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Actor Humphrey Bogart and Chess

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    Humphrey Bogart was an excellent chess player, almost of master level (2100). Before he made any money from acting, he would hustle players for dimes and quarters, playing in New York parks and at Coney Island. The chess scenes in Casablanca had not been in the original script, but were put in at his insistence. A chess position from one of his correspondence games appears in the movie, although the image is a little blurred. He achieved a draw in a simultaneous exhibition given in 1955 at Beverly Hills by the famous chess Grandmaster Samuel Reshevsky and also played against George Koltanowski in San Francisco in 1952 (Koltanowski played blindfolded but still won in 41 moves).

    Bogart was a United States Chess Federation tournament director and active in the California State Chess Association, and a frequent visitor to the Hollywood Chess Club. The cover of the June–July 1945 issue of Chess Review showed Bogart playing with Charles Boyer, as Lauren Bacall (who also played) looks on. In June 1945, in an interview in the magazine Silver Screen, when asked what things in life mattered most to him, he replied that chess was one of his main interests. He added that he played chess almost daily, especially between film shootings. He loved the game all his life.

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    great guy and actor

  • #11

    in the hb lb game above i dont like 9 a4 at all.  it looks wrong to me.  9 castles or 9 B E3 look far superior imo. 

  • #12

    Please cite your references? Where did you find the reference to his USCF and CSCA activity?

    You say the chess scenes were not in the script at first, but according to Round Up the Usual Suspects: The Making of Casablanca by Aljean Hanmetz, the idea to include the chessboard belonged to Howard Koch, the screenwriter.

  • #13

    Here's the documentation of his USCF and CSCSA activity: http://www.chessdryad.com/articles/periodicals/cr/art_02.htm


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