A heavyweight chess match: Arnold Schwarzenegger vs Mike Tyson

by André Schulz
4/23/2021 – Last year, Arnold Schwarzenegger asked people to "Stay at home" to fight against the spreading of the coronavirus, and to make this campaign better known, Schwarzenegger published videos that showed him playing chess with his donkey. Now a much stronger chess partner, "Iron Mike" Tyson, world heavyweight champion from 1987 to 1990, tested the chess skills of the "Terminator". | Photo: Henry Cejudo (Instagram)

ChessBase 16 - Mega package Edition 2022 ChessBase 16 - Mega package Edition 2022

Your key to fresh ideas, precise analyses and targeted training!
Everyone uses ChessBase, from the World Champion to the amateur next door. It is the program of choice for anyone who loves the game and wants to know more about it. Start your personal success story with ChessBase and enjoy the game even more.


Arnold Schwarzenegger was born July 30, 1947, in Thal in Styria, Austria, and soon became a famous bodybuilder. At the age of 20 he won the title of "Mr. Universe", and later he won the "Mr. Olympia" contest no less than seven times.

In 1968 Schwarzenegger emigrated to the US and in 1983 he became an American citizen. In 1980 he completed a bachelor's degree in business administration and marketing and then started a career in film. His first film was Hercules in New York from 1970 but it was the title role in Conan the Barbarian from 1982 that made Schwarzenegger better known as an actor. Two years later, in 1984, director James Cameron gave him the title role in the hugely successful first Terminator film which made Schwarzenegger a household name all over the world.

His career as an actor was followed by an equally successful career as a politician. Schwarzenegger joined the Republican Party and was elected Governor of California in 2003. In 2006 he succeeded in being re-elected. In 2010, he had to give up the office, as California's electoral law only allows two terms for the office.

Schwarzenegger is also a great friend of chess and has promoted the game on many occasions.

The Terminator in trouble? Schwarzenegger plays chess with Garry Kasparov | Photo: G. Kasparov

Schwarzenegger is giving a simul during a sport's fair

Last year, the 73-year-old posted a funny picture on his Twitter account showing him playing chess with a donkey.

Chess with a donkey | Photo: A. Schwarzenegger

Now Schwarzenegger invited a much stronger chess partner into his home. The mixed martial arts champion Henry Cejudo and the once youngest super heavyweight world champion of all time Mike Tyson visited "Arnie" at his home in Brentwood, which is not far from Santa Monica, where the legendary Piatigorsky tournaments were held in 1963 and 1966.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's home

Mike Tyson also likes to play chess and the two heavyweights were able to fight it out on the 64 squares.

Afterwards, there was a game of miniature golf. Henry Cejudo captured the whole event in pictures and posted them on his Instagram account. As a reward, he was allowed to wield the sword from Conan, the Barbarian.

By the way, Arnold Schwarzenegger's birthplace in Thal has been converted into a Schwarzenegger Museum, and the director of this museum is the former Junior State Chess Champion and chess organiser Andrea Schmidbauer.

There is also a video of the heavyweight chess match Schwarzenegger vs Tyson:

Translation from German: Johannes Fischer


André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


Rules for reader comments


Not registered yet? Register

adbennet adbennet 4/25/2021 07:38
Kenney wrote: "if they woulda let em fight"

Biting another boxer during a fight might have had something to do with that. Not any woman nor Don King was responsible for that, only Mr. Tyson himself.


If Carlsen bit another chessplayer on the ear during a game, I would expect FIDE to strip him of his title, and not to allow him to play for a while.
Kenney Kenney 4/25/2021 12:32
It's a nice article. I'd feel a little disrespected if I was Iron Mike, though. Both of these guys are great role models. Mike might have had a rough start, but he worked his ass off the get where he is today.
I was always a huge fan of Arnold's too. He also worked extremely hard to get where he's at.
The problem I have, though is that the article gushes all over arnold for about 2/3 of it, and Iron Mike is barely mentioned. It speaks about the donkey about as much as it speaks about Mike.
Mike is in my opinion, the greatest Heavyweight Champion of all time in boxing. Depending on what categories you use to rank him. He was and is my favorite. And he is the most exciting boxer I ever watched, because you always knew, a knockout could happen in the next three seconds. The only thing that stopped him was a couple of women. One screwed his head up and one set em up. I think he coulda knocked out ten more boxers, if they woulda let em fight. Oh, and don "the troll" king never helped matters.
You're the greatest champ. Makes me happy to see you doing well these days. You earned it!!!
lajosarpad lajosarpad 4/24/2021 12:47
@chessdrummer sure, he (she?) is very strong. He (she?) can eat five carrots simultaneously without looking at them. How many among us can do a blind simul of 5?
luxtor luxtor 4/24/2021 04:33
The presentation of the information contained in Opening Encylopaedia 2021 was outstanding, which motivated me to purchase it, which I will do in couple of minutes.
chessdrummer chessdrummer 4/23/2021 10:01
@lajosarpad Is Lulu strong?
adbennet adbennet 4/23/2021 04:14
Mike Tyson's posture leaning over the board is echoing that of a young Arnold Schwarzenegger, in the photo on the wall.
mark ayers mark ayers 4/23/2021 12:11
I heard the donkey didn't notate the game, and was unable to prove a draw...
lajosarpad lajosarpad 4/23/2021 11:01
Nice article! The name of the donkey is Lulu.