Alexius Comnenus, the eleventh-century Byzantine emperor, was allegedly playing chess when lie was surprised by a murderous conspiracy. Being a good chess player, he managed to escape! In real life the Aladdin of the fairy tale was a chess player, a lawyer from Samarkand in the court of Tamburlaine, the fourteenth-century conqueror of much of Asia. Tamburlaine himself loved to play chess; lie named his son Shah Rukh, for he was moving a rook when the birth was announced. Goethe was an avid chessplayer and believed that the game was essential to the cultivation of the intellect. Benjamin Franklin, another genius, was also an enthusiast—his Morals of Chess, published in 1786, was the first chess publication in America, Shakespeare and Einstein praised chess; Ivan the Terrible, Queen Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great, and Napoleon were all chess enthusiasts, while Lenin described chess as "the gymnasium of the mind."
Today top people in sport, science, politics, broadcasting and the media, medicine, business, and finance all sharpen their mental edges with chess.
Tony Buzan is a psychologist and writer, international TV presenter, and best-selling author on the brain. His books have been translated into fifteen languages and have sold 3 million copies. He regularly conducts business seminars in which he insists that chess is taught as a paradigm of strategic thinking skills.
Elaine Garzarelli, one of Wall Street's most celebrated and successful trend predictors, bases her analysis on economic indicators rather than on technical information supplied by individual companies. In 1995 and 1996 she successfully forecast most of the market's major moves. Institutional investor named her Wall Street's top quantitative analyst for no less than' eleven years in succession. She claims that her competitive instincts were fashioned as a child, when she fought her brother over the chessboard.
Legendary movie director Steven Spielberg likens filmmaking io playing chess: "Directing is about seeing twenty moves ahead while you're working on the next five. I'm deciding whether to use my castle or my second bishop. How am I being threatened here? How can I advance?"
Lennox Lewis, the world heavyweight boxing champion, has repeatedly stated that lie hones his strategic skills with chess. He lias extolled the game's virtues on 'IV and has appeared on the I rout covers of chess magazines. He is a prime example of the new breed of sportsman that outthinks the opposition.
Sir Tim Rice has been a chess enthusiast since his early years. < '.elebrated as the lyricist for blockbuster musicals, including i'lvita, jesiis Christ Superstar, and The Lion King, lie plowed all his chess expertise into the musical Chess, loosely based on the careers of Bobby Fischer and Soviet defector Viktor Korclmoi. For several years Chess, which opened in 1986, was one of the highlights of London theatrical life.
World heavyweight champion Lennox Lewi's plans his, ring strategy over the chessboard.
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