Armenians repeat their success
Little Knight meets big rook
The technical Olympiad spirit


Portrait Christian Hesse

Christian Hesse
Born on the 2nd August 1960 in Oberkirchen
Professor for Stochastics at the University of Stuttgart

“I play chess because it gives me feelings of happiness.”

“I am happy when I succeed with lovely combinations or when I study deeply thought-out manoeuvres from other games,” says the mathematics professor, Christian Hesse. “Furthermore, chess offers a great deal of scope for mathematical approaches. In my lecture ‘Chess & Mathematics’, I will show how one can solve chess problems using mathematical methods and how chess also presents mathematical problems.”

Since 1991, Hesse has been Professor for Stochastics at the University of Stuttgart. At 31 years of age, Hesse was, at that time, the youngest professor in Germany. He graduated from Harvard University in Boston in 1987 and then taught at the University of California in Berkeley as an assistant professor. Hesse is not just an exceptional talent in the field of mathematics, in 2006 he published a book entitled ‘Expeditionen in die Schachwelt’ and in it, with humour, he explores the profound, light-hearted and also serious aspects of the game on 64 squares.

Hesse was 12 years old and member of a chess club when, in 1972, the ‘Match of the Century’ between Boris Spasski and Bobby Fischer took place in Reykjavik. “This was a key experience for me. I found it fascinating how Fischer, as an individual, was able to challenge the entire Russian hegemony and win.” However, Hesse’s role model at the chess board is Michail Tal. “I admire his style and his whole attitude to chess. He has always played with audience appeal and generated lots of excitement and tension. To the question of what he thinks about when his opponent has moved, Tal answered once ‘firstly how I can sacrifice my queen, then how I can sacrifice my castle, then my bishops and knights.’ His sacrificial style was particularly interesting for the public.”

Today, Hesse no longer plays any tournament matches but concentrates on distance chess - without time limits and use of a computer, he regularly crosses swords with colleagues in the USA, as well as a friend from his youth in Spain. His game strengths? “There is still plenty of room for improvement in all sections.”

At the Chess Olympiad, Hesse, together with Vaile Fuchs, will be offering a very special event. With the title ‘Beauty & Brains’ (16th November, 11am, Ratskeller), Vaile and Hesse will be drinking a bottle of Bordeaux, playing chess and chatting about acting, music, mathematics, themselves and others. Additionally, Hesse will present highlights from the fields of ‘chess & science’ and the event will close with Vaile singing the best of her repertoire.