Chess, alcohol and blitz games. A weird combination?


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Chess: Full of alcohol…

It is well known that Mexican writer, Juan José Arreola was a remarkable chess amateur. Less known is that he also had a friendly chess enmity with Mexican poet, Jaime Sabines.

A journalist asked Arreola about the encounter of both on the board. “Well, what happens with Jaime Sabines is that he wins more games than me. But there is one thing – we drink while playing and Jaime has twenty times more resistance than me.

When we were playing 3 games, of two or three hours each, I may take some strong drinks, cognac or brandy. On those occasions, Jaime always won. I could also win and he knows that we actually have the same strength.

What happens is that Jaime has more resistance, not to chess playing, but to drink and play at the same time.”

From LA FIESTA DEL AJEDREZ (A. Gude)

Clock sprinters…

The Kazakh GM, Vladislav Tkachiev, now a French national, has the reputation of being very strong in Blitz and quick games. He told his colleague, Eduard Gufeld:

”If there was a Worldwide Championship to two minutes, I will be the champion.”

However, in the first World cup of this style, he wasn’t, being Anatoly Karpov the winner.

Overall, and in view of the constant insistence of the expert, Gufeld proposed to him:

“Why don’t we create the alternative World cup of Blitz matches, I mean, to see who presses the button quicker?”

Keene and the vanity fair…

Raymond Keene had (and still has) an overwhelming personality in the British chess. In the mid-70s, he had competed heavily against the new star, Tony Miles, as the first player born in British land, to gain the great master title, because the millionaire Jim Slater had offered a significant reward. Both achieved it in 1976, but Miles beat him by thousandths.

Cultured, smart, insightful and astute, Keene is a prominent organizer of important chess events and shows great abilities to attract sponsors.

Also a remarkable and prolific author, Keene had during his youth published an outstanding book ‘Aron Nimzowitsch, A Reappraisal’, followed by numerous titles of different quality and fortune. A moderately sympathetic cynicism character, he once said:

“Many colleagues say they include their own games in their books because that is the stuff they know better. My case is something different. I do it just for vanity.”


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