As a young teenager, film legend Humphrey Bogart learned how to play chess from his father at their summer home in Canandaigua Lake near Rochester, N.Y.
After the stock market crash in 1929, Bogart hustled chess players for quarters in New York City parks and for dimes against all comers at Coney Island. He frequently played chess in Times Square in 1933.
Bogart played Rick Blaine in the famous 1942 movie, Casablanca. It was the actor’s idea to insert the chess scenes during which his character always beats police officer Captain Louis Renault, played by Claude Rains.
Becoming more than just a casual chess enthusiast, Bogart was an expert level player and a tournament director for the United States Chess Federation and the California State Chess Association. He helped sponsor and was master of ceremonies at the 1945 Pan American Chess Congress in Los Angeles.
In 1945 Bogart appeared with his wife, Lauren Bacall, and Charles Boyer on the cover of Chess Review magazine. When asked what was important to him by Silver Screen magazine in that same year, Bogart replied that chess was one of those things that mattered most to him. He said he played every day between takes while making movies.
Many stars loved to play chess in those days, including Bacall, Boyer, Lew Ayres, John Barrymore, Jose Ferrer, Katharine Hepburn, Louis Jourdan and John Wayne. Bogart even taught Dean Martin how to play the royal game.
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