Holland up to the 16th century, and still common in Germany in the late 19th century. In parts of Asia, pawns have started on the 3rd rank instead of the 2nd. Pawns capture straight ahead in Chinese and Japanese chess. Up until 1903 a pawn, upon reaching the 8th rank, may remain a pawn. A related law stated that promotion could only be a piece that had been captured. If no piece had been captured, the pawn remained a pawn until a capture was made. Steinitz was the leading advocate of this dummy pawn law.

Pawn Promotion
In the 15th century, promotion to allow more than one queen was considered improper because it symbolized adultry. In Spain and Italy in the 17th century, the Pawn could only be promoted to the rank of Queen. In France and Germany, promotion was limited to any piece which had been lost. In some countries a player could promote a pawn to an enemy piece so as to force stalemate. The current law in pawn promotion was established in 1851 at the first international tournament in 1851. As late as the 1870's you could promote a pawn and declare it a "dummy" with no powers.

The most popular PBS TV show aired was the 1972 Fischer-Spassky chess match.

Pearl of Zandvoort
The name given to the 26th game of the World Championship match between Euwe and Alekhine in 1935. The game was played at Zandvoort in Holland.

Penquite, John
Highest rated USCF correspondence player with a rating of 2939, winning 58 straight correspondence games.

Penrose, Jonathan (1933- )
English International Master who has won the British chess championship a record 10 times (1958-63 and 1966-69). He is one of the top correspondence chess players in the world. He has a doctorate in psychology and his father was a distinguished geneticist. In 1970 he collapsed at the Siegen Olympiad from nervous tension. He turned to correspondence chess after that. He won the British Junior Ch and London Championship in 1949 at age 15.

A romance written by Chrestien de Troyes. The hero, Gauvain, is discovered in the company of a lady. He uses a chessboard as a shield and the lady throws the chess pieces at the intruders as they make their escape.

Perfect Scores
Miss E. Tramner scored a perfect 11-0 score in the 1949 British Ladies' Championship. Mrs. R. Bruce score 8-0 in the 1951 British Ladies' Championship.

Perlis, Julius(1880-1913)
Polish-born Austrian lawyer and player of Grandmaster strength. He died of exposure in an Alpine mountaineering accident.

In 638 Persia was conquested by Islam under Caliph Omar. This is considered the most important development in the history of chess, as the game is spread throughout the rest of the world.

Petroff, Alexander (1794-1867)
The first strong player Russia produced. He was Russia's first master, theoretician, chess writer and chess composer.

Petrosian, Tigran (1929-1984)
Former world champion. Between 1968 and 1975 he never lost more than a single game in any tournament. He drew more than half his total games of chess, a higher fraction than any other World Champion. He received less than $2,000 for winning the world chess championship in 1966. In 1972 at the Skopje Olympiad he lost a game on time to Hubner, his first loss on time in his whole career. When he was later told that the incident had been shown on TV, he said, "If I had known that, I would definitely have smashed the clock." His first official match that he played was for the World Championship, which he won when he defeated Botvinnik in 1963. When he lost his match with Fischer in 1971, Petrosian's wife put the blame on his trainer, Alexey Suetin, and slapped him.

Petrov, Vladimir (1907-1945)
Four-time Latvian champion. He died in a prison camp.

In December, 1826 Maelzel brought the Turk to Philadelphia. The excitement generated by the mysterious Turk was responsible for the formation of the first chess club in Philadelphia. Over 100 members enrolled themselves in the chess club in the first week.

The first postage stamp depicting a chess motif was issued in Bulgaria in 1947.

Philidor, Andre (1726-1795)
His father was the royal music librarian who begat 20 children, partly by marrying a second wife over 50 years younger than himself. Andre was a child of that second marriage. Philidor was still defeating his opponents with pawn odds at age 69.

The Philippine Chess Federation has a dress code for chessplayers. They have outlawed slippers, T-shirts, and vests in their chess events. The Philippine government was willing to pay $5 million for a Fischer-Karpov match, the second biggest purse in sports history, and the largest one that had ever been turned down. They were the only nation to send a team to the 1976 Olympiad in Haifa and the "Against Israel Olympiad" in Tripoli, Libya.

Phillips, Harold (1874-1967)
President of the USCF from 1950-54, President of the Marshall Chess Club, former New York State Champion and Manhattan Chess Club Champion. He was the organizer director of the great New York 1924 International Tournament. He played in chess tournaments for over 70 years.

The first known photograph of chess players was taken by Fox Talbot, father of the calotype process, in 1843.

Earlist known chess pieces is dated in the eighth century. It is a carved King from an Indian type of chessman, but with an Arabic inscription.

Pillsbury, Harry (1872-1906)
Pillsbury would give simultaneous exhibitions playing 10 chess players and 10 checker players, while playing whist. He was given a list to memorize: Antiphlogistine, periosteum, takadiastase, plasmon, ambrosia, Threlkeld, strepococcus, straphylococcus, micrococcus, plasmodium, Mississippi, Freiheit, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, athletics, no war, Etchenberg, American, Russian, philosophy, Piet Potgelter's Rost, Salamagundi, Oomisellecootsi, Bangmanvate, Schlechter's Nek, Manzinyama, theosophy, catechism, and Madjesoomalops. After a few minutes he was able to recite the list forward and backward. He was able to recall the list the following day. In 1900 he went on a seven month nation-wide tour in which he gave over 150 exhibitions and travelled 40,000 miles. From 1890 to 1900 Pillsbury worked the automaton Ajeeb in New York. Pillsbury died of syphilis in 1906 at the age of 34. He was considered one of the top 10 checker players in the country.

In 1624 a play called Game at Chess by Thomas Middleton appeared in England at the Globe theater. The play presented eminent political persons in the guise of chessmen. It also satirized Prince Charles's Spanish wedding. It played to packed houses for 9 days running. The play was stopped at the protest of the Spanish ambassador, whose predecessor was portrayed on stage as a Black Knight. The authorities prosecuted and fined the actors and Middleton went to prison.

The most players in one tournament is 1251 at the 1985 World Open.

The Palestine Liberation Organization is a provisional member of FIDE.

Pocket Set
The first pocket set was devised by Peter Roget in 1845.

Polgar, Judit (1976- )
Grandmaster at age 15 years, 4 months, and 27 days (Fischer was a grandmaster at age 15 years, 6 months, and 1 day after the Portoroz Inerzonal in 1958). She made her third and final GM norm by winning the Hungarian Championship in 1991. In 1986 at the age of 9 she won the unrated section of the New York Open, winning 7 games and drawing one game. At age 11 she was rated 2350 and earned an International Master title - younger than Fischer or Kasparov. At age 12 she was rated 2555 and was awarded the Woman Gm title. At age 13 she was the World Under 14 Champion for boys and FIDE's highest rated woman.

Polgar, Zsuzsa (1969- )
Winner of the first Women's Cadet (under age 16) Championship in 1981. She won the Budapest Under-11 Championship at age four and a half. At age 12 she was rated over 2300 in Hungary and 2245 FIDE rating. In 1987 FIDE gave 100 free rating points to every woman except Susan on the world ranking list. This topped Susan from the top spot to second behind the Soviet women's titleholder.

Postal rates
In 1947 the U.S. Chess Federation urged all chessplayers to write to their Congressmen to protest a bill to increase postal card rates from one cent to two cents. USCF felt that the rates would increase the cost of postal chess so much as to discourage the practice of correspondence chess.

Price, Judith Edith (1872-1956)
Five-time British Ladies Champion. She first played in the British Ladies Championship in 1912, finishing 2nd. She won it in 1948 at the age of 76, the oldest player ever to win a national championship. She was the woman's world chess championship challenger in 1927 and 1933.

Prisons and chess
In 1960 Bobby Fischer gave a simultaneous exhibition at Rikers Island prison. He defeated all 20 prisoners while 2,400 inmates watched the exhibition and the prison band played. In 1971 a prisoner failed to return to Western Penitentiary from a chess match at Carnegie-Mellon University. A week later a second prisoner escaped after a chess tournament. The warden remarked, "I'm afraid we won't be invited back to the university if this keeps up."

Pritchard, Elaine Saunders (1926- )
British Ladies Champion and World under-21 Ladies Champion at age 13.

The $300 first place money for the first American Chess Congress was refused by Morphy. Instead, he accepted a silver pitcher, four goblets, and a silver tray. He defeated Stanley in a match, giving odds of pawn and move. Morphy gave the $100 prize money to Stanley's wife and children. As a mark of gratitude, she named her next daughter Pauline. At Paris, 1867, 1st prize was a vase worth 5,000 francs and presented to the winner by the Emperor Napoleon III. It wasn't until the 1890 Stientiz-Gunsberg world championship match that the loser took a share of the prize money. The first place prize for the winner of the Tarrasch-Mieses match in 1916 was a half-pound of butter. At the same time in a metropolitan event, the winner was given a keg og schmaltz herring. When Fischer won the world championship, he got $250,000. This amount exceeded the sum total of awards presented for all previous 27 title matches held since 1886. When Spassky won the world championship three years earlier, he only got $1,400. That was less than the first official world championship match between Steinitz and Tchigorin, with Steinitz receiving $2,000. The largest tournament prize fund was $150,200 for the 1985 World Open. In a tournament in Ohio in 1983, the profit of the event went to the Ohio Nuclear Weapons Freeze campaign. In 1845 the first place prize for the U.S. Championship was $1,000. Hundred and fifteen years later in 1960 the first place prize for the U.S. Championship was still $1,000. In a blitz tournament with Nimzovich and Hans Knoch playing, first place was three shirts. Hans Kmoch won them.

Problems, Chess
The first composed chess problem was by the caliph Mutasim Billah of Baghdad around 840 A.D. The earliest known European collections of chess problems were copied ath the English monasteries of Abbotsbury and Cerne Abbey in Dorset around 1250. In 1295 Nicholas de St. Nicholai wrote the Bonus Socius, the first great compilation of chess problems. The first problem-solving chess contest was held in London in 1854. It was won by Walter Grimshaw. The first study-composing tournament was held in 1862 and won by Bernhard Horwitz. The longest solution to a composed problem requires 292 moves.

The first child prodigy of chess was Paul Morphy. He learned the moves at 8 and beat the stongest players in New Orleans at 11. Reshevsky was taught the moves at 4 and was able to play a blindfold game at age 8. Max Euwe learned the game at 4 and won a tournament at 10 with a 100% score. Arturo Pomar was the champion of the Balearic Islands at 11. Neaz Murshid won the National Championship of Bangladesh at 11. Capablanca beat the Cuban champion in a match at 12. Kasparov won the USSR junior championship at 12. Henrique Mecking was the Champion of Brazil at 13 and tied for first place in the South American championship at 14. FIDE master Michael Adams of England had a rating of 2405 in 1986, highest ever by a 13-year-old.

Professor of Chess
Nickname of Jacob Sarratt, the first professional player to teach chess in England.

Purdy, Cecil (1906-1979)
Winner of the first world correspondence chess championship in 1955. In 1951 he was the champion of Australia. His son was the junior champion of Australia. He won the Australian championship four times and held the Australian Correspondence Championship for 16 years in a row. Both Purdy's father-in-law Spencer Crakenthorp, and his son John have been champions of Australia. He died of a heart attack while playing a game of chess. His lasts words were, "I have a win, but it will take some time."

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