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Interesting Facts - Games

The traditional deck of playing cards are a veritable and most ingenious form of the calendar.
  • There are 52 weeks in the year and 52 playing cards
  • There are 13 weeks in each season and there are also 13 cards in each suit.
  • There are 4 seasons and 4 suits
  • There are 12 months of the year and 12 Court cards (those which have faces)
  • The Red cards represent the Day, the Black cards the Night
  • If you let the Jacks = 11, the Queens = 12, and the Kings = 13, then add up all the sums of 1 + 2 + 3 + …to 13 = 91 Multiply this by 4, for the 4 suits; 91 x 4 = 364 then add 1 that is the Joker and you will arrive at the number of days in the year.
Is that mere coincidence? Or a greater intelligence.

  • Of interest is the sum of the letters in all the names of the cards;
    Example: add up the letters in "one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, Jack, Queen, King" = 52!

    The Playing Cards in India are round.
    Dashavatara Ganjifa is played by three persons with 120 cards, mainly in Sawantwadi in Maharashtra, India, although it is played by five persons in Bishnupur, West Bengal. There are 10 suits of 12 cards each; the suits correspond to the ten avatars of Vishnu.

  • The longest possible chess game is 5949 moves.
  • The estimated number of electrons in this universe is 10^79, whereas the number of unique games of chess is 10^120.
  • The longest Chess problem, mate in 290 moves, is a credit to Blathy, Otto (1886-1939)
  • The word “Checkmate” which is quite frequently used in chess takes its origin from a Persian phrase “Shah Mat” that means “the king is dead.”
  • Truly, the knight is very unpredictable since the number of possibilities of a Knight’s tour is over 122 million.
  • In 1973 a chess tournament win Cleveland was raided by the police. They arrested the director of the tournament as well as confiscated the chess sets based on the charges of permitting gambling and on the possession of gambling devices.
  • There are a total of eight different ways from the starting position to Mate in just two moves, whereas there are a total of 355 different paths to mate using three moves.
  • 269 moves are the longest Official Chess game that ended up a draw, and it was played between Nikolic and Arsovic in 1989.
  • The longest title holder of the World chess championship is Doctor Emanuel Lasker who belongs to Germany. He held this title longer than any other player in the history for 26 years and 337 days.
  • It was in 1280 in Spain that the new pawn move of advancing two squares on the first move in its place of one was introduced
  • 1090, Europe, the first ever Chessboards with dark squares and alternating lights appeared for the first time.
  • The youngest World chess champion ever was the Soviet player named as Garry Kasparov who was of 22 years and 210 days at that time in 1985.
  • Ever thought about the worst performance by a pro chess player? Macleod of Canada was considered as the worst performance player after he lost 31 games in 1889 in the New York double round robin.
  • The first chess board which could be folded was invented originally be a chess-loving priest. As the Church does not allow priests to play this game, so the smart priest hid the Chessboard by developing one which appeared quite similar to 2 books lying next to each other.
  • The 1st American to overthrow a Soviet player in an international tournament was Frank Marshall (1877-1944) in 1924, New York. He was the 1st master who played more than one hundred games and that too simultaneously. Moreover, he was the U.S champion for about thirty years. However, he only defended his title once after beating Ed Lasker (5-2) in 1923.
  • It was in November 1988, Long Beach, California that for the first time a computer program that was named as DEEP THOUGHT defeated an international grandmaster. Computers that are well advanced (i.e., highly programmed) at playing chess and are capable of beating 95 percent of all chess players well versed in the game.
  • One hundred Moves are the record of the moves without capture in a chess match between M. Walker and Thorton.
  • One can learn a lot of openings since there are more than one thousand different openings, which also include variations coupling openings or defences that one can master.

  • Mahjong is a popular ancient Chinese game which is more than a thousand years old that involves the use of tiles in a game of strategy, memory and skill.
  • A total of up to 144 tiles are typically used in a game of mahjong, featuring depictions of bamboo, circles and characters from numbers one to nine; as well as special symbols from seasons, winds, dragons and flowers.
  • The origins of mahjong are quite disputed and it is possible that the Chinese teacher Confucius designed the game around 500 BC; or the Chinese military invented it in the later 1800s; or it simply grew or was created out of other similar styled games.
  • Mahjong has previously had a gambling component that resulted in the Chinese government banning the game in China from 1949 to 1985, and the game was later reinstated without that element.
  • Mahjong became known to the English-speaking world around 1895, and began being imported in North America in the 1920’s, while the rules of the game were printed in English by various people causing the game to have many variations in the rules.
  • The general aim of the game is to score points primarily by ‘wooing’ or forming ‘mahjong’, which is done by achieving a specific set of combinations of tiles by picking them up, while others are discarded.
  • The first mahjong World Championships were held in Japan’s Mahjong Museum in 2002, and the competition was won by Mai Hatsune from Japan.
  • Generally a game of mahjong is played by four people over a series of rounds, although variants with two, three or even five players, are also played.
  • Gin and canasta are both descended from an Chinese game, Mah-jongg.

  • George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams were all avid collectors and players of Marbles. In their day, Marbles were called "small bowls" and were as popular with adults as with children.
  • Marbles were invented thousands of years ago and considered one of the oldest played games of time. They were a popular item in Ancient Egypt and Rome.
  • Marbles became commercially viable in the 1800s.
  • Marbles are often made by melting recycled glass, that is then cut into even portions and dropped onto moving rollers that allow the malleable glass to form balls as they cool.
  • Marbles, said to be named due to the stone that they were manufactured from in the past, have been historically made of clay, and they were also produced using glass or stone.
  • Marbles are most commonly made of glass, although steel, ceramic, plastic or clay is sometimes used.

  • Charles Darrow of Philadelphia developed the game in 1933 and sold it to Parker Brothers on March 19, 1935. A stenographer and actress, Elizabeth Magie, filed a legal claim for her similar “Landlord’s Game” in 1903, but Monopoly’s current owner, Hasbro, says: “The Monopoly game as we know it today was designed by Charles Darrow.”
  • The space on which a player has the greatest statistical chance of landing is Illinois Avenue. This is followed by the B & 0 Railroad, Free Parking, Tennessee Avenue, New York Avenue, and the Reading Railroad.
  • The original game Darrow sold to Parker Brothers contained items from his own home: A piece of oilcloth covered the board and the cards were handwritten. The houses and hotels were made from wooden molding scraps, and the die-cast tokens were inspired by Darrow’s nieces, who recommended metal charms from charm bracelets be used. The first 10 tokens were an iron, purse, lantern, race car, thimble, shoe, top hat, battleship, cannon and a rocking horse. The current standard version of the game includes eight tokens: battleship, top hat, Scottie dog, race car, thimble, boot, cat, and wheelbarrow.
  • Within a year of Monopoly’s release in the U.S., 35,000 copies of the game were being made each week, selling for $2 apiece.
  • There are 40 spaces on the Monopoly board and 28 properties (22 color-coded streets, four railroads, and two utility spaces). There are 32 houses and 12 hotels.
  • To keep games shorter, a Speed Die was introduced into the standard game in 2008.
  • The total amount of money in a standard Monopoly game is $20,580.
  • Every few years, national champions from around the globe meet for the Monopoly World Championship tournament. The first winner was Lee Bayrd from the United States in 1973 in Liberty, New York. The most recent winner was Bjorn Halvard Knappskog from Norway in 2009, winning the game in 41 minutes, 30 seconds. This year’s championship will be held in September in Macau, China. The tournament has been held in Canada only once — in Toronto in 2000.
  • In 2008, nearly 3,000 Monopoly fans around the world set the world record for the most people playing the game at the same time.
  • In 1988, San Francisco jeweler Sidney Mobell created the most expensive Monopoly set in the world, consisting of 18 and 23-karat gold, and 42 diamonds. It was valued at $2 million.

    What many today consider a harmless—even quaint—form of entertainment was once considered a thief of children’s lunch-money. Upset by the lack of skill, prominent elements of chance, mafia ownership, and young customers, New York City mayor Fiorello La Guardia banned pinball in the early 1940s. He would even seize machines in raids and, along with New York’s Finest, use sledgehammers to destroy the pinball machines before dumping them in nearby rivers.

    History of Pinball Machines
  • 1700 – In the game of bagatelle, players use cue sticks to hit balls up an inclined playfield which rebound off pins into scoring holes.
  • 1871 – Patent awarded for Montague Redgrave’s “ball shooter” – a coiled spring ball launcher, similar to today’s plungers.
  • 1931 – Coin-operated pingame machines like Whiffle, and Baffle Ball surge in popularity. Pingames start to be referred as pinball machines.
  • 1933 – Pinball machines go electric. Pacific Amusements Company’s ‘Contact’ machine features electric bells and solenoids, adding momentum to the ball.
  • 1939 – American cities begin to outlaw pinball machines. As ‘games of chance’ they are classified as illegal gambling devices.
  • 1947 – Gottlieb’s Humpty Dumpty machine features the first electromechanical flippers, billed as “the greatest triumph in pingame history”.
  • 1976 – New York ban overturned. Editor Roger Sharpe proves pinball requires skill by correctly predicting a shot in front of journalists.
  • 1977 – Solid state microprocessors are introduced, bringing new game innovations, reliability and design elements.
  • 1991 – The Addams Family machine is released and becomes the most successful pinball game of all time.
  • 1999 – Pinball 2000 is launched, featuring interactive 3D holographic videogame characters. It achieves limited success but is discontinued.
  • 2010 – Just a handful of 201 pinball manufacturers remain, the largest being Stern Pinball, Inc. It produces three to four titles a year.

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