One model and two bookmakers – together 4 winners
Christian Maier, who I felt was my best friend at the time (I don’t mind him being my best friend to this day), came from Freiburg. And celebrating birthdays together became a tradition at some point. So I inevitably had the pleasure of getting to know Freiburg, his hometown, one day. It’s really beautiful there. The location alone, in the middle of the Black Forest, with the mountains all around. As a “walled-in” Berliner, for many years I didn’t really know what the word “surrounding countryside” meant. In the big city, you only have the big city everywhere and all the time. But in Berlin you only had city dwellers inside. And a wall all around.
So I visited C. once in 1982, this time in the summer, without a birthday. Together with our friends Georg Siegel and Michel Rijnbergen, a Dutchman, we wanted to go to a weekend tournament in Klausen (Chiusa, South Tyrol). For this we needed a car. We wanted to borrow Georgie’s parents’ old R4.
Now we young lads first had to convince the lenders that we were fit for such a long and strenuous trip and that they would get their car back safely undamaged. And after all, I was a witness: C. had already had his driving licence for three days.
Now this alone was unsuitable as an argument in our estimation. Especially since he didn’t have much opportunity to train in the three days, because he didn’t have a car. So one could say that apart from the few driving lessons and the test, he had not driven a car at all. So that left Georgie, the Misch and me. The parents knew about Georgie’s (non-existent) driving skills. And I can well imagine that it might sound a little exaggerated — given the fact that Misch and I didn’t even have driving licences yet either — when we spoke of “a total of three licence-tested passengers” to substantiate our undoubted ability. Who invented that stupid term “white lie”? Anyway, we reached our first destination, we got the car.
For the second destination, the journey from Freiburg to Klausen, we still had to survive a few adventures. No motorway, only mountains. You have to reckon with 8 hours of driving time, even if it’s only 450 kilometres. We set off in the evening, stopping briefly at the home of the twins Flora and Fauna, no, nonsense, Flora and Susanne in St.Peter, who had prepared some snacks for us. I also learned a few words of Badisch that evening. So we “geveschpert”. That’s what it’s called. Then, around midnight, we drove on towards Klausen.
And this drive alone was adventurous enough. After a few mountain crossings, C. came to the conclusion that it would be nonsensical to waste the precious petrol on downhill runs and leave the engine running. So the engine was switched off without further ado. Now the increasing speed must have gradually irritated him and he wanted to reduce the speed. What do you do then? Yes, that’s right, you step on the brakes. Only the effect was essentially absent. Some were already laboriously recalling long-forgotten prayers, and I had just thought up the comforting words that our descent would end at the very latest at the centre of the earth, when the braking power assistance not provided by the engine was taken over by a country road boundary pillar and the roadside ditch behind it.
A brief inspection of the car revealed that, at least in the dark, no external damage could be detected, the “rescue pillar” was unceremoniously loaded, virtually as a trophy, the engine was ready to resume its service and started up. Nobody was injured, the journey continued. The fact that we briefly touched a mountain in a narrower passage somewhere in the further course of the journey can’t do any harm to an old R4 and a few hard-boiled half-breeds.
An R4 can’t draw on the resources of an excessive amount of horsepower either. And four adults, at least outwardly halfway grown, including luggage, represent a not inconsiderable load. And in the mountains, logically, it’s not always downhill. Once, when we had to start uphill, the car just didn’t want to go. Well, that gave C. the opportunity to give us a taste of one of the skills he had acquired during his driving lessons: Starting with the handbrake. Convincing! Already in the 6th attempt we were up to speed again! And the traffic lights set up there for pure driving practice (or was it even chicanery?) only just showed red again as we passed.
In any case, we arrived in Klausen in the morning, quite exhausted. We could not move into our rooms until noon. So we tried to sleep a little in the car. A futile endeavour. A cup of coffee in a pub kept our spirits up. At noon, we could finally get into our rooms and slept for almost two hours in a real bed.
Afterwards we went to the tournament hall. Now, you don’t see women at chess tournaments too often, at that time maybe with a chance of 1/100. But who we met and got to know there was most remarkable and no less exciting: Brigitta Cimarolli. I also like to admit it. I was a regular Penthouse “reader” during those years. And it was not overly difficult to recognise her. Seeing a model in the flesh is different from seeing a photo. One has the sight then including the soft knees. She was a feast for the eyes, an eye-catcher, without question a man’s dream. I still remember this first sight, the short, white pleated skirt, which left enough space to look at the so wonderfully shaped, naturally recognisably long and well tanned legs, rounded off with the matching boots. Wow! But where was I looking? Into the, albeit equally beautiful, eyes, of course. However, that didn’t help my knees in the first instance, on the contrary.
Later, she hosted numerous chess programmes and is still praised today as a gifted chess master. Without wanting to offend her: Her pure chess skills are at least slightly inferior to her natural visual talents. Mind you, only slightly. And in this case, for once, I don’t expect a complaint.
However, I can prove to you with the following story that she really knows her chess. It only needs a little introduction, so be patient.
I had my first encounter with a betting slip a few weeks before. The provider was called SSP overseas betting. Christian had shown me the slip and said he had an account there. We could bet together sometime. We picked four games and bet 10 DM on them. Three games right, one wrong, Liverpool of all places, the last one still open on Sunday afternoon, we were so to speak already shopping with the money, in the home game against Southampton, a 1.40, the smallest odds. The game ended 1-1, the money was gone. Still, it made me think for the first time about the nature of betting and about odds. How do odds come about? Why is it allowed/necessary to combine? And so on (more on this in the chapter “How does an odds arise”).
Nevertheless, I used my naïve insights together with Christian for the first time that evening at this tournament in Klausen. In the afternoon was the preliminary round, in which one had to qualify for the final, which took place the next day. Qualifying should not be a problem, at least for Georgie, C. and me, and it was not. And even the Misch made it. In the evening there was a wine festival to which all tournament participants were invited.
Well, other great artists have also relied, hoped, built or referred to the occasional inspiring effect of women (and I’m really not a little fool at all; you decide which words need to be emphasised).
Unfortunately, the effect failed to materialise in my case. But what are friends for? C., the (then still) new star in the sky of solo entertainers, always knew how to attract attention grandiosely and playfully.
So he had the idea: we offer odds on the tournament. Odds on winning the tournament. I don’t know how he knew that I would have had the same idea a second later, but it didn’t matter now. C. is multi-talented, I refer again to my one-sided talent (my seven hobbies? Sex and boozing and not every joke written is also good, if it would be good in any form at all). Nevertheless, I was able to intervene and be supportive here.
We had seen on a betting slip at SSP how odds were offered there for the winner of Formula 1. So, in a certain analogy, we simply wrote down odds, probabilities were not (yet) an issue. The decisive thing was anyway: the plan worked. The attention of all the participants was suddenly drawn to our table. Brigitta Cimarolli also seemed interested and — picked her tournament favourite. The 10 Swiss francs were supposed to bring her a payout of 70 francs if she won. Who did she choose? Who became the winner? Just a moment!
The next day the final. C. and I had agreed to split the prize money anyway, and that didn’t just apply to this tournament. Georgie was not part of the sharing agreement. He was just too strong, according to him, above all he had a gigantic self-confidence (I went to a skat tournament with him a little later. Over 100 participants. He said he would win the tournament. And he did. 600 DM. There are people like that…).
I had another form of luck. Namely, that of meeting Mrs. Cimarolli’s friend and companion in the course of the tournament. And that was luck in two respects: she showed herself to be an interested spectator. Surely just a sneaky diversion, cunningly planned by my opponent. I was allowed to assume that he had already managed to win a few tournaments in this way. But that didn’t change the “feeling of happiness” in the least. Distraction or not, it was there.
We should probably ask the doctor “Otto” about the processes taking place in my body during the game. He knows all about it. What comes out when I try to explain it, you can read here: Cerebellum to cerebrum: We have to win this game… Eye to cerebrum: I don’t see any pieces here… Wait a minute, one, 91-63-92, …Cerebrum to Blood: You’re needed up here…. Cerebrum to glands: Prepare adrenaline output… Cerebrum to eye: The board is there, in the middle in front of us…. Cerebrum to corpus cavernosum, yes, that means you, comb: only if we lose…. Cerebrum to nose: smell away! Cerebellum to cerebrum: stay on task…. Cerebrum to glands: I need more adrenalin! And so on. It must have somehow ended like this: Cerebellum to cerebrum: If we move the knight to g6 now, he will give up… Cerebrum to hand: Move the knight to g6! And again cerebrum to hand: Accept congratulations… Cerebrum to eye: Look where you want. Cerebellum to all: That was easy. Cerebrum to tongue: Order two beers and a glass of wine! Ear to cerebrum: “I heard water, not wine!” But no wine, for a lady, at that hour.
In the period that followed, I continued to swim on the wave of euphoria and thus success, probably also as a consequence of unsuccessful adrenaline depletion. I was hardly to be stopped and actually reached 2nd-3rd place. Whether C. was guided by similar feelings is not known. But he was the one with whom I was allowed to share the prize.
And who won the whole tournament? Georg Siegel, of course.
All three of us danced arm in arm on the stage at the prize-giving ceremony. You can let yourself be celebrated and celebrate yourself. Life is wonderful!
And there was another winner: Brigitta Cimarolli. She was the only one who correctly predicted the winner of the tournament! There you see what I meant: a real (chess) expert. Before it came to an argument about who was allowed to hand her the prize, we had a quick puzzle, and this passage also falls into the category of “poetic licence used with the stylistic device of exaggeration”. 70 Swiss francs, “here you go, and congratulations on your brilliant assessment.” When and where will we meet again and do you have plans for tonight was out of the question. My inner excuse to conceal fear and inhibition: She was with someone, after all.
Nevertheless, we had earned 100 Swiss francs, just with the bets. Plus the prices. And we were in Italy, the land of the lire. We were real millionaires after that. We were paid a total of almost exactly 1 million lire! And all that in 10,000 notes. The equivalent of about DM 2000 at the time.
So we went back to Freiburg and had another good visit with the twins. We showed them the money, which was quite a lot. They were immediately of the opinion that it couldn’t be worth anything. How were we supposed to get that much money? Right, we confirmed, it’s worthless, you can burn it. The girls burned a note. Some feminine intuition made them blow it out just before it finally burned. We advised her to take the note to the bank tomorrow and ask what it was worth. In fact, as we learned later, she was even paid the equivalent value, the watermark had been preserved! However, the fact that she received 20 DM for it made her pale, according to the reporter. Because: Have you ever burnt 20 DM?