discovery: in Russia chess players are the healthiest of all athletes.
"It's true," said the Russian captain, Alexander Kotov. "A couple
of years ago medical men made tests on groups of Soviet athletes—football
players, swimmers, boxers and chess players—to see which was in the best
health. The chess players won."
medical men went to Kotov for explanations. After learning the ordeal of
tournaments, they arrived at a theory that chess players had to be in good
health to survive—"They lead the hardest life of all," one scientific
true," Kotov added. "Take a runner. He trains a little in the morning.
In the afternoon he runs for half an hour and then pooh! he's through."
Kotov's reasoning: "Chess players play five hours a night and probably come
back the next morning for four more hours. And at night they must analyze,
In his room at
the Hotel Metropole near Munich's bombed-out railway station Mikhail Botvinnik
was vigorously practicing push-ups. The new Soviet chess sensation, Mikhail
Tal, played ping-pong. Sturdy Vassily Smyslov and frail David Bronstein of the
Russian team are both skiers, and the Estonian master, Paul Keres, plays
tennis. During his games Botvinnik has a special lemonade served to him after
two hours of play, and Keres eats chocolates.
There was no
question but that the tanned and vigorous chess masters looked fit. But cause
and effect appeared to be a little confused, like much in chess, and in
observing the Russian chess players' muscular demeanor as they pushed chess men
around, they looked, not like the strongest people in Russia, but like any
sedentary group of intellectuals startled to discover they have been officially
classified as the healthiest folk in their land.
'My Name's Not
Marc DeMarco, his
wife and son moved into a neat little home at 229 Kell Ave., East Peoria, Ill.
one mild day in June 1956. DeMarco was a factory representative for the Louver
Manufacturing and Supply Co. of Minneapolis, a job which kept him traveling in
Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois, calling on lumber dealers. DeMarco also sold
the Emsco gun choke on the side. Except for the fact that DeMarco seemed too
addicted to certain local bars, the family was accepted in the community, and
DeMarco puttered around East Peoria, selling louvers and gun chokes and
becoming known as a fast man with a buck. If there were any raised eyebrows,
they were only those of a local Chevrolet dealer. One day DeMarco and his son
drove the family car into his place for" repairs. "What name?" said
the Chevrolet man, routinely. "Stefano," said Marc. The son moved
closer to his father and exchanged a few words. "Oh, hell," said Marc,
blandly. "I have a cousin named Stefano. I've been thinking about him all
day. My name's not Stefano. It's Marc DeMarco."
interest, other than louvers and chokes, seemed to be hunting; duck hunting. He
met his first hunting companion in a hotel in nearby Quincy. "I went to the
owner of the hotel," he recounted the other day, "and I told him I was
new in town and I'd like to go hunting. The hotel owner made a date for me to
hunt with his bartender. We went and got nothing. On our way back, I mentioned
to him that I sure would hate to go home emptyhanded. 'Do you know of someone
in town that may have a few extra ducks?' I said. 'How many do you want?' the
bartender said. 'I'd like to take home the two-day limit, anyway,' I said.
'I'll have them for you at the desk in the morning when you leave,' the
The next morning
DeMarco made his first purchase: eight ducks at $1.50 apiece. "I don't get
too many myself," the bartender told him, "but if you want ducks in the
future let me know. There are several of my friends who hunt and kill for the
DeMarco did want
ducks in the future, so he hung around the bar and kept buying. Over the next
two years, DeMarco bought 5,141 ducks in three states at a cost of $7,050.70.
He made purchases from 95 men, including four Quincy firemen, an assistant
state fire marshal, a deputy sheriff, a former Detroit policeman and a former
Detroit fireman. At first, he explained the purchases by saying he liked to
give ducks to his customers—it was cheaper than taking them out to dinner.
Later, when he started buying in large quantities, he explained that his cousin
ran a syndicate-approved bar in Chicago and wanted the ducks for his menu.