19 February 2014

Small World Championship Stories

In Small Projects for 2014, I mentioned a story shedding light on a detail of the World Championship Zonals:-

Since then I've encountered two similar stories and added them to the appropriate pages:-

Ask and ye shall find.


I encountered another World Championship story in Five Secrets of Successful Entrepreneurs [Wired.com]:-

In 1996, Natan Sharansky won the world chess championship. How did he train? While he was imprisoned for nine years in a Siberian labor camp in solitary confinement, he played himself in thousands of imaginary games of chess. His mind saw every possible move so when it was time for the competition, he excelled.

The similarity to the Stefan Zweig novella is remarkable in itself (see yesterday's post, Chess Behanced, on my main blog for more about that), but even more remarkable is the news that 'Sharansky won the World Chess Championship'. How could this myth possibly arise? Wikipedia to the rescue:-

At the age of 15, he won the championship in his native Donetsk. When incarcerated in solitary confinement, he claims to have maintained his sanity by playing chess against himself in his mind. Sharansky beat the world chess champion Garry Kasparov in a simultaneous exhibition in Israel in 1996. • Natan Sharansky

For more about the true part of the Sharansky story, see Natan Sharansky: How chess kept one man sane [BBC.co.uk].

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