A small Alexander Alekhine anecdote

In 1919, Alexander Alekhine worked at a film studio in USSR. A man entered the lobby and asked to see someone from the educational department.

"I'm listening, Mr. Poluektov", Alekhine said.

"Do we know each other?" the visitor asked, puzzled.

"Four months ago", Alekhine smiled, "in the Ferrein drug store, you ordered some medicine prescribed by Dr. Zasedatelev for your 6 year old daughter Anna who had a sore throat. I was standing in the line and overheard your conversation with the pharmaceutist."

Poluektov just stood there, speechless.

"You wore a horn-rimmed pince-nez then", Alekhine continued. "You took out a grey crocodile-skin wallet from the left pocket of your jacket and then..."

But Alekhine hasn't finished the sentence. The frightened visitor ran away and never came to that studio again.

A year later, Alekhine got to utilize his phenomenal memory in another institution - he worked in the Central criminal investigation department, and many people fell victim when he saw through their "disguise".

Alekhine once overheard a conversation between an arrested man and the duty officer. The arrested man identified himself as Ivan Tikhonovich Bodrov.

"Can you please repeat your last name?" Alekhine interrupted.

"Bodrov. And so what?"

"You aren't Bodrov, you are Orlov", Alekhine said. "And your name is Ivan Timofeevich, not Ivan Tikhonovich."

"Don't try to bluff me, man. You can't take me for a sucker!"

"A couple of years ago, when I first met you in a military registration office, you introduced yourself as Ivan Timofeevich Orlov", Alekhine said. "You wore a gilded crucifix on a thin white metal chain on your neck, and there was a mole right under the crucifix."

The convict stood rigid. When the duty officer unbuttoned his shirt, everyone saw the same mole and crucifix. Soon the investigation confirmed that this man was indeed Orlov, a repeat offender who fled from prison.


  • 4 anni fa


    Thank you!

  • 4 anni fa


    I've also heard what's probably made up, but sure is funny.


    Emmanuel Lasker was looking at a chess problem in a newspaper when a gentleman walked over and was looking over his shoulder.  The man said "Oh, I see" and gave him the solution.


    The man then asked Lasker if he would like to play a game and clearly not knowing who he was offered Lasker Queen odds.  Lasker won (duh!) and said "You played so well that I think it must be easier without a queen, can I try that?"


    So Lasker gave the man queen odds and won.  The man looked at him and said "I'm surprised I lost, then call me the Lasker of my chess club."


    So as you can see, that one sounds too neat to be true.

  • 4 anni fa


    The odds story was in New In Chess last year.  It was Capa sitting down to a friendly game in a coffee shop or something similar.


    He picked up his queen and put it in his pocket.  the gentleman he was going to play said "Hey, you don't know who I am!" to which Capa responded "Sir, if you were capable of beating me I would know who you were!"

  • 4 anni fa


    ok,alekhine used to take drugsLaughing

  • 4 anni fa


    Im a loser. 

  • 4 anni fa


    I heard a similar anecdote as the one about Rook odds, but it featured Capablanca, not Alekhine. 

  • 4 anni fa


    Yeah, but one thing you have to remember about Alekhine is that...... wait a minute! I forgot what I was gonna' say!?

  • 4 anni fa


    There were two other anecdotes related to Alekhine's memory, but I think they're better known.

    The first one is when some random man offered Alekhine to play a game. Alekhine agreed and gave him Rook odds.

    "Hey, but you don't even know me!", the man protested.

    "And that's precisely why I give you odds", Alekhine replied.

    And the second one is about Alekhine losing in a simul to Najdorf and not remembering his face.

  • 4 anni fa


    I love anecdotes!

  • 4 anni fa


    I heard when Bobby Fischer was in Iceland for the World Championship he called his friend GM Olafson.  The GM wasn't at home, but his 5 year old daughter answered and spoke Icelandic.  Bobby, who could not speak a word of Icelandic excused himself and hung up.  The next day he met GM Olafson and told him what the girl said so accurately that GM Olafson was able to translate it into English.

    I'm lucky to remember what I had for lunch.  No wonder I'm far from a GM! 

  • 4 anni fa


    Crazy. How does he sleep at night? My memory have improved a lot since i have taken up chess but i have problem - its hard to sleep with all these thoughts in my head!

  • 4 anni fa



  • 4 anni fa


    I love alekhine stories.   :)

  • 4 anni fa


    Alekhine indeed worked as an investigator while still in USSR. For the rest... you have to ask Eugeny Gik, I took this anecdote from his latest article about Alekhine.

  • 4 anni fa


    Is that true?

  • 4 anni fa


    Fascinating! What is the source of these anecdotes?

  • 4 anni fa


    Very nice! Thank you.

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