21 March 2019

Chess Playing Celebrities

The gist of a recent post, Celebrity Chess Players, was something like this:-

Curious about which chess players have celebrity status, I asked the oracle. It told me which celebrities play chess. [Long detour...] I still don't know which chess players have celebrity status. Maybe none of them do.

Later I went back to the oracle and asked the same question, looking this time for pictures. The oracle's first page looked like this:-

Google image search on 'chess celebrities'
[Call the rows 'A' to 'C' (from top to bottom) and number the images in each row '1' to '7' (from left to right).]

The last time I constructed a post on a similar visual foundation was Chess and Impressionism (September 2018). My technique worked well enough then, so I'll use it once again. As so often happens with any search on images, many of the results are from Pinterest. One page, 10 Best celebrities playing chess images (pinterest.com), provides two images -- B1 and B6 -- and three other Pinterest pages provide one each.

Those five Pinterest pages are matched by the same number from Bill Wall. B2 leads to Celebrities, Movies, and Chess 1 (chessmaniac.com), the first in a series of four pages that provide two more thumbnails in the Google composite: A3 and B5. A6 leads to the same writer and the same site in Celebrities Who Play Chess (humor). The inimitable Bill Wall also shows up in A2, which leads to Celebrities and Chess (chess.com).

A1 leads to another Chess.com page, Can You Win Our Fake Chess Celebrity Contest?, that gave me a couple of good laughs. Less of a laugh and more of a gaffe is in C5, Woody Harrelson’s major flub at World Chess Championship (besttvnews.com). I covered the Harrelson incident in a post last year, World Championship Yahoos (November 2018).

What about chess players who have celebrity status? Vishy Anand appears in A5, which leads to London Chess Classic 2013: The Celebrities Attack! (chessib.com; 'DJ Alex Zane of England and former World Chess Champion grandmaster Viswanathan Anand of India'). The same event appears in one other thumbnail, C3.

In C1, every keen chess player recognizes Magnus Carlsen, but who are those other guys? The referenced page is 10 Celebrities With Pretty Strange Hobbies, and the photo is captioned 'Red Hot Chili Peppers – Chess Masters'. Magnus doesn't get a mention, although he's conducting a small simul. Granted he was younger then, but even today does he have the same name/face recognition from the general public as do Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov?

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