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Boi, Paolo

Paolo Boi (1528-1598) was one of the leading players of the 16th century.  He was also a poet, soldier and sailor from Syracuse.  He was nicknamed 'Il Siracusno' after his birthplace.  In 1549 he defeated Pope Paul III (1468-1549) in a chess match.  The Pope offered to make him cardinal, which he refused.  ope Pius V (1504-1572) offered him a priesthood, but he declined.  In 1574 he defeated Ruy Lopez at the court of King Phillip II of Spain.  The King showered him with great rewards including an official appointment in Sicily that paid 500 crowns a year. He was renowned for his ability to play three chess games at once without sight of board.  In 1576 he was taken prisoner and sold as a slave to a Turk.  He played chess for his master that brought in a lot of money.  He later gained his freedom back by teaching his master chess.  In 1598 he played a chess match with Salvio in Naples and lost.   Three days later he died in his lodgings.  Some sources (Murray) say he was poisoned.  Other sources say he caught a cold when hunting and died as a result of it.  He was 70 years old.

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