Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon BonaparteNapoleon Bonaparte is one of modern history’s great enigmas. Dictator, visionary, ruthless, gentleman, and many other titles have been used when talking about this 18th century leader and Emperor of France. When reading about him, Bonaparte the chess player is also touched on briefly. However, I have had little success in finding chess anecdotes involving Napoleon.

Additionally, some questions to be answered, include—but are not limited to:

  • Did his play on the board mirror tactics on the battlefield?
  • What logic possesses a man in the 1800’s to ignore the Russian’s “scorched earth” policy with 500,000 of his men in the balance?
  • How would the Battle of Waterloo play out on the chessboard?
  • Who taught him the game of chess, and was he a quick study?

A clue in regard to his chess skills surfaced in a rather odd, but fascinating piece about a machine known as “The Turk”. The Turk, was a living machine—an Automaton—that played against human opponents. Critics were free to examine it thoroughly for any trickery or deceit, none was ever found. Watch "The Turk"And apparently Napoleon played against the Turk—and to his chagrin—lost!

Enjoy the video about The Turk. Let me hear what you know about Napoleon’s exploits—chess or otherwise— and feel free to chime in with answers to the questions mentioned above.

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1 Response to Napoleon Bonaparte

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