Thursday, November 1, 2012
Our article today chronicles the cause of death of world chess champions and where they are buried.
Bobby Fischer, although born a Jew, was buried in Selfox, near Reykjavik in the small Christian cemetery of Laugardælir church, after a Catholic funeral. He died of kidney failure after refusing treatment and medication.
Tigran Petrosian, who was champion from 1963-69, died of stomach cancer in 1984 and is buried in Vagankovo Cemetery in Moscow. The cemetery, established in 1771, is located in the Krasnaya Presnya district of Moscow.
Emanuel Lasker (Dec. 24, 1868 – Jan. 11, 1941) was the world chess champion for 27 years, from 1894-1921. He died of a kidney infection in New York at the age of 72 and interment took place at the Shearith Israel Cemetery in Cypress Hills on Long Island.
Alexander Alekhine’s death and burial is controversial. He was originally buried in Estoril, Portugal but reburied in Paris in 1956 after 10 years under the sponsorship of Fide. His tombstone is a chess board.
Although others say he choked on a piece of meat, he probably died of a heart attack. There are also speculations that he was murdered. The body was not buried for three weeks as no one claimed it.
Mikhael Tal was known for his tactics and unbelievable sacrifices. Later in life he mellowed, becoming a fully rounded player. He once went over 100 games without a single loss.
Tal succumbed to his life-long kidney ailment (one of his kidneys was earlier removed) on June 28, 1992 in a Moscow hospital and was buried in his native Riga, Latvia in Shmerly Cemetery .
José Raúl Capablanca was a Cuban chess player who was world champion from 1921 to 1927. Due to his relatively simple style of play, he was nicknamed the “Human Chess Machine.”
On March 7, 1942, Capablanca was chatting with friends at the Manhattan Chess Club in New York City, when he collapsed. The cause of death was given as “a cerebral hemorrhage provoked by hypertension.” Capablanca’s body was given a public funeral in Havana’s Colón Cemetery on March 15, 1942.
Wilhelm Steinitz (May 17, 1836 – Aug. 12, 1900) was the first undisputed world chess champion from 1886 to 1894. He died of a heart attack in the Manhattan State Hospital at Ward’s Island, New York and buried at the Bethal Slope in the Cemetery of the Evergreens in Brooklyn, New York (grave number 5893).
Max Euwe who was champion from 1935-37 was cremated on Dec. 1, 1981 in Driehuis-Westerveld, following a ceremony attended by hundreds of visitors as he was also a former Fide president.