The Chess Capital of the World
Chessalcholics were in their element earlier this month in Lviv as the city celebrated the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Lviv Chess School with marathon, non-stop tournaments.
The city rightly has something to crow about when it comes to rooks taking knights it has spawned (or should that be pawned?) no less than 33 international grandmasters not bad for a place of around 800,000 inhabitants.
Being at the crossroads of middle Europe, historically Lviv became a meeting place for the intelligentsia fleeing from persecution at one time or another from their Polish, Bulgarian and Romanian homelands. So perhaps it was this influx of higher than average IQs that helped propel Lviv to become the King, Queen and Bishop of chess masters.
In 1929 Viktor Kart opened the citys first chess training academy, and it was party down to his inspiration that helped the city produce some of the finest chess champions in the world, including Leonid Stein thrice winner of the USSR championships in 1963, 65 and 66.
Wandering about the parks and avenues of the city today Karts influence remains strong old and young bend intently over their boards, brows wrinkled, as they contemplate their next move or deliberate what tactic their opponent will deploy. Feel free to stop and take up one of Karts fellow countrymen on a challenge just be prepared for swift humiliation.