When I play Black, I win because I’m Bogoljubow!

by Bryan

There are many stories about the drinking habits of the Russian players who have dominated chess for more than half a century. Efim Bogoljubow (1899-1952) was a chubby, bombastic drunkard known for his delusional thinking that he was invincible: “When I play White, I win because I have the first move. When I play Black, I win because I’m Bogoljubow!” He reportedly knew only one word of English and, to the delight of his fellow players, had a chance to use it at the great international tournament at Nottingham in 1936. When a waiter in the hotel asked him for his room number, Bogoljubow replied, “Beer.” Bogoljubow died of a heart attack in 1952 after giving an exhibition in which he played several opponents simultaneously.

From King’s Gambit, by Paul Hoffman.