In 1996, after several years as one of the world’s most active simultaneous players Hamilton decided to try and break the Guinness World Record for most games of chess played continuously which at the time was held by Grandmaster Vlastimil Hort of Czechoslovakia. Hort had set the previous record by playing 663 opponents continuously.

The rules governing the event stipulated that players participating in the event had to be tournament strength players, there were no breaks for eating and the few restroom breaks permitted were timed to avoid allowing rest.

Starting at 10:00 AM on Friday, Hamilton faced opponents all day and evening on Friday, all Friday night and well into Saturday afternoon. After 28 hours Hamilton broke Hort’s record by mid-afternoon on Saturday and continued to play an additional 60 opponents in the next 2.5 hours to set a new world record of 704 opponents played continuously. Hamilton had a 94% winning record against tournament level opposition that included several strong masters.

Earlier that same week Hamilton had taken a red-eye from Phoenix to New York and then drove overnight from New York to Canada. Speaking with the press following the event, Hamilton jokingly explained that he “practiced” for the event by “going without sleep” leading into it.

Photo -- Event being played.

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