Posts Tagged ‘Chess Analysis’

Chess and Baseball have one thing in common. Numbers and statistics are a large part of both pastimes. In past posts, we have talked about the value of diligent study. After you have studied numerous books and have developed a style of your own, you will find that there are still players who consistently beat you despite your best efforts.

The US Chess Federation has added new functionality to the Players and Rating section to help you chart your progress. The ratings history graph has been part of the site for a long time, but provides a quick overview of how your rating has evolved over time. This can be useful to see if you have reached a plateau or if you are steadily improving. If you are involved in an event where you know who your opponents are, you can check their history to see if they are on the rise or at their rating floor. Remember a rating only represents a point in time, it doesn’t show how people have performed over the past few months. The graphing feature will answer this question very quickly.

The new addition to the Rating section is the link to “Show Game Statistics”. The data provided can be very useful in evaluating your performance across a number of dimensions. Information is broken out for your entire career as well as for the past 12 months. Performance is mapped out across rating levels as well. This allows you to see if you consistently beat lower rated players or if you are more of a “slugger” who has built their rating by knocking off unsuspecting higher-rated players.

Best of all, you can click a few buttons and see you actual record against the top 30 people you play against most often. This will let you confirm who your biggest nemesis (or nemeses) are! Once you know that, it’s time to check your notes, find some tendencies, and hit the books again! Or save up and invest in the newest copy of Fritz!

Chess is a great game that provides enjoyment to professionals and amateurs from all walks of life.  Many people who take more than a causal interest in the game begin to learn the names of the great players – Fisher, Kasparov, Anand, Nakamura, Polgar and many others.

However it is also entertaining to learn that there are many celebrities out there who are also fascinated with the game.  In this post we will explore two examples, Humphrey Bogart and Howard Stern!

Humphrey Bogart was a lifelong chess enthusiast who used to hustle people for dimes and quarters in New York City parks and at Coney Island.  He insisted that a scene with him playing chess should be included in Casablanca.  Off screen, he was a certified USCF tournament director and actively participated in the Hollywood Chess Club.  He was supposedly a very strong player, probably expert class and was able to draw 6 time US Champ, GM Samuel Reshevesky during a simul.

The game below, which can be found in its entirety with some other transcripts of his games on is a contest between him and his wife Lauren Bacall.  The game starts off as a Ruy Lopez, then moves out of the book … 

 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 (above diagram) … g6 4. d3 d5 5. exd5 Qxd5 6. c4 Bb4+ 7. Nc3 Bxc3+ 8. bxc3 Qd6 9. a4 Bd7 10. Ba3 Qf6 11. Qe2 Nge7 (diagram). 

After 3. Bb5

At this point, Bogart secures the advantage, with a little help from his wife – 12. Bxe7 Qxe7 13. Bxc6 Bxc6 14. Nxe5 Bxg2 15. Rg1 Bh3  16. Rg3 Be6 17. d4 c6  18. d5 cxd5 19. cxd5 Bxd5 and Bogart went on to win a piece and the game.  The rest of the transcript is …  20. c4 Be6 21. Re3 f6 22. Nd3 Kf7 23. Nf4 Rae8 24. Nxe6 Qb4+ 25. Kf1 Re7 26. Re1 Rhe8 27. Nd8+ Kf8 28. Rxe7 Rxe7 29. Qxe7+ Qxe7 30.

After 11. ... Nge7

Rxe7 Kxe7 31. Nxb7 1-0








Howard Stern is best known as the polarizing radio figure who loves to push the boundaries of humor by discussing politically incorrect topics and/or conducting outrageous interviews.

It turns out, behind the scenes he is an avid chess player and student of the game!  Back in 2006, he began discussing his interest in chess on his radio show and even had Susan Polgar on for a serious interview.

In October 2008 the New York Times wrote a piece about his recent marriage to Beth Ostrosky and his obsession with chess.  The article mentions that he is a frequent player on the Internet Chess Club and has also worked with a chess coach in order to bring his rating up to about 1600.  A visit to his my space page lists chess as his 2nd most important interest (behind making love to his wife)!

The game below is one of two featured in the NY Times article.  In this game, he employs the offbeat Budapest Defense to dispatch with an unsuspecting opponent:

1. d4 Nf6  2. c4 e5 3. d5 Bc5 4. h3 (diagram)










and now tactics come into play after … Bf2! 5. Kf2 Ne4  6. Kf3 Qh4  7. g4 f5 8. gf Rf8  9. Ke3 Rf5  10. Nf3 Qf4  11. Kd3 Nf2 and white resigns.

Stay tuned for future articles on famous chess players.  If you are hungry for more, go to the Fun Stuff / Trivia page for a quiz on other chess playing celebrities.