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Albert Einstein vs Robert Oppenheimer
"e=Nc4" (game of the day Aug-14-2011)
Princeton USA (1933)
Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Caro Variation (C70)  ·  1-0


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Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 30 OF 30 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  Abdel Irada: <<Abdel Irada: I find your arguments unconvincing.> I am not too surprised.>

You'd probably be still less surprised if you spent time on the <Kenneth Rogoff> forum, where skepticism is an art form unto itself – and for good reason. ;-)

Premium Chessgames Member
  jessicafischerqueen: Edward Winter <8110. The Immortal Game>

Entry written by Olimpiu Urcan:

<Page xvi (287-288): the alleged game between <<<Einstein and Oppenheimer>>> is given as a certainty despite the lack of trustworthy sources (as documented in C.N.s 3533, 3667, 3691 and 4133). An endnote offers no source for the game, merely sending the reader to “an animated version” at a <<<highly undependable website>>>,;>


I counsel a thorough investigation of <C.N.s 3533, 3667, 3691 and 4133> before we just let this "game" sit here, causing real chess historians to sneer at us.

Urcan's credentials are impeccable.

Dec-26-13  MarkFinan: If this game is for real, which I see some are disputing, then it's the best example I've ever seen of the 'If the brains wired for chess, then it's just wired for chess' argument. Einstein plays all the moves I would have yet was only *slightly* more intelligent than I am!?! 😆 And Oppenheimer should have stuck to making bombs powerful enough to wipe out life as we know it... apart from Keith Richards and the odd cock a roach!
Premium Chessgames Member
  perfidious: < my experience, one of the hardest things for a human being to do is to be a good teacher.>

That's for sure.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: Ian Dury comments :

Einstein can't be classed as witless.
He claimed atoms were the littlest.
When you did a bit of splitting-em-ness
It frightened everybody shirtless.

Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: My hero could play chess well! And great pun for this game.
Aug-05-15  Trammy Cotch: 8...B-QB4! 9. P-Q4 NxQP! & the Lively Bish and knights stage a tri-piece attack
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: No use splitting atoms, er splitting hairs over the authenticity of this game
Apr-26-16  devere: Einstein only took up residence at Princeton in October 1933, and Oppenheimer was then a young professor teaching at U Cal Berkeley 3000 miles away, so it is unlikely that this game was ever played in Princeton as stated.

Oppenheimer did do some part-time lecturing at Cal Tech, and Einstein had been there early in 1933, so the two of them conceivably might have met in Pasadena.

Premium Chessgames Member

See note 3533:

I have to dig up my (tome) on the biography of Einstein by Walter Isaacson and cross reference 1933 and Princeton. If I can only find that in my boxes and boxes of books...

Premium Chessgames Member
  wwall: Einstein and Princeton in 1933 show up on page 425 in Isaacson's book. No mention of meeting Oppenheimer until the 1940s. Oppie was doing astrophysics work at Berkeley and CalTech in the 1930s and did not join Princeton until after WW II. I have no additional info of Einstein, Oppenheimer and chess in my article
Sep-18-16  Pyrandus: Interesting.
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <Sneaky: In case anybody doesn't know who Oppenheimer was...His name will always live in infamy because he is considered to be the chief inventor of the atomic bomb> Not entirely true since there were many other well-known physicists who worked on the bomb but their reputation didn't suffer.

The primary reason Oppenheimer lost credibility or will always "live in infamy" is his security clearance was eventually revoked for being a suspected communist


Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: I wouldn't characterize Oppenheimer as the chief inventor of the A-bomb, although he was the leader of the Los Alamos team that built the first two versions of the fission bomb.

The real "inventor" of the A-bomb was Leo Szilard.

<He conceived the nuclear chain reaction in 1933, patented the idea of a nuclear reactor with Enrico Fermi, and in late 1939 wrote the letter for Albert Einstein's signature that resulted in the Manhattan Project that built the atomic bomb.>

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <zanzibar> Yes, Fermi was at Los Alamos too. An interesting story during that time was Fermi was sitting in a vacant room, staring at the chalkboard covered with all those innumerable, indecipherable equations. He sat there pondering because he knew something was wrong

Meandering down the hall was Oppenheimer, who poked his head in and switched glaze between the board and Fermi, then became fixed on the board.

Without saying a word, Oppenheimer walked to the chalkboard and made the slightest correction to one of those indescribable notations within the mammoth equation, then walked out.

Fermi quietly uttered "Yes"


Premium Chessgames Member
  Marmot PFL: Oppenheimer corrected a mistake by Edward Teller once also, but he did in front of a room full of scientists. Teller was embarrassed and never forgave Oppenheimer for that.
Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: If you just forget about the names, it looks like an authentic game between a reasonably proficient chessplayer (which Einstein practically had to be growing up in the old coffee shop and university environment surrounded by Swiss and German physicists and other intellectuals) versus an intelligent beginner, who will always get shellacked by a reasonably good player. One strong argument against it being a contrived game is that there's nothing brilliant or unusual about it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: From Hannak's book "Emanuel Lasker" is Einstein's very words (from the Foreword):

<I am no chess player myself, so I am not in a position to admire his mental powers in the sphere of his greatest intellectual achievements; indeed I have to confess that I have always disliked the fierce competitive spirit embodied in that highly intellectual game.>

p7 Dover 1991 ed.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <zanzibar> I'm not saying Einstein was a chess fanatic, otherwise he would have probably been a GM, but he had to have some experience with it in order to dislike the game. When he said "I'm no chess player", he meant that he wasn't a great/real one, not that he didn't know the rules of the game or have any experience. He could hardly have invented the Ruiz Lopez spontaneously in this game, right? The biographical note of Einstein in [the internationally recognized supreme authority] says this: <Einstein had an interest in chess. In 1936, he told a reporter that he played chess as a boy. In 1927 Einstein met Emanuel Lasker in Berlin, and they became good friends.">

That means that he had to have had some interest in the game, which used to be far more widespread and popular than it is now (like philosophy). The fact that he disliked competition in chess is another argument that he had experience with the game and its players, and so is this criticism of its obsessive nature (op. cit.):

<Einstein is quoted as saying: "Chess grips its exponent, shackling the mind and brain so that the inner freedom and independence of even the strongest character cannot remain unaffected.">

I feel exactly the same way. I'm no (professional) chessplayer, either, and I totally emphasize with Einstein's love/hate relationship with the game. The love because of its endless fascination and the hate because competition can really bring out the ugly side of people and he probably had enough first hand experience to see how it can become an unhealthy obsession. Being a totally black-and-white, kill-or-be-killed game, it tends to encourage paranoia when administered in excessively high doses. My point is that his criticisms, rather than suggesting that he had never played, show a good deal of experience in the milieu. I remember when I first started playing, I'd see pieces running around for hours and hours when I was trying to get to sleep. I said to myself: "I'm going to stop thinking about chess, I'm calm, cool and relaxed, calm, cool..." and then I realized that a rook was talking: "Calm, cool and..." At that point I realized it could definitely become an obsession if practiced in excess (I'm basically a Buddhist, all things in moderation).

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <ChessHigherCat> my main goal was to post an interesting quote from Einstein himself.

I agree, although suggestive, it doesn't lead to an absolute conclusion about his ability to play.

But it is suggestive, right?

Now then, as for

<The biographical note of Einstein in [the internationally recognized supreme authority] ... >

If you hang around the Bistro you'll see inside the process of being the "supreme authority" is about as messy as making sausages.

Sometimes you don't get a super clean cut answer. And <CG> is really a melting pot of contributors, whose volunteer efforts can wain and wax.

Anyways, I think the other quote you cite:

<Einstein is quoted as saying: "Chess grips its exponent, shackling the mind and brain so that the inner freedom and independence of even the strongest character cannot remain unaffected.">

also comes from the same foreword, and page, to Hannak's book(*). I'm not sure I totally agree with your conclusion that it shows Einstein played the game. It could just be his personal observations of the effects the game has on other players besides himself.

I got a chuckle about your dropping off to sleep seeing chess pieces running around. Luckily, maybe because I'm not good enough, that hasn't happened to me!

OK, cheers.

(*) <CG> is really a source, much the same as wikipedia isn't either. Both are a sort of clearing board pointing (if done properly) to the real sources.

Sometimes, though, a player will relate personal experiences on <CG>, in which case it becomes a true source.

Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: <zanzibar: <ChessHigherCat> my main goal was to post an interesting quote from Einstein himself.

I agree, although suggestive, it doesn't lead to an absolute conclusion about his ability to play.

But it is suggestive, right?>

Hi, <Zanzibar>, I really don't think that's a normal of way saying "I don't know how to play chess" but rather "I'm not really into chess". (cf. "I'm no lady's man", which definitely doesn't mean the speaker is homosexual but rather that his whole life doesn't revolve around the fair sex.) Also, I'm not old enough to say from personal experience but I bet that fewer than 5% of Swiss or German physicists of Einstein's generation didn't know how to play chess at all. Like most traditionally male-dominated disciplines (including philosophy and boxing), the popularity of chess has dwindled dramatically in recent decades, including in America (see "How America Forgot About Chess" - 5/how-america...chess/257049/).
Just as a side note, my father told me he used to see the Oppenheimer brothers play "Go" in the lounge, which may explain why Robert wasn't much into chess (although he would know the rules, likely practically all the male scientists of his generation).

<"The biographical note of Einstein in [the internationally recognized supreme authority] ... "

If you hang around the Bistro you'll see inside the process of being the "supreme authority" is about as messy as making sausages.>

I was just joking about the "supreme authority", I'm about as anti-authoritarian as you can get, but I don't see any reason to be particularly skeptical about the information given on the CG biography pages, although I'm sure they're not always 100% accurate (like Wikipedia, as you say)

Premium Chessgames Member
  saffuna: <The primary reason Oppenheimer lost credibility or will always "live in infamy" is his security clearance was eventually revoked for being a suspected communist>

The key word being "suspected."

That was during the Red Scare, McCarthy, HUAC years after WWII, something <morfishine> most ikely thinks should be brought back today.

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <saffuna> You are correct, in my opinion, anything communist should be outlawed in the US: Their program is diametrically opposite a Republic that allows one to possess land, practice their own religion and vote for a real leader. IMHO, any other political ideology is welcome here in the US, all are welcome except communism

You know the greatest Flip-Flop in US History? ans: Hollywood

Remember 65 yrs ago if you were a suspected Communist (and checking out Liberals first was a good place to start) and an actor in Hollywood, you had a very hard time finding work. Many actors actually committed suicide due to this oppression. As a conservative, I actually sympathized over their plight

But now, the table's are turned: If you are an actor in Hollywood and oppose their Liberal policies or thoughts, you will have a hard time finding work.

Go Figure

This all goes back to when Khruschev in the 1950's stated "We will crush you". This is coming true as Communist agents and policies undermine Western Religious upbringing, infiltrate our schools, attack basic ownership rights and attack all of our rights under the Constitution

To hell with these Commies, along with their Socialist, Democratic Liberal Lunatic-fringe nut-jobs


Premium Chessgames Member
  ChessHigherCat: And don't forget the fluoridated water while you're at it! God preserve OUR VITAL BODILY FLUIDS! (Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper).

One extreme inevitably generates the other. (a message brought to you by the voice of reason in a nuthouse)

Oct-01-17  jinkinson: According to Bruce Pandolfini, "we don't really know that Einstein played chess, or played Oppenheimer," and he refers to this game as "dubious".

Source: (page 111)

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