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Janowski, Dawid Markyelovich

Dawid Janowski (1868-1927) was a Polish chess player of Grandmaster strength and addicted gambler.  In 1901 he won an international tournament at Monte Carlo and lost all his first place money in the casino the same evening the tournament ended.  The casino management had to buy his ticket home.  In another event he handed his money to a friend and made him promise not to return it until after the chess tournament.  However, the lure of gambling proved too strong and he begged for the return of his money.  His friend refused. Janowski was so infuriated that he sued his friend.  Janowski had a chess patron, the Dutch painter Leo Nardus who, for many years, supported him in chess.  He lost his support when Janowski called Nardus a chess idiot when Nardus suggested an alternate move during an analysis of one of Janowski's games.  Janowski was famous for his complaints which served as alibis when he lost.  At one tournament every one of his requests was granted and for the first he had nothing to complain about.  When he lost the tournament he said, "You have deprived me of any alibi.  How did you expect me to play good chess?"  He died of tuberculosis, the night before he was to start play in a small chess tournament in Hyeres, France.  A subscription was raised to prevent his being buried in a pauper's grave.

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