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Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson was in a recent ChessBase feature recounting an interview he granted during the World Chess Championship in New York. Sixteen years ago, he was voted, “Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive” and his appeal is also based on his down-to-earth approach to physics. He is the Director of New York’s Hayden Planetarium and often gives mesmerizing facts about the universe such as the fact that…
…the universe has a sextillion stars (1 followed by 21 zeroes); 95% of all Earth beings have gone extinct; possible chess games (102500). In the interview with Albert Silver of ChessBase, he addresses a number of questions about his involvement with chess. Tyson got involved with chess through his son whom he taught how to play.
By the time he was 13 or so, he would beat me 29 out of 30 games, so I was done. So he joined clubs and things and doing so I would travel around with him to tournaments … he played through until he was 13 or 14, and then he took on other interests, but I kept up the interest.
Here is his appearance at the World Championships…
Video by worldchess.com.
While Tyson famously said that role models are overrated, he has been quite an inspiring figure who makes one of the most enigmatic sciences approachable. A literal celebrity scientist, some say he blurs physics with pop culture. The Bronx-bred, astrophysicist has known to break into a “moonwalk” during his presentations. Levity aside, he talks about what he thinks about chess, but if you want to see some of his concepts, watch some of his videos. Whether you agree with his theories or not, you will certainly be enlightened.
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Videos with Neil deGrasse Tyson
Video by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Video by Max Schlickenmeyer