Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Another Barav Victory

The masthead of Marmorosh's Ha'Sachmat (Tel Aviv), vol. 1 no. 1, March/April 1932.
Marmorosh had attempted to publish a chess magazine in 1932, named Ha'Shachmat -- literally 'The Chess', meaning, of course, simply 'Chess'. To the best of my knowledge this was the one and only issue.

However, it has some historical importance, in publishing games played in Palestine, or by Palestinian players, which would not have otherwise been known. One of these games -- published on p. 12 -- is by Israel Barav (Rabinovich). It was played against Braun [ph. spelling from the Hebrew], 'in a tournament in Berlin in 1931', as Marmorosh says.As usual for Barav, it was an enjoyable attacking game. The punctuation and annotation are Fritz 8's unless otherwise stated. We note that more about Barav can be found at this site.

Barav, Israel - Braun

​D00: 1. d4 d5: Unusual lines 

1. d4 d5 2. 3. e3 Nf6 3. Bd3 c5 4. c3 Nc6 5. f4 e6 6. Nd2 ('to prevent 6... Ne4' - Marmorosh) 6... Bd6 7. Nf3 a6 8. 0-0 b5 9. Ng5 Bd7 10. Kh1 h6 11. Nf3 b4 12. Ne5 Qa5 ​



​13. e4 dxe4? 


13... cxd4? 14. Nxc6! with 15. e5 -- Marmorosh; but Fritz thinks 13... bxc3! holds. 14. Nxe4 Nxe4 15. Bxe4 Qc7 16. dxc5! (Marmorosh; but Fritz prefers 16. Nxd7) 16...Bxc5 17. fxe5 bxc3 18. bxc3 0-0?


'This loses immediately' - Marmorosh, and Fritz agrees, to a nice combination:  ​19. Bxh6! Qxe5 (19... gxh6 20. Qg4+ and wins [Fritz] due to 21. Rf6 [Marmorosh]). 20. Bxg7! Kxg7 (20... Qxg7 21. Rf3) 21 Qxg4+ Black resigns (1-0).

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Zvi Bar-Shira, 1932 - 2016

Credit: http://bungalower.com/ 

We note sadly that our colleague in Israeli chess history, Zvi Bar-Shira, had passed away two days ago (Thursday). A reporter by profession, he was active in Israeli chess for over 60 years as a judge and organizer. For a Hebrew-language obituary by Sivan Hadad see here, from the ICF's web site.

Karff Visiting Israel

Image Credit: Chess Review, June/July 1942

We have occasionally mentioned Mona May Karff in this blog. Our correspondent, Moshe Roytman, notes that in the same article from Al Ha'Mishmar noted in the previous post (August 12th 1949, p. 8), Karff is mentioned -- in the language typical at the time for the Israeli press -- as the 'famous Israeli player', which apparently just happened to be 'USA [women's] champion for many years'. The article also adds that  and is 'currently in the country' (presumably on a family visit).

The implied, though not explicitly stated, reason for treating Karff as an Israeli "temporarily" in the USA despite the fact that she had left then-Palestine in the late 30s and settled in Boston for the rest of her life, is made clear by her obituary (see link above): she was the daughter of Aviv Ratner, a noted Zionist who later became one of Israel's richest citizens. It was at the time considered almost heretical to admit publicly that a person -- especially from a prominent Zionist family -- would prefer to live abroad.

'Meet our Masters': Moshe Blass, by H. Reed

Our frequent correspondent Moshe Roytman had sent us, a while ago, quite a few nice "finds" from the chess literature of the early state of Israel. A particularly interesting one is that Al Ha'Mishmar's chess column had run a 'meet our masters' series of pen portraits of Israeli masters. Here is their portrait of Moshe Blass -- From Al Ha'Mishmar, Aug. 12th, 1949, p. 8, by H. Reed [ph. spelling]. Below is our translation, and our comments in square brackets.

Meet Our Masters

We are beginning this week a series of articles about Israeli chess players. We wish to introduce the reader a series of players that are not known to the public and, especially, to the youth. This week we overview Moshe Blass.

Moshe Blass

Among the chess masters in the country there are players of international caliber, which have succeeded in many tournaments and matches.

One of them is Moshe Blass. Before arriving in the country, 17 years ago, he was one of the strongest players in Poland, often mentioned together with Rubinstein, Tartakover, Frydman [or Friedman - spelling is the same in Hebrew], McRechick [ph. spelling], Dr. Cohen and the late Przepiorka. In 1927, when Najodrf and Czerniak were young beginners [in Warsaw], he already won the Warsaw championship, after a brilliancy against P[aulino] Frydman. He played in the Olympiad twice for the strong Polish team: in 1928 in the Hague and in 1938 [sic - 1930 is correct] in Hamburg.

From 1933 he is part of the chess life in our country and for many years he had no equal, until younger forces like Foerder [Porat], Czerniak, and Aloni dethroned him.

His greatest victory was in 1935, in the international tournament arranged with the Maccabiah, when he came first before Foerder, Enoch, and the Viennese Glass, who recently returned to the country after many troubles [a hint that Glass ran away from Vienna to Shanghai in 1938, thus surviving the war].

Blass' style is superb, pure and classical, without entering opening complications. He shows his talent in the middle game, and his desire for beauty and perfection is evident in all his games.

As a man, Blass is modest, which made him popular with chess players.

Despite his age removing him from the tournament hall, it is a pleasure to see him next to his regular table in one of the coffee houses, beating strong opponents in offhand games.

The game added is Blass - Dobkin, Tel Aviv Championship, 1945 (Slav defense). According to the computer (Fritz 6), the game was more or less equal until Dobkin blundered, allowing mate in two, but it is still an interesting example. The analysis is by the editor of the chess column or Fritz 6, as indicated.

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. d4 d5 4. e3 e6 5. Nc3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3 dxc4 9. a4 b4 10. Ne4 Bb7 11. b3 c5 12. Nxf6+ gxf6 13. Bb2 cxd4 14. Nxd4 Nc5 15. Bc4 Rg8 16. Rg1 Rxg2 17. Rxg2 Bxg2 18. Qh5 Bd5 19. Rd1 Bxc4 20. bxc4 Qa5 21. Qf3 Rc8 22. Nc6 Qxa4 23. Bxf6 b3 (23... Rxc6? 24. Qxc6! Qxc6 25. Rd8# - editor) 24. Na7


24...  Qxc4? (Fritz 6; it recommends 24... Rb8 or 24... Qb4+) 25. Qc6+ and Black resigned (1-0) due to 25... Rxc6 26. Rd8#.

Kniazer in London, 1921

Eudardo Bauza had notified us that Kniazer had played in 1921 in England, in all places in a league game betweent Kent (Kniazer) and Surrey, played at Westminster, March 5th, 1921. 

The game was reported, adds Mr. Bauza, in the 1921 BCM 4/1921, pp. 136 and 152. He adds that the London Times noted, On March 21st, 1921, that Kniazer was the "champion of Egypt during the [First World] war". 

This is no doubt the same Kniazer we have encountered previously, here playing against H. C. Griffiths. This is especially interesting since Kniazer's early chess career -- though found in, for instance, Persitz's book -- is incomplete, and little seems to be known about his career in Egypt, let alone in England. 

Kniazer, J. -- Griffiths, H. C.

Old Indian Defense (A54) 

Annotations: A. P. noting Fritz 6's analysis. 

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nc3 Nbd7 4. Nf3 e5 5. Bg5 Be7 6. Qc2 c6 7. O-O-O Qc7


 8. e3 a6 9. c5 exd4 10. cxd6 Bxd6 11. Rxd4 O-O 12. Bc4 b5


13. Rhd1  Fritz 6 prefers the quieter 13. Bd3 or 13. Be2. 13... Be5 14. Nxe5 Nxe5 15. Bxf6 Nxc4 16. Rh4 h6 17. Qe2 Bf5 18. Rxh6


18... Bg6 19. Qg4 gxh6 Fritz 6 believes this is perfectly sound, and that in fact Black has a significant advantage. "Real life" is something else, however... 20.  Qh4 Kh7 21. Ne4 h5 22. g4 Ne5?


The losing move. 22... Rad8 is necessary. 23. gxh5 Bxe4 24. Qxe4+ Ng6 25. hxg6+ fxg6 26. Qh4+ Kg8 27. Qh8+ Kf7 28. Qg7+ Black resigns (1-0). 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

More Chess Ads -- a Double Issue

Credit: Shachmat, Oct. 1964 (exact page?)

We add here, to our chess advertisement page, the following from the Oct. 1964 Shachmat.

It has two chess-related advertisements: one for avocados, 'the delicacy of kings', and another for Amcor's televisions. The interesting point is that at the time -- 1964 -- there was no Israeli television broadcasting, although it was clear that they will begin in the near future (the first broadcasts were in 1966).

But Amcor's TV were chosen (as the ad notes) as the close-circuit TV used to broadcast the games in the Olympiad -- as noted before in this blog, see, e.g., the 'Television' tag.

David Raziel and Chess

Photo Credit: A. P., the Eztel Museum (Hebrew)
Visiting Tel Aviv, we have gone to the Eztel museum. 'Etzel' (אצ"ל) is the Hebrew acronym of Irgun Tzvai-Leumi -- literally, the 'National Military Organization', or just (the) 'Irgun' (organization) in English.

We do not, in this blog, deal with politics, and we shall say no more about the Irgun as a political or military organization. What is relevant to this blog, however, is that the museum has the personal effects of many of its prominent leaders.

Inter alia, it has those of David Raziel, which include -- above -- a miniature chess set; click on the image for a larger one.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Chess and Stamps: Commemorative Envelope

Credit: see below; click on image for large picture.

FM Allan Savage (the link is to his chess homepage) shares with us an  envelope from the Third International (Preolympic) Tournament, Nethanya (נתניה - also spelled Natanya, Netanya, etc.), June 1964.

It was one of three international tournaments in Israel that year -- the other two being the Tel Aviv Olympiad, and a small tournament in Jerusalem which "recruited" some of the Olympiad's players. All were mentioned in this blog (look under the "tournament" label).

To avoid a possible misunderstanding, 'preolympic' does not refer to any official FIDE designation of the tournament, but simply to the fact that this (individual, not team) event took place before the Olympiad, which, as the link (to Olimpbase) notes, took place later in the year than usual -- in November -- due to the climate.

USSR - Israel, Sept. 14th 1954


Credit: See below.

Ami Barav had generously sent us the following two informal photographs, taken by his father, Israel Barav (ne Rabinovich) in the 1954 Olympiad (Amsterdam), of the match between the USSR and Israel in the third round, Sept. 14th 1954 according to Olimpbase. The meeting caused a sensation in Israeli chess circles: while Oren lost to Keres, Porat and Czerniak drew with Botvinnik and Smyslov, respectively, and Oren beat Kotov.