Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Love Is in the Air

| Permalink | 17 comments

Feeling romantic? Get any candy for Valentine's Day (R)? Sure it's a Hallmark holiday, but if it provides an excuse for some fine dining, as in my case, I won't complain. Romance and chess aren't exactly used in the same sentence very often, but despite popular conception, they can show up in the same lifetime. The number of women players with gargantuan hyphenated names indicates that. There are many well-known chess couples, with dozens of marriages (divorces, marriages, rinse and repeat).

If I recall, there were four married couples playing in the 2003 US Championship. Does the couple that analyzes the Queen's Gambit together stay together? Or should chess be avoided in a relationship between two competitive players? Working on your endgame with a hunk or hottie sounds great, but you'd think something would burn out. You have to have something else to talk about, right? (Please say yes.) Or should your romantic life be an escape from chess?


Well - I have a chess/romance story. When I met my current fiance in graduate school, we both had Honors scholarships that came with nice offices on campus. Needless to say, we'd see each other all the time and talk.

Once, when I was in her office, I noticed a chess set. I asked if she played - she replied that, not only did she play, but she was a very strong player. She went on and on about how she was the best player in her school, and how she beat her older brother at chess so many times that he doesn't play anymore.

Finally, I asked if perhaps we could play - I was about 2000 strength at the time, and as we began playing, I realized pretty much immediately that she was actually a very weak player. So here was with this VERY attractive college co-ed who played chess. I contemplated whether or not I should throw the game. Finally, my chess ego forbade me from passing up a forced mate in three.

Well - that was the last time we ever played chess together - My fiance is a very competitive person and she doesn't like to lose, especially to me! Fortunately, she didn't hold it against me, and we began dating a couple of weeks later.


My sweetie also plays chess but we don't play competitive games together. We just pick an opening, discuss the strategic aims, and then as we play we talk about what we are thinking and how the move we just played falls in with the overall strategic theme of the opening. Sometimes one of us will challenge the logic behind the move and show why we think it might be a mistake. It is like annotating the game while we are playing it.

We don't carry the game till completion. If one side develops an overwhelming attack, we back up and see how that attack could have been prevented. We're not competing--we're co-operating. We both learn quite a bit. Not exactly everyone's idea of a romantic evening together, but we do have other nights where we talk about everything but chess (shocking, I know, but I'm happy to comprimise :-)

It is not a good idea for 2 chess players to date each other. I met my former fiance when she was looking for a chess teacher. After 1 week of training her, we started to date (on Valentine's day 6 years ago). She got to a 1500-1600 level within 18 months. Needless to say, the chess thing caused serious tension and we eventually split. Now we become much better friends because we do not talk chess.

One of the happiest couples I ever saw was a chess couple. I think the secret was that they were both about the same playing strength- they were both 2100+ players. They played blitz against each other constantly, and I saw no sign of there being anything other than real fun involved. I had a blast joining them in the blitz rounds sometimes.

I'm happy for you guys but for me chess and romance dont seem to fit together that well.

My girl friend thinks I follow/read chess related stuff way too much. She thinks that my chess interest comes before her. I try to tell her it's not true..but she insists.


Stop lying to the poor lady; she's right, and you know it. At least be honest and tell her that being the second highest interest in your life isn't that bad, especially as #1 isn't another woman.

Fortunately, my wife is very supportive of my chess habit! After a 7 year layoff from competitive chess, she that encouraged me to get back in the fray.

While she doesn't play competitively, she has a decent understanding of the game (probably around 1400)... and takes interest in chess personalities/current events, etc. She's read End Game, Unlimited Challenge, Searching for Bobby Fischer, Bobby Fischer Goes to War, etc.

I'm a lucky dude!

LoL, Greg!

Thx for the free therapy! I might just tell her what you said.


Stop, Titu! Don't do it. Shakespeare said it for all of us, for all times and all circumstances: "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." Keep that where you can remember it.
Bill C.

You can drop the last word in the quote and it still works for all of us, at all times, under all circumstances, heh-heh.

My wife and I have a deal: one game of chess for one game of Scrabble. We each win the game we like best. Sometimes the only way I can get her to play is if we play Nightmare Chess, which is such a wierd game that I don't really consider it chess.


Enough with all this romance stuff. give us some dirt on the Turkey thing. Is Kasparov going to heed Kirsan's deadline or not?


I second gansy: if Mig does not post a dirt item, let us hijack this thread.

This is not the first time FIDE does it: they promised and un(non)delivered in the past, and it does not look different this time. But Kasparov's sponsors have done that in the past as well - the match with Anand in 99 never took place, so the following year he (Anand) did not accept an invitation to a match. Then Kramnik jumped at his chance and clenched the "title" - turns out, that time the money *was* there.

I wouldn't feel too sorry for Anand as I believe he got $100,000 in compensation for the foregone
1999 match.


Chess and love.
With a nod to Roman de la Rosa
In Chaucer’s book of Duchess 1369

AT chess with me she began to play
“I’m not so good.” I heard her say.
She pounced and took my pawn away.
Without despair I made my play.
Said I, “Fare well my little man.”
And focused on my own game plan.
She then said, “Check.” And forked my knight.
Alas, another dreadful sight.
Then both my bishops fell in turn
To the oldest trick. I’ll never learn.
(For full of crafty play was she
and I alone in misery.)
It seemed with every turn she took
I’d loose a minor piece or rook.
Alas, and then I hung my queen.
A dumber move I’ve never seen.
And when she said, “It’s mate in four.”
I didn’t want to play her more.
And when she said, “It’s mate in three.”
I wallowed in my misery.
And when she said, “It’s mate in two.”
My face turned a shade of deeper blue.
Resigned to fate, I tipped my king
While looking at my wedding ring
And thought there is no end in sight
We’ll play again tomorrow night.
There’ll is no ending to my strife
Because we’re married, man and wife.

That's great Andy. I'm going to copy and paste it into my poem file.

Romance, Chess, and World Champions - I can never forget Spassky's comments about his married life - "Me and my wife lived in the same house, but we were like opposite color bishops" :-)

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on February 14, 2005 11:26 PM.

    Ultimate Blunder was the previous entry in this blog.

    FIDE Gasps Again is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.