A small Alexander Alekhine anecdote

Oct 17, 2012, 7:06 AM |

In 1919, Alexander Alekhine worked at a film studio in USSR. A man entered the lobby and asked to see someone from the educational department.

"I'm listening, Mr. Poluektov", Alekhine said.

"Do we know each other?" the visitor asked, puzzled.

"Four months ago", Alekhine smiled, "in the Ferrein drug store, you ordered some medicine prescribed by Dr. Zasedatelev for your 6 year old daughter Anna who had a sore throat. I was standing in the line and overheard your conversation with the pharmaceutist."

Poluektov just stood there, speechless.

"You wore a horn-rimmed pince-nez then", Alekhine continued. "You took out a grey crocodile-skin wallet from the left pocket of your jacket and then..."

But Alekhine hasn't finished the sentence. The frightened visitor ran away and never came to that studio again.

A year later, Alekhine got to utilize his phenomenal memory in another institution - he worked in the Central criminal investigation department, and many people fell victim when he saw through their "disguise".

Alekhine once overheard a conversation between an arrested man and the duty officer. The arrested man identified himself as Ivan Tikhonovich Bodrov.

"Can you please repeat your last name?" Alekhine interrupted.

"Bodrov. And so what?"

"You aren't Bodrov, you are Orlov", Alekhine said. "And your name is Ivan Timofeevich, not Ivan Tikhonovich."

"Don't try to bluff me, man. You can't take me for a sucker!"

"A couple of years ago, when I first met you in a military registration office, you introduced yourself as Ivan Timofeevich Orlov", Alekhine said. "You wore a gilded crucifix on a thin white metal chain on your neck, and there was a mole right under the crucifix."

The convict stood rigid. When the duty officer unbuttoned his shirt, everyone saw the same mole and crucifix. Soon the investigation confirmed that this man was indeed Orlov, a repeat offender who fled from prison.