Hockey and Football at the chess board

9/18/2016 – If you thought the three activities hockey, football and chess don’t mix, think again. During the summer break, the Doprastav Bratislava Chess Club (Slovakia) organized a chess exhibition match between hockey players and footballers. This match between big names of the sport in Slovakia, included such players as Miroslav Šatan, a hockey player who was world champion and even won a Stanley Cup. His personal love for chess motivated him to help make this unlikely event possible. Illustrated report with a mind-boggling video.

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Report by Stanislav Vlcek

All photos by Michal Vrba

The Hockey team’s captain was Miroslav Šatan. and one must note how remarkable it is that the Slovak hockey legend, World Champion in 2002 and holder of the 2008/2009 Stanley Cup took the time for this during his hectic preparation period for the World Cup, where he works as the general manager of Team Europe.

Legendary Slovak hockey player, Miro Šatan, helped greatly in making the project a reality with his enthusiasm and name

He was taught, at around eight years old, to play chess by his father together with his brother. This hobby from childhood he recalled many years later during his NHL career, and he bought at that time the widespread chess program Chessmaster and often trained with it during long shifts gaps between matches. The skill level he acquired would be enough to compete satisfactorily in amateur chess competitions were he so inclined.

The organizers and hockey team

Also, thanks to Miro’s enthusiasm for the cause, we welcomed in our club’s playing hall another World Champion and legend from HC Slovan Bratislava, Radoslav Hecl as well as the extremely successful Slovak hockey coach, Ján Filc, who twice led the Slovak hockey team to medals at the World Championships. Completing this quartet of hockey players was Marian Butowski, who still plays actively. For the final match another star came to visit us, Michal Sersen, the defender of HC Slovan Bratislava and Slovak national team, who missed the start of KHL (Kontinental Hockey League) because of a leg injury from the World Championship in St. Petersburg 2016.

The players also brought their families, encouraging the development of chess

Chess is hungry work!


Want to really see something that will blow your mind? Check out this amazing video. Be sure to watch it full screen!

The football team was also filled with celebrities. The Football team’s captain was Milan Kusalík, former midfielder of Inter Bratislava and Artmedia Petrzalka. On the first board, he ceded his place to Milan Strelec, probably also because of his dangerous chess name (The bishop piece is called Strelec in Slovak), another former striker of Artmedia Petrzalka. During the 2005/06 season, the team was as yet but a second division Slovak football club, but advanced to the Group stage of the Champions League, where it defeated the famous FC Porto on their home pitch. To this day, it remains the only victory of the Slovak club at this level.

The organizers and the football team

Also joining the Football team was Marián Zeman, whose name is associated mainly with Slovan Bratislava, with whom he won the Czechoslovak league title in 1991/92. As defense, he played for the Slovak national team in 25 matches, and even scored two goals. The younger generation of footballers was represented by Martin Dobrotka (two-time Slovak Champion wearing the Slovan Bratislava jersey) and Peter Augustin. The team also held a secret trump card on the bench in Rafael Tománek, former football player of Inter Bratislava and a longtime active member of our chess club.

Martin Dobrotka is a two-time Slovak champion in football

Although the encounter ended in a convincing 12-4 triumph for the Hockey team, led by Miro Šatan, the final duel Šatan - Tománek ended with the victory of the experienced chess matador Rafa. A special tip of the hat goes to Miro Satan, who refused a three-fold repetition of the position early in the game, preferring to play for the win in an advantageous position. Unfortunately for him, his advantage gradually dissipated, and he eventually lost in the endgame where Rafa’s experience decided it.

The final between Miro Šatan and Rafael Tománek

While Rafael Tománek won the game, the hockey team, led by Miro Šatan took the match 12-4

The crosstable and scores

A final group shot of all the participants, their families, and the organizers


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jpmoldovan jpmoldovan 9/20/2016 08:00
Satan may be the 7th-best Slovakian player ever, behind the Stastny brothers, Peter Bondra, Marian Hossa & Marian Gaborik.

Btw, Jaromir Jagr, #3 on the all-time scoring list, has played for 8 teams!

jpmoldovan jpmoldovan 9/20/2016 07:37
@KevinC... Mark Recchi played for 7 teams. Paul Coffey played for 9.
KevinC KevinC 9/20/2016 04:51
@gmwdim, Legends don't play for 7 different professional teams. I stand by my assessment.
gmwdim gmwdim 9/19/2016 04:05
Besides, he was more than merely a "solid professional" - he had a 40 goal season with the Sabre and was a 2-time NHL all star.
gmwdim gmwdim 9/19/2016 04:01
A 2600 GM would be considered "legendary" within his local community.
wlk1977 wlk1977 9/19/2016 12:16
Term legend has justification in this case. He is already retired, but currently manages Team Europe in World Cup. Perhaps he was not chosen accidentally. He also holds Rad Ľudovíta Štúra, high Slovak state honor, very rare to be given to active sportsmen, but he got it in 2000, on the peak of his career.
radegoist radegoist 9/19/2016 10:26
He is a legend in the Slovak republic like Dominik Hasek in the Czech republic. In addition, a legend is a legend regardless if 100yrs old or one day.
KWRegan KWRegan 9/19/2016 07:58
Miro Šatan played several seasons in Buffalo. Any 2600 could be "legendary" if he were locally as colorful...of course we had a much wilder *character* from the old Czech half of the realm, Dominik Hasek.
jpmoldovan jpmoldovan 9/19/2016 07:08
@ribbit... Do you mean Petr Nedved?
ribbit ribbit 9/19/2016 02:19
Nice read. Wonder if Pavel Nedved plays chess? #legend
sshivaji sshivaji 9/19/2016 02:18
Maybe 2600 today, but world champion in 2002. Former Legend?
KevinC KevinC 9/19/2016 01:34
Legendary? I think not. He was a solid professional, but calling him legendary would be like calling any 2600 GM "legendary".