In 1952, the brothers started Checker Records as an alternative label for radio play (radio stations had a policy of only playing a limited number of records from any one imprint). In December 1955, they launched a jazz and pop label, Marterry, a name created from the first names of Leonard and Phil's sons, Marshall and Terry. This was quickly renamed Argo Records, but the name was changed again in 1965 to Cadet Records to end confusion with an existing British spoken-word label.
Leonard and Phil Chess, immigrants from Poland, began recording acts performing at their Club Macambo at 3905 Cottage Grove after World War II. In 1947 the brothers formed the Aristocrat Record Corporation, which reorganized in 1950 when they left the nightclub business to concentrate on making records as the Chess Recording Company. They added a subsidiaryblueslabel, Checker, in 1952.
And the sounds coming out of the Michigan Avenue studios were extremely influential, particularly in Britain. In Liverpool, rhythm and blues records were in great demand among local youth and particularly among two young rock band members named Lennon and McCartney.
"The bulk of their trade was really jukeboxes and in taverns and shops and that sort of thing," Cohodas said. "You simply had to get out on the road, thousands of miles, days and days and days with your car full of records to drop off to every distributor, every disc jockey, to try to see if you could interest them in playing the music."
The Chess brothers ended up selling the label in 1969, and Leonard died later that year. But Phil Chess lived to see the records they put out and the artists they championed become part of music history.
Buddy Guy is one of the last living members of the Chess heyday still performing, primarily at his own appropriately named Chicago club, Legends. Guy is a legend himself, a guitar virtuoso with a husky, unforgettable voice capable of conveying deep layers of emotion. Guy began his career as a studio session player at Chess Records, appearing as a credited guitarist on several Muddy Waters records.
Chess Records is our forgotten landmark, founded by Leonard and Phil Chess, Jewish immigrant brothers from Poland, in 1950. They recorded unknown black blues musicians from the South and got their records played on radio stations, exposing their sound to a worldwide audience. Many of England's young musicians of the 1960s grew up emulating the "Chess sound." In a 1960 encounter at a railway station, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards first bonded over the Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters Chess albums Jagger was carrying. They would later take their band's name from the Muddy Waters song "Rollin' Stone," record the first version of "Satisfaction" at Chess, and name an instrumental track "2120 South Michigan Avenue," one of five songs they recorded at Chess for their second album.
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Chess Records are always fascinating because they show you what is possible. So check out all the awesome amazing human achievements in Chess below. If you know of an amazing achievement in Chess that isn't on the list or an achievement has been surpassed, please drop us a message at email@example.com.
Highest per capita chess population. Iceland has the highest per capita chess population in the world. In December 2005, Reykjavik had 8 grandmasters living in its city of 110,000. Beersheva, Israel has the highest percentage of grandmasters per capita of any city.
Largest chess library. The largest public library for chess is the J.G. White Collection at the Cleveland Public Library [pictured]. It contains over 32,000 chess books and over 6,000 volumes of bound periodicals. The largest private library for chess is owned by Grandmaster Lothar Schmid. He has over 20,000 chess books.
Largest chess tournament. In 1935-36, the USSR Trade Unions chess championship was held. It had 700,000 entrants, the largest of any chess tournament. Every year the United Kingdom organizes the UK Chess Challenge for schools. In 2004, the tournament had 71,000 children from over 2,000 schools participating, the largest chess tournament in the world. In 1985, the U.S. Scholastic Championships drew 1,572 chess players. The 1973 New York Chess Congress drew 1,487 chess players.
Largest number of unique games. The number of possible unique chess games is greater than the number of electrons in the universe. The number of electrons is estimated to be about 10^79, while the number of unique chess games is 10^120.
Longest chess career. Walter Ivans (1870-1968) of Tucson, Arizona, started playing chess at the age of 10. He died at the age of 98. He played chess for 85 years. Walter Muir (1905-1999) played correspondence chess for 75 years.
Longest game. The longest tournament chess game (in terms of moves) is 269 moves (Nikolic-Arsovic, Belgrade 1989). The game ended in a draw after over 20 hours of play. 10 games have been 200 moves or over in tournament play. In theory, the longest chess game can go up to 5,949 moves.
Longest time to make a move. The longest recorded time for a chess player to make a move goes to the International Grand Master Trois from Brazil with two hours and twenty minutes on the seventh move.
Longest running chess column. Hermann Helms (1870-1963) wrote a chess column for 62 years, from 1893 to 1955, in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. George Kolranowski wrote a chess column for 52 years, totalling over 19,000 chess columns.
Longest running correspondence chess rivalry. Reinhart Straszacker and Hendrick van Huyssteen, both of South Africa, played their first game of correspondence chess in 1946. They played for over 53 years, until Straszacker died in 1999. The played 112 games, with both men winning 56 games each.
Most chess articles. Edward Winter has published over 7,000 chess articles in his Chess Notes. Bill Wall has written over 1,000 chess articles for magazines and published on the Internet.
Most chess books written. Raymond Keene has authored over 100 books on chess, more than any other author. Other chess authors of over 100 chess books include Fred Reinfeld, Eric Schiler, and Eduard Gufeld. Reinfeld wrote 102 chess books and 260 books in total from other subjects.
Most drawing Grandmaster. Ulf Andersson of Sweden has drawn 74% of his games against top-level opposition, winning 10%, and losing 16%. The most drawing World Champion was Tigran Petrosian (1929-1984), who drew more than half his total games of chess.
Most games simultaneously. Grandmaster Susan Polgar player 326 opponents simultaneously at a shopping mall in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida on July, 2005. She won 309, drew 14, and lost 3. Her winning percentage was 96.93%. The previous record was 321. International Master Andrew Martin played 321 opponents simultaneously at WellingtonCollege, Berkshire, England on February 21, 2004. He won 294 games, drew 26 games, and lost one game (to Talal Shakerchi). It took him 16 hours and 51 minutes. He walked over 5 miles and played over 7,000 moves. The previous record was 310, achieved in 1996 in Sweden by Ulf Andersson. In June 2005, Pachuca, Mexico had a total of 12,388 chess competitors in a simultaneous exhibition.
Most moves in a chess game with a winner. The longest chess game with a winner is 193 moves when Yedael Stepak beat Yaakov Mashian in the Israel Championship semi-finals in 1980. It is also the longest game in time, lasting 24 hours and 30 minutes.
Youngest gold medallist. Judit Polgar won a gold medal in the 1988 Saloniki chess olympiad at the age of 11. In 2000, Alexander Grischuk won a gold medal at the age of 17 in the Istanbul Olympiad. In 1992, Vladimir Kramnik won a gold medal at the age of 17 in Manila Olympiad.
Youngest player to beat a master. In 2011, Awonder Liang, age 8, beat an International Master. In 2012, Joaquin Perkins (1598), age 8, beat Pablo Pena (2220), In 1993, Irina Krush, age 9, beat a chess master rated 2257.
Youngest state champion. In August, 1948, Charles "Kit" Crittenden of Raleigh, NC, won the North Carolina chess state championship at the age of 14 (Chess Review, September, 1948, page 5, says that Kit was 13 at the time - an error).
Oldest chess player. Jane Lady Carew (1797-1901) was a chess player who lived to 104. Jared Moore (1893-1995) was a chess player who lived to the age of 101. He was the oldest player to play correspondence chess. He was active in postal chess until he was 100 years old. In 1914, Joseph Henry Blackburne tied for 1st in the British Championship. In 1988, Smyslov was 67 when he played in the 55th USSR Championship.
Oldest grandmaster. Arthur Dake (1910-2000) was the oldest competitive chess grandmaster. He was still playing in rated chess tournaments at the age of 89. Yuri Averbakh, born in 1922, is the oldest grandmaster in the world. Enrico Paoli (1908-2005) received an honory Grandmaster title at the age of 88. He was still playing chess at the age of 97. Vassily Smyslov won the Staunton memorial at Groningen at the age of 75. Jaanis Klovans was 60 when he finally earned his grandmaster title.
Oldest master. Oscar Shapiro (1910-2000) became a chess master at the age of 74. In 1991, Bernard Friend became a chess master for the first time at the age of 71. Gyorgy Negyesy (1893-1992) was a Hungarian master who died just short of his 99th birthday. He was the longest-lived master. 2b1af7f3a8