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  1. #1
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Lifestyle hazards for ageing chess pros (sf Walter Browne obit thread)

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelBaron View Post
    While his death was sudden, he was very sick for years
    Unfortunately this seems to be all too common among chess pros who are not quite at the top. Genna Sosonko wrote about this in one of his books: as they get older and lose their top strength, they find it harder to win prizes, and then they are invited to lower-category tournaments with worse conditions than they got as younger people, and when their physical stamina is less able to cope. Sosonko mentions Bagirov, who died of a heart attack while playing a tournament game aged 63, and Gipslis also playing tournament chess until the year of his death, also at 63. Similarly, Tony Miles, once a leading of players but still outclassed by Kasparov, had to cope with worse tournament conditions later on. And these oldies often have the humiliation of losing to younger players they would have beaten in their prime, but the youngsters know they can often win by complications that older players lack the stamina to think through (said Sosonko).
    Last edited by Capablanca-Fan; 27-06-2015 at 05:41 AM.
    “The destructive capacity of the individual, however vicious, is small; of the state, however well-intentioned, almost limitless. Expand the state and that destructive capacity necessarily expands, too, pari passu.”—Paul Johnson, Modern Times, 1983.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capablanca-Fan View Post
    Unfortunately this seems to be all too common among chess pros who are not quite at the top. Genna Sosonko wrote about this in one of his books: as they get older and lose their top strength, they find it harder to win prizes, and then they are invited to lower-category tournaments with worse conditions than they got as younger people, and when their physical stamina is less able to cope. Sosonko mentions Bagirov, who died of a heart attack while playing a tournament game aged 63, and Gipslis also playing tournament chess until the year of his death, also at 63. Similarly, Tony Miles, once a leading of players but still outclassed by Kasparov, had to cope with worse tournament conditions later on. And these oldies often have the humiliation of losing to younger players they would have beaten in their prime, but the youngsters know they can often win by complications that older players lack the stamina to think through (said Sosonko).
    So Browne died early not because he had an illness but because he was "not quite at the top" as a GM? What a great theory. Some more "middle-rankers" who died early ... Tal, Petrosian, Keres, Fischer, Capablanca, Morphy, Pillsbury, Alekhine, etc.
    Still searching for Bobby Fischer....
    and fighting against those humourless bureaucrats who are forever lost in the minutiae.

  3. #3
    CC Grandmaster Capablanca-Fan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jammo View Post
    So Browne died early not because he had an illness but because he was "not quite at the top" as a GM? What a great theory. Some more "middle-rankers" who died early ... Tal, Petrosian, Keres, Fischer, Capablanca, Morphy, Pillsbury, Alekhine, etc.
    Try reading instead of arguing for the sake of arguing. I just noted that Sosonko noted a common sad theme about a number of aging modern professionals. Clearly GM Browne was quite ill in the interview with Seirawan, but was still playing high-intensity chess and poker. None of the ones you mentioned are news to me, but they are irrelevant, since they didn't die during or right after tournaments (except Keres), and they had health problems independent of chess (respectively: lifelong ill health, stomach cancer, heart disease, kidney failure, extreme hypertension, stroke (long after ceasing any chessplaying), syphilis, choking).
    “The destructive capacity of the individual, however vicious, is small; of the state, however well-intentioned, almost limitless. Expand the state and that destructive capacity necessarily expands, too, pari passu.”—Paul Johnson, Modern Times, 1983.

  4. #4
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    Elite players can earn decent living but many of the lower-level players do/did have miserable lifestyles. Even some of the top player of the past died in poverty. As for travelling around the world staying in cheap hostels or simply sleeping on somebody's sofa - it is great fun for students but I doubt that aging chess players find it an easy lifestyle to sustain
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