Chess is a popular game! It’s only obvious that some of your favorite celebrities may enjoy this much beloved pastime, and some of those may even be pretty good at it. Here are a few celebs who were affiliated with the game:
The glam rocker had a penchant for chess in his quieter moments, and his fondness for it is well documented. One famous picture shows him playing the game with Catherine Denevue, his co-star in The Hunger.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist enjoys playing strategic game chess. He’s quite the pro for an amateur, even giving an unnamed chess world champion a hard time during a friendly match once.
Madonna played a whopping 19,000 games in the Internet Chess Club. She was, in fact, tutored by Scottish champion Alan Norris. Her personal best was 2003.
Yes, in her downtime, the famous supermodel enjoys a game or two of chess.
Ben Affleck plays at the Bel Air Chess Club, and is quite attached to the game.
Sinatra’s love for chess ultimately manifested itself in him getting personalized chess pieces made especially for him to play with!
A21-year-old Fonda played chess with Susan Strasberg on the Malibu beachside. Since then, she cultivated a fondness for the game that would lead her to recommend it for children and teenagers at risk. She even became associated with chess programs for inner city youth.
Monroe was famous for playing the “dumb blonde” in her movies, but the actress was anything but unintelligent in real life. She too, enjoyed a game of chess, so much so that she once splurged on an expensive rosewood silver and gold chess set. She also had an ivory set that was a gift from a friend. Her psychiatrist, Ralph Greenson, opined that the game had helped her reduce her dependence on other people to take care of her.
The Buffy actress is the first to describe herself as a chess nerd, having started when filming for The Dollhouse.
The actress would challenge other actors on the set of Three on a Match (For Love or Money), and really knew how to play well, having studied a book on chess while recuperating from an illness.
Will Smith’s father taught him how to play the game when he was 7 years old. The actor has tied some fundamental concepts of life to chess, comparing the ability to accurately assess one’s position in chess to similar skills needed in life. To him, life makes its moves and those moves are then responded to, just like in a game of chess.
The Matrix actor used to play in his high school team and was a chess hustler in Toronto.
The actress and singer would play chess to divert herself from tuning up her vocal chords.
Ava Gardner used to play chess against her husband Artie Shaw. Once she hired a Russian chess master to tutor her in the game, however, she started to beat Artie one too many times, and he never again played a game with her.
Nicholas Cage, like Madonna, was a member of the Internet Chess Club too. Enamored of the game, he would later send his son Weston to Robert Snyder to take chess lessons.
The actress can be said to be a patron of chess, having donated $30,000 to the chess club at her alma mater, Central Falls High School in Rhode Island.
Now here was a dedicated player. Despite his visual impairment, Ray would play quite often, against his friends, band members, sometimes even his interviewers. He played with a specially designed chess set that worked like Braille – while each square was the same color, the ‘dark’ squares were elevated and the ‘light; ones were lowered. Plus, the tops of the black pieces would have sharper edges compared to the white ones.
Bogart’s legendary love of chess is common knowledge. He was taught to play by his father, and he would play with other chess players at chess clubs in New York City. After the stock market crashed in 1929, Bogart became a chess hustler in NYC parks and at Coney Island. He preferred chess to poker since it was harder to cheat at. And in Casablanca, it was his idea to play chess in character.
Chess even got Humphrey into some trouble with the FBI! He would play correspondence chess with overseas GIs and in veteran hospitals in 1942, and the FBI suspected him of sending secret codes to Europe via his chess notation. He was forbidden from playing correspondence chess after that. Not that that stopped him from still enjoying the game: he told Silver Screen Magazine in 1945 that chess was one of the things that mattered the most to him, and that he’d play every day between takes while shooting for a movie.