The Smartest Man in the East

Sure, you’ve heard of Ken Jennings, the guy who won 74 Jeopardy games in a row. But have you heard of Anatoly Vasserman? You should have, he’s quite a character.

He started gaining fame on Russian T.V. game shows such as What? Where? When? and Svoya Igra, a show similar to Jeopardy. In 2002 he finished a winning streak of 15 games in a row. Although it’s not as large of a streak as Jennings, it was still the largest for Russia in a decade, according to his Wikipedia page.

It makes sense that he had so much success on the trivia shows though. He graduated from Odessa in the 1970’s with a specialty in thermal physics. He currently works as a journalist.

After his television success, he became something of a cult celebrity, very similar to Chuck Norris. His extraordinary intellect paired with his frazzled beard and triple-layered vest has become the center of multiple jokes and exaggerated rumors. I found a joke page for him on Uncyclopedia that claims he created the world, studied kung-fu in Tibet, and is currently presiding as the headmaster at Hogwarts. As I stated before, there are numerous jokes on the page mimicking the form of our Chuck Norris jokes, one reads

Anatoly Wasserman invented the nuclear reactor in his childhood dismantling the juicer.

Not only does Wasserman have a distinct level of intelligence, but his appearance is just as unique. He regularly wears a heavily-pocketed vest that has many media sources and bloggers questioning, “What’s in it?” This article from English Russia provides a picture of some of the vest’s contents and mentions the rumors surrounding the apparel.

And the most interesting thing in this guy, of course besides his beard, is his vest. It has 26 pockets and weights 7 kilograms (~16 pounds). But what does Wasserman has in all of these pockets? Someone guesses that there are even oil or gold in them. Someone tells that the vest is a source of his mind power, and that Anatoly keeps rest of his brain there, because it’s so big that it can’t be placed in the head entirely.

Ria Novosti, a Russian News channel, featured an interview with him explaining why he decides to wear the vest.

I’ve already compared him Chuck Norris, but it’s clear that Anatoly Vasserman is an exceedingly unique individual despite any of his similarities to the former. I’d just like to see him go against Ken Jennings in a Jeopardy match, or at least team up with him!