Chess Trivia Part 1

2001: A Space Odyssey Chess Game

Chess related trivia, connected to movies, books, and some interesting and important persons through the history. Lear and impress your friends while playing.


The film “2001: A Space Odyssey” has a computer which played quite well. Not surprising, since the director, Stanley Kubrik, is a big fan of the game.

Akins, Claude

The late Claude Akins was a fanatical chessplayer who played some fine games against his colleagues.

Alda, Alan

Alan Alda is a competitor at the chessboard, very much fitting the personality of his character on the television show “MASH”.

Aleichem, Shalom

The master Yiddish writer treated chess in “The Chess Player’s Story”.

Allen, Woody

Woody Allen wanted to on his chess team, but, according to him, he was “too small”. Chess was prominently featured in his “The Gossage-Vardebian Papers”.

Amis, Martin

The novelist included chess in his “Money: A Suicide Note”.

Anderson, Poul

Noted science fiction author wrote about chess in “The Immortal Game”

Andersson, Terry

One of the most famous imprisonments was suffered by Andersson, who was held hostage by terrorists. He has credited playing chess with helping him to survive. Not related to Adolf Anderssen or Ulf Andersson.

Arafat, Yasser

The Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization enjoys chess, which, interestingly, is a major pastime in Israel.

Ardiles, Ossie

The Argentinian soccer superstar spends as much as 10 hours per week studying chess.He admires the absolute honesty of the game. ‘You and the game, and nothing else. It’s like being with God. Just you and — I know it’s a bad word — no bullshit, nobody else.’


This King of the Incas was taught the game of chess while the Spaniards were looting his empire. Perhaps he got too good, as the Spanish executed him in 1533.

Ballesteros, Sevvy

Rarely does a week go by that the famous golfer does not play a game or two of chess.

Baryshnikov, Mikhail

The famed ballet dancer loved chess and was a visitor to the 1984 USSR vs. World match in London.

Beckett, Samuel

While he was Waiting for Godot, the Nobel Prizewinner loved a fine game of chess, and he played frequently with Duchamp (it’s a good thing Beckett didn’t mind losing!). As a result of some of those meetings, Beckett was inspuire to write “Endgame”, one of his most famous plays.

Beecham, Thomas

The famous conductor was a big fan of the game and played whenever he had the opportunity.

Begin, Menachem

Former Israeli president Menachem Begin had at least one thing in common with his arch-enemy Yasser Arafat. Both love chess.

Bergman, Ingmar

The famed Swedish director had a deep appreciation of the game, and chess plays the central role in his film “The Seventh Seal”.

Bernard of Clarivaux

St. Bernard described chess as “a carnal pleasure”.

Blade Runner

The classic sci-fi film by Ridley Scott contains a prominent chess scene.

Blazing Saddles

This Mel Brooks film contains a hilarious scene involving a chess game played by Gene Wilder and Cleavon Little.

Bloodgood, Claude

Bloodgood is famous for two things. He wrote an booklet on the bizarre opening strategy 1.g4 and he was a convicted murderer, His victim was his mother. So much for chess and the Oedipal complex!

Bogart, Humphrey

A genuine chess fanatic who played chess on and off the set. The chess game at the opening of “Casablanca” was his idea. He was a very good player who couldn’t resist hustling. During the filming of “African Queen”, Katherine Hepburn and Lauren Bacall watched as he took on a Belgian master (and lost).


The talented singer Bono of U2 is a keen chessplayer. The former actor and now politician (small move there!) is not, as far as we know. ‘Nuff said.

Boop, Betty

Although Betty does not play chess in her risque cartoons, she did once find herself in a compromising position when she was taken prisoner by a Black king, only to be rescued by White pawns.

Borges, Jorge Luis

Among the works of the great Argentinian author is a poem about chess.

Brando, Marlon

The Godfather of chess actors, Brando loves to play while on the set.

Brief remarks

After a long hard tournament, professionals like to eat, drink and make merry. They don’t like to listen to long speeches. One problem is that at these ceremonies, the players don’t get to speak until after all the organizers and honored guests. So they have some beer or wine, and then, when it is time for one of them to speak on behalf of all the players, they may not be at their best. Grandmaster Raymond Keene found a solution. He drafted outsiders not involved in the event (often his friend and co-author Eric Schiller) to make the remarks, which never exceeded two minutes.

Briefest reign as World Champion

Mikahil Tal was one of the greatest players in the history of the game, but he only held the title for a little over the year during 1960/61.

Bring your passport

Chessplayers are not always the most organized of travellers. At the professional level, such details are often handled by seconds or team captains. But who keeps them in line? Joel Benjamin once headed off to Europe with International Master Michael Wilder as his second. Benjamin had no problems. Wilder had forgotten his passport.

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