Frederic's mates - How I met Mikhail Tal

by Arne Kaehler
10/1/2022 – Mikhail Tal was the third of the twelve World Chess Champions whom Frederic met. In our new weekly series he tells us how he met and befriended the top players, and the adventures they experienced together. Frederic has written a new book, together with Professor Christian Hesse, with fascinating chess stories from the last 50 years. It will appear (first in German) in October.

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Frederic's Mates

Through the years, Frederic Friedel had many encounters with chess players, and he became friends with most of the World Chess Champions. Frederic recounts various anecdotes and stories about the experiences from each of his mates in chronological sequence.


White to move and win

Plaskett's Puzzle Solution

Schachgeschichten - a chess book by Frederic Friedel and Christian Hesse

In tandem with the renowned chess expert Prof. Christian Hesse, he lets us share his encounters with world champions Mikhail Botvinnik, Mikhail Tal, Boris Spassky, Bobby Fischer, Anatoly Karpov, Garry Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik, Viswanathan Anand, Magnus Carlsen.

The initial edition of Schachgeschichten is in German and can be ordered on Amazon Germany. In the book sample ("Blick ins Buch" you can read the foreword by Garry Kasparov, and endorsements by Kramnik, Judit Polgar, Hou Yifan, Helmut Pfleger (with additional blurbs by Magnus Carlsen and Vishy Anand on the book cover). They essentially confirm that Fred's stories about them are enjoyable, accurate and approved.

Frederic's co-author is Christian Hesse. In his foreword to Schachichten Garry Kasparov writes:

Christian Hesse is an internationally known Professor of Mathematics with a PhD from Harvard. He has thought about the relation between chess and mathematics for decades. It is fascinating how deep the connections between these two human endeavours are... Frederic and Christian are a dream team that has succeeded in writing a chess book like no other. It is full of entertaining and heart-warming stories, on and off the board, and it introduces a new genre of wonderfully entertaining logical chess puzzles.


Arne Kaehler, a creative mind who is passionate about board games in general, was born in Hamburg and learned to play chess at a young age. By teaching chess to youth teams and creating chess-related videos on YouTube, Arne was able to expand this passion and has even created an online course for anyone who wants to learn how to play chess. Arne writes for the English and German news sites, but focuses mainly on content for the ChessBase media channels.


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RichardEaston RichardEaston 10/4/2022 05:07
@frederic, I almost beat a 2400 player in round 1 of the 2006 US Open. Alas, I lost the gamein time trouble.

You should appear on Your stories of the Soviet players would be of great interest and he’s happy to promote a book. Ian Sanders asks intelligent questions and lets the guest talk. I enjoyed talking about the early space program and my father’s work on GPS.
Mr_Toxic Mr_Toxic 10/2/2022 12:58
That answers my question, Thx. I look forward to seeing it in English.
Frederic Frederic 10/2/2022 10:13
@RichardEaston: The only time I beat a titled player was when an IM came over (in my chess prime), drank copious amounts of beer, while we played half a dozen games. The encounter ended 1:5 for me, and him almost completely wasted. The second time was in a car. I was driving and played a blindfold game against IM David Levy, forcing him to start 1.e4. Then I sprung an opening trap on him, one he didn't know. But David simply played on, in a losing position, and ground me down. These guys are just very, very strong.
BeFreeBusy BeFreeBusy 10/2/2022 09:35
The shoe puzzle was nice, but disappeared? First silly answer came instantly and the real answer took perhaps a minute. It's one of those either you get it or you don't.
sshivaji sshivaji 10/2/2022 09:01
Wow, the book looks really good. I am going to learn German just for reading this book. I can't wait for October 4.
RichardEaston RichardEaston 10/2/2022 04:04
Wonderful stories! I took a summer course at Cambridge University. One evening I went to the Student Union and played blitz. My opponent was drinking a pint almost every game. It had no effect whatsoever on his play.
Frederic Frederic 10/1/2022 11:49
@Mike Magnan: Christian and I submitted the book in English and German (we are both perfectly bilingual). After the German publisher released the book in German, we now hope they will get the English edition out by the end of the year. The same applies to my second book, for Penguin, on Logic for Children, which I submitted last month: first German, then English (and possibly many other languages).

For all of you here's a puzzle from the final chapter. I have tested more than two dozen young GM super-talents (and other personalities) on it. Amazing how many are stumped.

A man travels a lot and stays in hotels. There he always locks one shoe in the room safe before he sleeps. Why? Hint: if you find the solution (which you should not reveal here) you might well end up doing the same.
arzi arzi 10/1/2022 05:41
Plaskett's puzzle was really devilish, great! Thanks.
Mike Magnan Mike Magnan 10/1/2022 04:21
I'll trade you Cartoons for it even....haha
kapoknyakapan kapoknyakapan 10/1/2022 04:12
beatifull in move
Karsten Müller Karsten Müller 10/1/2022 04:11
Mike Magnan: I agree. And it seems that Frederic agrees as well (quoted from the comments on the Euwe part):
Frederic 9/12/2022 10:40
Yes, working on that, Metaphysician. We have done full translations - well, Christian did. I wrote my part in English and translated it (myself) into German.
Mike Magnan Mike Magnan 10/1/2022 04:05
Heck.....I can't read German...I know..sad. But any Latin based language would make this a really fun book to read. Please ...Make this stuff for US...too. Thanks.