Carlsen vs Caruana World Chess Championship: Stars who are chess nerds | Lifestyle | DW | 08.11.2018
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Lifestyle

Carlsen vs Caruana World Chess Championship: Stars who are chess nerds

As chess world champion Magnus Carlsen defends his title against Fabiano Caruana in London, here are a few celebrities, from Bob Dylan to Marlene Dietrich, who could join them in a game.

It was a surprise that the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature went to Bob Dylan, because he's seen more as a musician than a writer. But the man has even more talents — including at the chess board.

In Hollywood in the 1930s to 1950s, chess was a common pastime among actors. The game was played by Humphrey Bogart as Rick Blaine in the classic film"Casablanca," but it was also enjoyed behind the scenes. The actors would relax their bodies during their long breaks, while other scenes were being shot, by exercising their brains.

James Dean, Charlie Chaplin, John Wayne, Marlon Brando, Katharine Hepburn, Bette Davis, and Marlene Dietrich were all known as chess buffs — though the list could go on forever.

American chess expert Herman Steiner founded the Steiner Chess Club in Los Angeles, which welcomed many stars and was later renamed as the Hollywood Chess Group.

Bogart was considered the most ambitious player, and his wife Lauren Bacall was also a regular in the club.

Marcel Duchamp of France and Max Ernst of Germany were among the artists who played chess the most. Duchamp developed new figures for the game and was considered one of the best players in his country.

He regularly challenged US artist Man Ray and composer John Cage to matches.

For Max Ernst, the game with the black and white figures also turned into a passion. Like Duchamp, he also designed new figures out of glass and wood.

Later generations seemed to have abandoned the game. Singer and actress Madonna has said she's taken lessons. And actress Eliza Dushku, who rose to fame as the vampire chaser Buffy, admitted in 2009, "Yes, I am a chess nerd too."

 

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