Norman Whitaker and Charles Lindbergh and their connection with chess.


Norman Whitaker
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Charles Lindbergh…

The connection between Charles Lindbergh and Norman Whitaker: The aviator Charles Lindbergh was a declared pro-nazi. A species that is not scarce either in the United States or in England. Complete fans of Hitler, a few months before the outbreak of the Second World War.

His merit (which is not small) was crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a flight without stopovers. That is to say, he was the first who flew across the Atlantic, from the east coast of North America to Paris. Nothing less than 5,860 kilometers was traveled on his airplane, the Spirit of Saint Louis, in about 33 hours. The feat took place between 20th and 21st May, in 1927.

But five years later, his great success and luck were tarnished by a tragic incident: his son. A baby of just a few months was kidnapped. The fame of Lindbergh made this incident something that was extensively publicized by the American press. The father offered a reward of 100,000 dollars (an astronomical sum during that time) to the kidnapper. But who was he? No one was identified.

Norman Whitaker…

Then Norman Whitaker went on the stage, a chess player and criminal (one thing doesn’t lead to the other), and pocketed the reward. The tragic is that the child never reappeared, or, better said, he appeared dead a few days later. Norman Whitaker was neither the kidnapper nor the murderer, just a rogue who took advantage of the situation. But for his disgrace, police found him and he ended in Alcatraz.

The sum of the reward, however, was never seen again. Maybe it was at this time that Norman Whitaker invented the gambit in his name, the French defense (1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Ae3). We already know that the gambit is a sacrifice of material and Norman Whitaker would feel generous, given the profitable loot. However, it did not make him a worthwhile man.

Norman Whitaker was born in Philadelphia in 1890. He was a lawyer and had on his charge a patent office.

He died of old age in Alabama, in 1975.


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