I chuckled as well. Nice one 🙂
I would like to find more of Crowley's collected writings on chess. I wonder if any of his games survive in notation?
Some of them do, and some notes by him and about him are freely available on this site. You did search the site before posting, didn't you?
Owner and Editor
Hangs head in shame 😀
edit: articles located.
Great game. I recall reading about Crowley's disenchantment with chess. For some reason I always attributed it to his sense of fair play, considering that his opponents had no choice but to broadcast their entire 'chess plan,' as it were, through subspace allowing Al a probable high degree of anticipatory accuracy with regard to moves?!
I just received my copy of The Three Dangerous Magi - Osho, Gurdjieff, Crowley by P.T. Mistlberger. It contains a quite interesting essay on Crowley and Chess: The Royal Game and the Inner Work. Quite interesting!
All right, Real_simon_iff, you made me curious!
Crowley made reference to a game he played against the English master Joseph Blackburne (who was nicknamed 'The Black Death') in 1894. Crowley managed a draw against Blackburne in a simul-match (that is, an event where a chesssmaster (usually of grandmaster strength) will take on many players simultaneously. (The record for that, incidentally, was just broken recently by the Israeli grandmaster Alik Gershon, who took on 520 players at once. He won 454, drew 58, and lost 11. It took 18 hours to complete the simul -- doubtless some of the players simply fell asleep).
Here's a bio of Blackburne and list of many of his games. Just click on any given game if you want to replay the moves. (I've emailed the admins of the chessgames.com site, which is the best chess site on the web, requesting that they set up a page for Crowley. We'll see if they respond).
For those interested in such trivia, here is Crowley's game against Blackburne:
In his Confessions Crowley wrote that he had 'beaten such first rate amateurs as Gunston and Cole'. Someone went to the trouble of installing two of AC's games in portable game notation; below is his game against Cole. Crowley is black, and wins. For any unfamiliar with chess software, to replay the game click on the small right-pointing arrow at the base of the board. (For any wondering why the game seems to suddenly end with pawns and kings still on the board, it is because White recognizes that he is lost. In chess, amongst serious players, there is a tradition of honorably resigning instead of playing out to checkmate).