photo from MTV News
Heath Ledger’s talent as an actor was considerable: he has been compared to Marlon Brando and, with his earlier death, to James Dean. In Western Australia, where he grew up, he was a child actor, but he also exhibited many other talents, among them chess.
A profile of Ledger in Current Biography says that in his youth, “he had been involved in numerous sports and other activities: he was the state junior chess champion at age 10 and a junior go-kart racing champion, played hockey for the state team, and dabbled in cricket.”
In an interview last November, Ledger discussed his chess playing on MTV:
MTV: I hear you play a lot of chess in Washington Square Park.
Heath Ledger: Yeah. I’ve played since I was a kid. I play at least one game a day.
MTV: That’s dedication.
Ledger: Yeah, or obsession.
MTV: Smoking and chess?
Ledger: Yeah, they go hand in hand.