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Albert Einstein vs Robert Oppenheimer
"e=Nc4" (game of the day Aug-14-11)
Princeton USA (1933)  ·  Spanish Game: Morphy Defense. Caro Variation (C70)  ·  1-0
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Mar-18-12  thomastonk: At one can find a collection of statements on Einstein and chess. Their nature is quite contradictory, here are two examples:

"In 1934 Einstein visited friends and relaxed with a game of chess. When he met children, he asked them if they liked music or could they play chess. He would occasionally teach a child the basics of chess, then tell that child to practice, then would play that child a game of chess the next time they met. (see My Saturday Afternoons with Albert Einstein by Ralph Gardner)."

"In October, 1936 Einstein was interviewed by the New York Times. In that interview, he said, "I do not play any games. There is no time for it. When I get through work I don't want anything which requires the working of the mind." Einstein preferred playing the violin and sailing. Einstein did say he played chess as a boy."

Can anybody provide the original sources?

Moreover, this page presents also Einstein's foreword of Hannak's biography, but in an English version, which differs from the German one:

"I am not a chess expert and therefore not in a position to marvel at the force of mind revealed in his greatest intellectual achievement - in the field of chess. I must even confess that the struggle for power and the competitive spirit expressed in the form of an ingenious game have always been repugant (sic) to me."

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  maxi: <King Death> Related to this discussion is the one of the difference between cultures. A different education (or call it tradition or religion) results in a person that has a totally different worldview. He may be willing to give up his life for a goal somebody from another country could find ridiculous. It is a basically lost cause to try to enforce a new set of values on a foreign culture, they will simply be rejected. The only way to change a culture is to change the children and wait a few years.
Apr-10-12  thomastonk: The game was published recently in <Šachový Týdeník>, but as an April fool's joke:
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  Abdel Irada: After 11. ...f6?, Oppenheimer's deadly toy seems to have blown up in his face. One would think 11. ...Be6 would have come to mind, when Black may have a fighting chance.
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  Tiggler: <Shams: <Paul Johnson...asserts that he had no doubt that if the Brits had developed such a bomb in time, Churchill would have ordered its use against Germany.> Churchill may well have behaved just so in the hypothetical you describe, but I'd need to hear it from someone other than the spiteful, Left-hating Paul Johnson to believe it.>

Churchill wrote about a meeting with Truman in Berlin on July 18, 1945, after they had heard news of the Trinity test.

"We seemed suddenly to have become possessed of a merciful abridgement of the slaughter in the East and of a far happier prospect in Europe. I have no doubt that these thoughts were present in the minds of my American friends. At any rate, there was never a moment's discussion of whether the atomic bomb should be used or not."

Memoirs of the Second World War, Abridged Edition, Hougton Mifflin, 1959, p. 981.

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  Tiggler: 21. Nc4 was undoubtedly the best move of the game, though 21. Re3 would also win.

I don't believe for a moment this game is genuine, however. Oppenheimer, if he played chess at all, would have been way better than this.

Feb-26-13  Shams: <Tiggler> You went back a ways to find that. In hindsight I'm not sure why I pushed back on the idea. Any talk about what the German targets would have been?

The fun conversation three pages back is the one on electromagnetism.

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  morfishine: <Tiggler> Of course the game is authentic; Einstein was devoted to truth

Can you imagine the "fall-out" if the game was proven fake? The controversy would "mushroom" to the point of questioning Einstein's credibility

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  morfishine: ...and in a "flash" of inspiration, White plays 21.Nc4...
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  Tiggler: <Shams>: From the Nobel Prize Committee in 1953:

<The Nobel Prize in Literature 1953 was awarded to Winston Churchill "for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values".>

Seems that things have changed a little since then in Stockholm!

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  Tiggler: <morfishine> Willy-nilly nuclear nightmate, if you ask me.
Mar-01-13  tzar: I see a lot of patronizingly superior attitude in this page concerning Einstein´s chess level.

If we assume Einstein was only an occasional chess player the game shows great natural talent.

Einstein soon understands that his opponent is a patzer against which there is no need to use deep strategical concepts and that a quite smart tactical game will be enough to crash him. Due to his friendship it seems he had acquired a touch of Lasker´s psychological greatness in finding which kind of game was required to beat his opponent.

From the game we cannot assess Einstein´s level, we should have a game against a stronger player to start seeing his limitations.

If by mistake would have written it was Lasker vs Oppenheimer I don´t think many people would have noticed the difference :):):)

Mar-01-13  thomastonk: <tzar> This game is a fake. To draw conclusions from wrong assumptions is nonsense. Einstein didn't play chess. That's all.
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  Abdel Irada: <thomastonk>, I think you are taking Einstein too literally and overlooking an important element of his personality: his startling humility.

There is in fact an oft-repeated (from various sources) anecdote about Einstein's frequent humorous sally, "I'm no Einstein, you know."

Here, when Einstein says he knows nothing about chess, I am inclined to take it as a relative statement: Since he didn't understand chess at grandmaster level, he modestly said he knew nothing about the game. In fact, it may well be that he really had no particular *knowledge* of the game, but played merely by improvisation.

However, many tests have established the validity of the idea that mental skills are to some extent transferable, and an extremely intelligent person knowing nothing about a game will perform at a far higher level than his lack of experience might lead one to suppose.

This has been tested, for example, with new games of skill introduced to grandmasters who'd never tried them, but quickly picked up enough to play creditably.

Therefore, to announce flatly, "This game is a fake" seems premature at best and presumptuous to boot. You *may* be right, but I am not inclined to take your word for it.

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  Absentee: Too early for "Oppen Gangnam Style".
Mar-01-13  thomastonk: <Abdel Irada> No, my statement is not premature at all.

The game has a history which is well-known (here and elsewhere). It appeared first in a German book called "Freude am Schach" by Gerhard Henschel in 1959. This book contains other games being dubios and/or constructed. I have read the book, and even besides the games it is more like a book of fairytales on chess.

Your example of Einstein's humour is obvious humour. Einstein's statements on chess lack of this, and so I prefer to take them literally instead of interpreting them just the opposite direction!

I have also looked at the Bird/Sherwin biography on Oppenheimer and found nothing (but honestly speaking I didn't liked it too much and so I omitted parts of the almost 700 pages which seemed less promising).

Mar-01-13  tzar: <thomastonk: Einstein didn't play chess. That's all.>

Einstein played chess occasionally when he was a student. Later on he abandoned chess, which does not mean that since then he never played a single game in his life. In fact, the reasons he gives to not like chess imply that he knew the game well enough to know he disliked it...of course it is also possible or even very possible that the game was never played and then, it will be interesting to know who faked it and why.

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  Abdel Irada: <thomastonk>: I find your arguments unconvincing. I suppose we'll just have to wait and see if more conclusive evidence is forthcoming.
Mar-02-13  thomastonk: <tzar: and then, it will be interesting to know who faked it and why.> It was Gerhard Henschel who also faked games of Tolstoy and Stalin. But why? Maybe it is fun to fake games and see that others enjoy them and believe in their authenticity, even if their fishy source has been revealed?!

<Abdel Irada: I find your arguments unconvincing.> I am not too surprised.

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. ;-)

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  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.

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  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!
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  perfidious: < my experience, one of the hardest things for a human being to do is to be a good teacher.>

That's for sure.

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  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.

May-02-15  thegoodanarchist: My hero could play chess well! And great pun for this game.
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