Good News in History, February 17

25 years ago today, Russian chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov completed his defeat of the IBM supercomputer ‘Deep Blue’ in a six-game chess match.

Kasparov had been the youngest-ever World Chess Champion in 1985 at the age of 22, a title he held for 15 years (another record). From 1984 until his retirement in 2005, Kasparov was ranked No.1 in the world—for 255 months overall, with a peak rating of 2851.

Considered by many to be the greatest chess player of all time, Kasparov is also the author of How Life Imitates Chess, and other books.

He’s an outspoken activist for democracy and fair elections. Living in New York City and currently Chairman for the Human Rights Foundation, in 2017, he founded the Renew Democracy Initiative, an American political group promoting and defending liberal democracy worldwide. (1996)

Photo credits: (1980) GFHund, CC license / (1985) S.M.S.I., Inc. – Owen Williams, The Kasparov Agency, Copyright 2007

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • Puccini’s Italian opera Madama Butterfly premiered—the heart-wrenching love story of a beautiful geisha who sacrifices her family, religion, and more, for her American husband, who buys the 15-year-old’s hand in marriage while stationed in Japan–with no intention of taking her home to America (1904)
  • The Armory Show opened in New York City as the first large exhibition of modern art in America featuring the impressionists of Europe (1913)
  • The world’s first comic superhero, The Phantom, published (1936)
  • Pope Pius XII declared the patron saint of television: Saint Clare [1193–1253] of Assisi (1958)
  • Elvis Presley won his first Gold record for his second LP ‘Elvis‘, making The King the first recording artist to have two albums go straight to No.1 in the same year (1960)
  • Kosovo declared its independence (2008)

Happy Birthday to Michael Jordan, who turns 58 today. Considered by many to be the greatest basketball player of all-time, he’s a 6-time NBA champ and 5-time MVP.

One legendary “double-nickel” performance (scoring 55 points in a night) just five games into his comeback from retirement to baseball, reminded everyone of his reign as King of the Air.  (1963)

Happy 49th Birthday to guitarist and singer Billie Joe Armstrong who co-founded Green Day, the band whose anti-war album, American Idiot, won a Grammy and six other music awards.

Billie Joe Armstrong-2006-CC-Lloyd Morgan
Photo by Lloyd Morgan, CC

He wrote his first song when he was five years old and met his future bandmate in the lunch room of his elementary school, a partner with whom he later achieve massive commercial success. (1972)

And, 96 years ago, Hal Holbrook, the great actor, director, and writer was born. He received critical acclaim for playing Mark Twain in his original one-man stage show. He won the 1966 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for that role—and five Emmys throughout his career.

Holbrook As Twain, photo by University of Houston; and in 2009 by – CC licenses

He gained international fame for playing the anonymous reporter source ‘Deep Throat’ in the film, All the President’s Men about Nixon’s crimes. He also played Lincoln in a TV miniseries and appeared in films like Wall Street, The Firm, and Men of Honor. Holbrook earned a SAG and Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Sean Penn’s Into the Wild. As a television actor, he starred in and directed many episodes of Designing Women, playing opposite his real-world former wife of 26 years, Dixie Carter.

In 2017, six years after writing his memoir, Harold: The Boy Who Became Mark Twain, Holbrook announced his retirement from six decades of playing the Twain role, but did appear in the final season of Bones in 2017 at age 92. He passed away in January, 2021. WATCH him as Mark Twain giving hilarious opinion on Cats, Congress, and Exercise … (1925)

SHARE The Milestones, Memories, and Music…

Leave a Comment