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National Leaders Who Play Chess



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 1st 03, 10:23 PM
Nick
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Default National Leaders Who Play Chess

Which modern national leaders (presidents, prime ministers, or other heads of
state) are known to play chess?

Bridge is a more social (and devious) game than chess, so it might well be more
popular among politicians. China's Deng Xiaopeng was an keen bridge-player,
and one of his favourite partners was Nie Weiping, the great weiqi (go) player.

Fidel Casto is one chess-player; Kim Campbell, a former Prime Minister of
Canada, might have been another. For many years, she was the partner or wife
of Nathan Divinsky, a mathematician and chess writer, who might have introduced
her to chess. Does anyone know whether Kim Campbell did play chess?

At school, Kim Campbell was noted as an exceptionally keen student:
"I never saw anyone who absorbed so much. We couldn't evaluate her IQ because
she made a perfect score. It worked out to be 153 but that was inaccurate
because we couldn't find the ceiling."
--Sister Eileen Gallagher (Maclean's, 17 May 1993; Gallagher was her teacher)

But it's unclear to me how much correlation there may be between having a high
IQ score and chess talent. For instance, I know a doctor who's a member of
the Prometheus Society, the world's most exclusive group for persons of high
IQ (the threshold for admission is being in the top 1/30000 of the general
population). (In contrast, Mensa admits anyone in the top 2% = IQ 130.)
He has long been a serious chess-player, yet he still 'only' plays at about
the threshold of master strength (not even close to the top 1/30000).

Would anyone care to speculate about the outcome of a potential chess match
between Kim Campbell and George W. Bush? :-) (Presumably, Tony Blair would
allow Bush to defeat him anytime that they might play together.)

Does anyone know how well Fidel Castro does play chess?
Thanks in advance.

--Nick
  #2  
Old July 2nd 03, 01:07 AM
Jerome Bibuld
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Default National Leaders Who Play Chess

Dear Mr. Bourbaki,

Heil Dubya!

I am involved in both tournament chess and DUPLICATE bridge.

In chess, I am a USCF Class C player, but "blame" this on age. At one time I
was a legitimate USCF Class A Player. Indeed, I feel that I understand the
game better now than when I held the exalted rank of USCF Class A. I also am
an International Arbiter, a well-known organizer and a widely published
photo-journalist.

In duplicate bridge, I am a "Diamond" Senior Life Master of the American Bridge
Association (NOT to be confused with the racist American Contract Bridge
League). However, playing titles in duplicate bridge -- whether granted by the
ABA or the ACBL -- are based on "master points", which one acquires, but NEVER
loses, so I ask you to accept my word that my strength in bridge is the
equivalent of a genuine USCF master. I base this on the respect my play and
position in the ABA engenders among the players of the ABA. (I have not played
in the ACBL since 1983, when that organization led the attempt to legitimize
the apartheid South African Bridge Association in international bridge -- which
I boast I led the successful struggle to defeat.)

In addition, for decades, I lived with a wife who was an original Life Master
in the ACBL and who was the equivalent of a chess IM in duplicate bridge. She
taught me bridge and went over every call (bid) and every play (of the hand)
after every game (equivalent of a tournament) for the 28 years we played as
partners.

All the above is to establish credentials for my response to your posting,
repeated below.

DUPLICATE bridge UNQUALIFIEDLY is NOT "a more ... devious ...game than chess
...." Neither one is devious. Both are completely open and above board to the
opponents. I imagine you are referring to bidding conventions when you write
of "deviousness". However, all bidding conventions MUST be noted on the
partnership's "convention card" and opponents may always question a call (bid)
to ascertain its true meaning and even may question certain aspects of card
play, such as discarding conventions and leads.

As for bridge being more social than chess, that depends on the player and the
circumstances. I love chess, so tournament chess is more competitive -- less
social -- for me than tournament bridge. However, skittles (living room chess)
is much more social, for me, than living room bridge.

My "IM" wife takes both tournament and living room bridge much too seriously
(in my opinion) and MUST win EVERY game in either milieu. My brother Seymour
is the bridge equivalent of a chess GM and, before his retirement from serious
play, we had a saying about him in the ABA: you could tell the status of his
game -- and whether his partner would be skinned alive or wined and dined after
it -- by the color of his skin. The redder it got, the worse the game and the
more dangerous for the partner. BUT he was the most affable living room player
in the world. He wouldn't even think of partnering my "IM" wife in a
tournament game, but would even tolerate me opposite him in the living room.

I realize that I have not given you information about "National Leaders Who
Play Chess", but felt that I should correct apparent misperceptions of your
premises.

Which modern national leaders (presidents, prime ministers, or other heads of
state) are known to play chess?

Bridge is a more social (and devious) game than chess, so it might well be
more
popular among politicians. China's Deng Xiaopeng was an keen bridge-player,
and one of his favourite partners was Nie Weiping, the great weiqi (go)
player.

Fidel Casto is one chess-player; Kim Campbell, a former Prime Minister of
Canada, might have been another. For many years, she was the partner or wife
of Nathan Divinsky, a mathematician and chess writer, who might have
introduced
her to chess. Does anyone know whether Kim Campbell did play chess?

At school, Kim Campbell was noted as an exceptionally keen student:
"I never saw anyone who absorbed so much. We couldn't evaluate her IQ
because
she made a perfect score. It worked out to be 153 but that was inaccurate
because we couldn't find the ceiling."
--Sister Eileen Gallagher (Maclean's, 17 May 1993; Gallagher was her
teacher)

But it's unclear to me how much correlation there may be between having a
high
IQ score and chess talent. For instance, I know a doctor who's a member of
the Prometheus Society, the world's most exclusive group for persons of high
IQ (the threshold for admission is being in the top 1/30000 of the general
population). (In contrast, Mensa admits anyone in the top 2% = IQ 130.)
He has long been a serious chess-player, yet he still 'only' plays at about
the threshold of master strength (not even close to the top 1/30000).

Would anyone care to speculate about the outcome of a potential chess match
between Kim Campbell and George W. Bush? :-) (Presumably, Tony Blair would
allow Bush to defeat him anytime that they might play together.)

Does anyone know how well Fidel Castro does play chess?
Thanks in advance.

--Nick


Heute Uhmuhrikkka, Afghanistan und Irak. Morgen die ganze Welt!

Uhmuhrikkka, Uhmuhrikkka uber Alles!

Fraternally,

Jerry Bibuld
  #3  
Old July 2nd 03, 03:30 AM
Nick
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Posts: n/a
Default National Leaders Who Play Chess

(Nick) wrote in message . com...
Which modern national leaders (presidents, prime ministers, or other heads of
state) are known to play chess?

Bridge is a more social (and devious) game than chess, so it might well be
more popular among politicians....


Sorry, I did not intend to imply that bridge-players necessarily are more
devious in character than chess-players. And I regret it if anyone has
misconstrued my statement in that way and taken offence.

My remark that 'bridge is a more social (and devious) game than chess' was
intended to refer only to a popular (albeit ignorant) stereotype. What I was
suggesting is that a politician who's equally ignorant of both bridge and chess
could assume that 'bridge is a more social (and devious) game than chess', and
accordingly he or she (as a politician, stereotypically tending to be social and
devious) might well be more attracted toward playing bridge instead of chess.

A 'Diamond' Senior Life Master of the American Bridge Association has informed
me that duplicate bridge is *not* more devious than chess, and, of course, I
accept his authoritative judgement on its play. I am not an expert at bridge.
Thanks for writing to enlighten me on that subject.

In terms of mathematical game theory, however, there seems to be a distinction
between chess and bridge. Chess is classified as a sequential game of 'perfect
information' because each player can know everything about every event (known
as a 'move' in chess) that already has taken place. As far as I know, bridge
has a greater element of concealment than chess, and bridge is *not* classified
as a sequential game of 'perfect information'.

Whether that distinction in game theory between chess and bridge should justify
describing the latter as a 'more devious' game is an issue of semantics.

'None are wise but they who determine to be wiser.'
--Samuel Richardson (Sir Charles Grandison)

--Nick
  #4  
Old July 2nd 03, 05:02 AM
Steve Grant
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Default National Leaders Who Play Chess

"Nick" wrote in message
om...

In terms of mathematical game theory, however, there seems to be a

distinction
between chess and bridge. Chess is classified as a sequential game of

'perfect
information' because each player can know everything about every event

(known
as a 'move' in chess) that already has taken place. As far as I know,

bridge
has a greater element of concealment than chess, and bridge is *not*

classified
as a sequential game of 'perfect information'.


This distinction is accurate.

Whether that distinction in game theory between chess and bridge should

justify
describing the latter as a 'more devious' game is an issue of semantics.


A significant element of bridge lies in fooling an opponent (and sometimes
even partner, for constructive purposes) by making misleading bids and
plays. Every player past the beginner stage knows some elementary
falsecards, for example.

Your DLM friend may have been thinking about the strict prohibitions against
coffeehousing in the laws of bridge when he said the game isn't devious.
But if you stay within the rules, deceit is entirely appropriate.


  #5  
Old July 5th 03, 11:36 PM
Nick
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Posts: n/a
Default National Leaders Who Play Chess

ospam (Jerome Bibuld) wrote in message ...
(snipped)
As for bridge being more social than chess, that depends on the player and the
circumstances. I love chess, so tournament chess is more competitive -- less
social -- for me than tournament bridge. However, skittles (living room
chess) is much more social, for me, than living room bridge....


Dear Mr. Bibuld,

Thanks very much for writing; I appreciate learning new relevant facts.

My impression is that more women play bridge than chess, evidently at least
partly because they tend to perceive bridge as more social than chess.

You may find this related fact of historical interest:

In South Africa under apartheid, chess was recognised by the law (or at least
by the state security regulations) as an intrinsically less social game than
bridge. Indeed, chess was officially construed as an activity without a
'common social purpose'.

Donald Woods (1933-2001) was a white South African journalist, who, on account
of his opposition to apartheid, became a legally 'banned person' under the
apartheid state security regulations. Being a 'banned person' had Procrustean
punitive consequences on that person's life.

"Contraventions of the ban, even within the house, drew strict punishment from
the State when they could be proved. A Rhodes University lecturer, Terence
Beard, had been the subject of a severe ruling on this score. Beard, a banned
person, was given a birthday party by his friends in Grahamstown. He stayed
alone in the kitchen throughout the party and the guests stayed in the rest of
the house, coming one by one into the kitchen to sit with him. Although there
were at no time more than two people in the kitchen, he was prosecuted and
convicted of breaking his ban on the grounds that he had taken part in a
'common social purpose'." (p. 325)
--Donald Woods (Asking for Trouble: Autobiography of a Banned Journalist)

Nonetheless, Donald Woods was still allowed by the authorities to play chess
(though not to 'drink tea or coffee' while playing) on the legal grounds that
the game was officially construed as lacking a 'common social purpose'.

"An amusing example of this restriction came when I decided to test the outer
parameters of the banning orders within the first few days. I went to Colonel
van der Merwe and said: 'Colonel, I'm still captain of the East London Chess
Club--am I no longer allowed to play chess at the club on Monday evenings?'
'Certainly not', he replied. 'Of course you may not attend a club or gathering
of any kind.' But I was ready for this, and said: 'You misunderstand me,
Colonel. I know I am not allowed to attend the chess club in the normal way
any more, but I can make special arrangements to play my league matches in a
separate room. How can that be breaking the ban if I'm with only one other
person in a separate room at the club?' He frowned and puzzled the matter over,
leafing through the restriction documents, then he looked up and said: 'I can
find no specific objection to such an arrangement--but don't drink tea or
coffee while you're playing.' 'Don't drink tea or coffee?' I asked. 'What's
that all about?' 'Common social purpose', he replied, looking through the
documents again. 'The restrictions are not only there to prevent conspiring
against the State, they're also aimed at preventing any common social purpose.
You can be in a separate room at your chess club if there's only your opponent
present, but if you drink tea or coffee that will mean it's a common social
purpose with other members elsewhere in the club, because they will also be
drinking tea or coffee.'

At first this seemed an odd differentiation, but apparently the legal
interpretation of a common social purpose was that the purpose has to be
identical, whereas chess games are not identical. To make our chess-playing
a common social purpose, according to this interpretation, we would all have
to be engaged in the same game, with the same moves. Making use of this
ultra-legalistic reasoning I played several league games in this fashion.
Eventually, however, I stopped going to the chess club because the strain on
the other members seemed too great. The artificial arrangements obviously
pained a number of them, as I had their sympathy, and they found it hard to
have to restrain themselves from coming to talk with me." (pp. 325-6)

--Donald Woods (Asking for Trouble: Autobiography of a Banned Journalist)

"L'enfer c'est les autres." (Hell is other people.)
--Jean-Paul Sartre ('Huis Clos'; 'No Exit')

Did you ever meet Donald Woods (who once was South Africa's chief delegate
to a FIDE Congress)?

'Mayibuye i Afrika!' (Xhosa saying)

--Nick
  #6  
Old July 6th 03, 12:26 AM
Nick
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Posts: n/a
Default National Leaders Who Play Chess

ospam (Jerome Bibuld) wrote in message ...
I am involved in both tournament chess and DUPLICATE bridge.

In chess, I am a USCF Class C player, but "blame" this on age. At one time
I was a legitimate USCF Class A Player....
In duplicate bridge, I am a "Diamond" Senior Life Master of the American
Bridge Association...


Dear Mr. Bibuld,

At my less exalted levels of play than theirs, I have played against both
a strong Grandmaster in chess and a Japanese professional 9-dan in go.

Who has been able to play more than one kind of 'brain game' at a high level?

I can immediately recall these people:

Irina Levitina (peak Elo = 2425) once played Maya Chiburdanidze in a women's
world chess championship match, and she's also a world-class bridge player.

Michael Rosenberg is one of the world's best bridge players, and he also
represented Scotland in international chess tournaments for young players.

Paul Magriel has long been one of the world's best backgammon players (he was
the world champion in 1978), and reportedly he was a chess master long ago.

Elliott Winslow is an IM in chess and a world-class backgammon player.

Yoshiharu Habu is the world's best shogi player and about IM strength in chess
(he already has made an IM norm).

Nie Weiping was once perhaps the world's best player at go and reportedly also
a master at bridge.

Can anyone name some more players deserving of 'honourable mention' here?

--Nick
  #7  
Old July 8th 03, 04:08 PM
King Leopold
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Default National Leaders Who Play Chess

Now I'm not a strong Chess player, (only 1700's), but I love a thinking
game, (Black Jack) and my last two outings, I did well. Broke even in Vegas
and won $300 last weekend at the Indian Casino in Phoenix, Both on the $10
tables, (My largest bet at any time was $15).
So who says Chess players can't be good at other games.
(Also, I payed for my college books playing backgammon).
Leopold

"Jerome Bibuld" wrote in message
...
Dear Nick,

Heil Dubya!

GM John Van der Wiel (NED) is an extremely strong player. Because of my
tutelage under my wife, I became a strong bridge player. Occasionally, I

got
into bridge games with master chess players. Many of them held FIDE

titles and
thought they knew how to play bridge. Except for Lou Levy and Arthur

Bisguier,
however, I found them all pretty weak, until the 1990 Olympiad in Novi

Sad. On
a free day, Van der Wiel and I were partners in a duplicate bridge

tournament,
during which he taught me to be more modest about my own skills, because

of his
fine play. (He also was a dear partner, who suffered my errors without

showing
the least pain.) Principally on the basis of HIS strength, we finished

"in the
red", although I don't remember which position. (The term, "finished in

the
red", originated in the days before games were scored by computer, because

the
director marked the top scores with red pencil.) Van der Wiel is the

strongest
bridge player, by far, whom I know among FIDE titlists.

Lou Levy and GM Arthur Bisguier were not "international masters", in my
opinion, but both are very strong bridge players. When he lived in
Metropolitan New York, Levy was the strongest bridge player I knew in the

chess
world. However, he long ago moved to the West Coast of the U. S. A. and I

have
lost track of him.

Bisguier was a dear friend at one time and he used to come to my home

weekly
for bridge games. Generally, he played with a woman who was my wife's

partner
in "Ladies" games". (At one time, major American Bridge Association
tournaments held "Ladies" games and "Men's" games.) This woman also

played
regularly on a "team" in the ABA, which included my wife and me.

About forty years ago, when I was just starting out in duplicate bridge, I
partnered a woman with whom I worked. She was a miserable chess player --

in
desperation, I used her on the GHI chess team a couple of times -- but

became a
magnificent bridge player, who who went on to a national title. I

apologize
that I forget her name, perhaps because she terminated our partnership on
grounds that I refused to take the game seriously.

Ed Scher, a strong USCF player (at one time an Expert, but now a Class A)

and I
partnered each other for a couple of years in the 1970s. However, I broke

that
partnership up, because I did not like a couple of bidding "conventions"

he
INSISTED on using.

Finally, the most famous organizer of chess tournaments in the United

States --
Bill Goichberg, who certainly was of FM playing strength -- also is a

strong
bridge player. He played in the American Contract Bridge League and tried
organizing duplicate bridge games in the ACBL for a couple of years. Even
though I did not like the ACBL -- because of its racism -- my wife and I

played
regularly in Bill's games, simply to support him. Bill's games never

caught on
and he gave up the attempts. (This was in the late 1970s or early 1980s,
before I started boycotting the ACBL over its extreme racism, most
specifically, its support of the apartheid regime of South Africa.)

At my less exalted levels of play than theirs, I have played against both
a strong Grandmaster in chess and a Japanese professional 9-dan in go.

Who has been able to play more than one kind of 'brain game' at a high

level?

I can immediately recall these people:

Irina Levitina (peak Elo = 2425) once played Maya Chiburdanidze in a

women's
world chess championship match, and she's also a world-class bridge

player.

Michael Rosenberg is one of the world's best bridge players, and he also
represented Scotland in international chess tournaments for young

players.

Paul Magriel has long been one of the world's best backgammon players (he

was
the world champion in 1978), and reportedly he was a chess master long

ago.

Elliott Winslow is an IM in chess and a world-class backgammon player.

Yoshiharu Habu is the world's best shogi player and about IM strength in
chess
(he already has made an IM norm).

Nie Weiping was once perhaps the world's best player at go and reportedly
also
a master at bridge.

Can anyone name some more players deserving of 'honourable mention' here?

--Nick


Heute Uhmuhrikkka, Afghanistan und Irak. Morgen die ganze Welt!

Uhmuhrikkka, Uhmuhrikkka uber Alles!

Fraternally,

Jerry
gens una sumus



 




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