Many celebrities played and enjoyed chess. Some of them were actually very good chess players. An interesting fact is that most of the Nobel Prize winners who played chess were in the fields of physics, literature and economics. A number of the high technology company founders play chess. Research on chess in schools demonstrates that playing chess helps children improve their logical and abstract thinking, decision-making and creativity. Might there be a correlation between chosen careers and early exposure to chess? Leading in your field takes courage, a lot of energy, strong intuition, adaptability, desire to achieve, and persistence. People persist because they are passionate about creating things that matter and love what they do.
This is only a brief list of famous people who played or are playing chess:
USA-based business leaders who play chess: Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft, born in Seattle), Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft, born in Seattle), Lawrence Ellison (co-founder of Oracle, born in New York City), Roelof Botha (venture capitalist at Sequoia Capital, early investor in YouTube, born in South Africa), Peter Andreas Thiel (co-founder of PayPal, early Facebook investor, born in Germany), Pierre Omidyar (founder of eBay, French-born Iranian-American entrepreneur), Michael Birch (co-founder of Bebo, born in England), Barney Pell (co-founder of Powerset, born in Hollywood), David Cowan(Bessemer Ventures, co-founder Verisign, raised in NY), Auren Hoffman (Silicon Valley entrepreneur, CEO RapLeaf, born in New York), Carl Icahn (chairman of Imclone, raised in New York), George Soros (Wall Street investor, born in Hungary).
Artists and musicians: Bono (U2), Madonna, John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Guy Ritchie, Frank Sinatra, Salvador Dali, Ludwig van Beethoven, David Bowie, Ringo Starr, Bob Dylan, Sting, Enrico Caruso, Ray Charles, Cher, Frederic Chopin, Felix Mendelssohn, David Oistrakh, Sergei Prokofiev, Dmitri Shostakovich, Richard Strauss, Giuseppe Verdi, Marcel Duchamp.
Movie and TV stars: Will Smith, Woody Allen, Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, Ben Affleck, Salma Hayek, Nicholas Cage, Christina Ricci, Bill Cosby, Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Keanu Reeves, Antonio Banderas, Steve Martin, Anthony Hopkins, Matt Damon, Susan Sarandon, Danny DeVito, Martin Lawrence, Brooke Shields, Marlon Brando, Marlene Dietrich, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Ingmar Bergman, Mel Brooks, Alfred Hitchcock, Ian Holm, Harvey Keitel, Ben Kingsley, Stanley Kubrick, David Letterman, James Mason, Paul Newman, Chuck Norris, Edward Norton, Bill O'Reilly, Al Pacino, Jason Priestley, Tim Robbins, Kevin Spacey, David Spade, Sylvester Stallone, Oliver Stone, Barbra Streisand, John Wayne, Robin Williams.
Nobel Prize winners: Albert Einstein (physics), Albert Michelson (physics), Heike Kamerlingh Onnes (physics), Max Planck (physics), Carl Wieman (physics), Zhores Alferov (physics), William Lawrence Bragg (physics), Percy Bridgman (physics), Richard Feynman (physics), Peter Kapitza (physicist), Sinclair Lewis (literature), Gabriel Garcia Marquez (literature), William Yeats (literature), Elias Canetti (literature), John Cockroft (literature), Samuel Beckett (literature), Ivo Andric (literature), Isaac Singer (literature), Henryk Sienkiewicz (literature), William Golding (literature), John Steinbeck (literature), John Nash (economics), John Harsanyi (economics), Edward Prescott (economics), Gerard Debreu (economics), John Harsanyi (economics), James Heckman (economics), Simon Herbert (economics), Dudley Herschbach (chemistry), Sir Robert Robinson (chemistry), Herbert Sir Frederick Soddy (chemistry), John Cornforth (chemistry), Bertrand Russell (philosopher), Bernard Katz (medicine).
Writers: William Shakespeare, George Bernard Shaw, Isaac Asimov, Charles Dickens, Lewis Carroll, Rudyard Kipling, Edgar Allen Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, Honore de Balzac, Miguel de Cervantes, Jack London, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anton Chekhov, Maxim Gorky, Johann Goethe, Poul Anderson, Martin Amis, Cleveland Amory, Shalom Aleichem, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Vladimir Nabokov, George Orwell, Boris Pasternak, Alexander Pushkin, Salman Rusdie, Lev Tolstoy, Roger Zelazny, Oscar Wilde.
Supermodels: Carmen Kass, Heidi Klum.
Sport stars: Kobe Bryant (NBA), Wilt Chamberlain (NBA), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (NBA), Larry Bird (NBA), Danny Ainge (NBA), Latrell Sprewell (NBA), Steve Smith (NBA), Jason Williams (NBA), Gary Sheffield (baseball player in New York Yankees), LaVar Arrington (NFL linebacker of Washington Redskins), Curtis Martin (NFL running back), Anna Kournikova (tennis), John McEnroe (tennis), Roger Federer (tennis), Boris Becker (tennis), Jennifer Capriati (tennis), Ivan Lendl (tennis), Rafael Benitez (soccer manager), Rick Carlisle (NBA, coach of Indiana Pacers), Flip Saunders (NBA, coach of Detroit Pistons), Bill Walsh (football coach of San Francisco 49ers), Dominic Hasek (hockey), Vitaly Klitschko (boxer), Lennox Lewis (boxer), Mike Powell (long jump world record holder).
Royalty and Politicians: Al Gore (former US vice-president), Queen Elizabeth II (queen of England), Queen Elizabeth I (queen of England), King Louis IV (French King), Abraham Lincoln (US President), George Washington (US President), Napoleon Bonaparte (French Emperor), Winston Churchill (British Prime Minister), Theodore Roosevelt (US President), Jimmy Carter (US President), Thomas Jefferson (US President), Richard Nixon (US President), John Quincy Adams (US President), Mikhail Gorbachev (former USSR president), Boris Yeltsin (Russian leader), Jacques Chirac (French president), Queen Victoria (Queen of England), Czar Peter the Great (Russian Emperor), Josef Stalin (USSR leader), Yao Sui (Chinese Emperor), King Alfonso XIII (King of Spain), Akbar (Mongol Emperor), Cory Aquino (Philippine President), Arthur Balfour (British Prime Minister), King Stephan Bathory (King of Poland), Menachem Begin (Israeli Prime Minister), Empress Catherine II (Russian Empress), King Charles I (King of England), Fidel Castro (Cuban President), Muammar Gaddafi (Libya leader), Nikita Khruschev (USSR premier), Gamal Abdul Nasser (Egyptian leader), Anwar Sadat (Egyptian leader), Benjamin Netanyahu (Israeli Prime Minister), Arnold Schwarzenegger (actor and California governor), Henry Kissinger (American politician), La Fayette (military leader).
Other famous people: John Paul II (pope), Isaac Newton (physicist), Christopher Columbus (explorer), Barron Hilton (Chairman of Hilton Hotel Chain), Alan Turing (mathematician and inventor of the first chess computer), David Rockefeller (philanthropist), Baron Albert Rothschild (philanthropist), Giovanni Casanova (Italian playboy), Al Capone (criminal), Benjamin Franklin (American politician and inventor), Harry Houdini (escape artist), Sir Francis Bacon (philosopher), Karl Marx (German philosopher), Aristotle Onassis (Greek businessman), Joseph Pulitzer (newspaper publisher), Jean-Jacques Rousseau (philosopher), Jean-Paul Sartre (philosopher), Howard Stern (radio and TV personality), Voltaire (philosopher).