Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Double Bishop Sacrifice and Czerniak?

My chess tactics training program, CT-ART 3.0, has the following fragment, starting at the position in the diagram, from a game between Czerniak (White) and Saharovsky. Black won with a clever tactic (solution below).

The problem is, this game is given only as 'Tel Aviv, 1963'. Neither the game nor the position appear in the "standard" databases. There was no player named 'Saharovsky' in the Israeli championship that year. This means the game was probably played in the Israeli league or in a club championship, or perhaps in a simultaneous exhibition. Does anybody have the complete game score?

Solution (variations & annotations by CT-ART 3.0): 1. ... d2! 2. Rxe5+? (2. Rd1 Bc7 and Black is better) which allows 2. ... Be6!! and White resigned (0-1) due to 3. Rxe6+ Kd7! and wins.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

This Blog Mentioned on Chessbase!

My blog was just mentioned by Yochanan Afek in an article for chessbase about the history of chess in Jerusalem. Needless to say Afek gave me and others full credit and even linked to my blog. I have met him a few times and he is, apart from being a very nice person, extremely knowledgeable about chess in Palestine and Israel, supplying me with rare material and information -- such as the definitive information about Czerniak's only study, his notes about his (Czerniak's) match with Najdorf, and much more. See the "Afek" tab in the blog (right) for the full details.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Czerniak "Censorship"?

Van Amerongen's ex liberis. The quote is from Zecharia 4:6: 'Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit'. Photo credit: which credits it to Jean Buchet, writing in L'Echiquier deParis in a series of articles from 1947 to 1953.
From the same article by Fasher quoted below, an interesting claim: Van Amerongen's book, 133 Traps in the Openings [133 Mal'kodot Ba'Ptichot, Mofet: Tel Aviv, 1958] 'only has 132 traps (since one trap had caught the editor [of Mofet's chess books], who was Moshe Czerniak).'

Does anybody have a copy and can verify? Also, what trap did Czerniak, if this is correct, "censor"?

"Mystery" Israeli Chess Journal, More Details about Early Chess Books, and an Amusing Typo

Image Credit:
Eliyahu Fasher, the chess player, problemist, and organizer who was often mentioned in this blog, notes on pp. 6-7 of the October 1964 Shachmat (No. 3 (26)) a few interesting facts about early chess publications. First, he notes that Marmorosh's primer had first appeared in 1934, and that the current available edition was re-printed 'without the exact date'. This solves the "mystery" of the exact date of publication of that book.

He also notes that from the folding of 64 Mishbatzot at the end of 1958 and the founding of Shachmat in 1962, 'a Haifa-based amateur tried to print a chess magazine' which stood on a 'very low level and didn't last'. Similarly, 'Yochanan Sedger [ph. spelling], also from Haifa, brought out 11 chess pamphlets to the workers of the Paz [oil] company'. Does anybody have any of these 11 pamphlets? 

Fasher also praises, quite rightly, Eliyahu A. Mendelbaum and Raafi Persitz's book, Tacharut Amanim Be'Sachmat [Master's Chess Tournament], which -- he notes -- is very well printed and of high quality (I concurr), but made one odd mistake: it put (p. 27 of the 1953 edition) a picture of Mendelbaum himself -- who didn't play in the tournament -- with the caption 'I[tzchatk] Aloni'...  

Finally, notes, Fasher, in 1958 the 'chess department [מדור] next to Ha'Poel's center' (est. 1958) published two books that same year -- Shahaf's book about the Moscow Olympiad and a series of 33 chess lessons translated from the Hungarian (!) by Levi Herzog and edited by Amiel Ha'rel. Does anybody have the latter book? In any case this shows the way chess was helped by the politics of the time, in this case, Ha'Poel

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Credit: We[heart]

Well, another year, another 62 posts... I hope you are enjoying this blog and learning something about chess in the area! I hope to finally, finally, FINALLY finish the book my co-author and I are writing on the subject...

As for the image, I couldn't resist. Incidentally -- jokes aside, the problem of making the pawn "change" its "sex" to become a "female" chess queen upon promotion was a bit of a problem. The objection wasn't so much to the "sex change" but to allowing the promotion to an extra queen: the suspicion was that the king, in this case, would be committing bigamy.

At least that is what Davidson says in his Short History of Chess according to Wikipedia. Not having Davidson's book handy, I am not sure how well researched this issue is, and how much of it may be a chess fable. The problem did not exist in the Arabic game, where the equivalent piece is a vizier, a royal advisor, who is male -- and of whom the Shah (king) could have as many as he wishes.

Actually, in English, an non-gendered language, 'pawn' isn't male or female (unless one considers it "male" due to being part of the group of "chessmen" -- but "chessmen" include the queen...). Thus Lewis Carroll had no problem making Alice a pawn in Through the Looking Glass, so her eventual promotion to a queen was natural.

But the equivalent word for 'pawn' in French, German, Arabic, Hebrew, etc. is both grammatically masculine, and also means -- depending on the language -- a foot-soldier, peasant, farmer, etc.; i.e., a man of the lowest and most numerous rank in either the army, or society at large.

Solution -- Shlomo Seider

Credit: see yesterday's post, "Shlomo Seider"

The detailed solution to the three-mover from yesterday, from the same source as the problem itself, i.e, the article about Seider in Shachmat Be'Yisrael 

There is a possibility for a Novotny theme on c5, which suggests itself upon a cursory examination of the position. But immediate attempts fail:

1. Ndc5+? RxN
1. Nec5+? BxN
[While, in this position, 1. Rc5 threatens nothing -- A. P.]

The Key is 1. Be1!, adding protection to b4 and threatening 2. Bb3+ BxB 3. axB#

All defenses allow the Novotny theme on c5:

1. ... e6 (clears the 7th rank) 2. Ndc5+!
2. ... Bxc5 3. Nc3#
2. ... Rxc5 3. Qa7#

1. ... d2 (clears the b1-h7 diagonal) 2. Nec5+!
2. ... Bxc5 Qxc2#
2. ... Rxc5 Nb6#

And finally,

1. ... Rxg8 (gives up the possibility of Rxh7) 2. Rc5!
2. ... Bxc5 3. Nc3#
2. ... Rxc5 3. Nb6#

Tumurbator - Oren, 0:1

64 Mishbatzot [64 Squares], 7-9/1956, p. 125

Looking at old magazines is always instructive. 64 Mishbatzot had published the following nice combination from the 1954 Olympiad, a game between Tumurbator (Mongolia), White, and Oren, Black. The annotator is (presumably) the editor of 64 Mishbatzot, Czerniak. White had just played...
18. Ng5? With this move, attacking h7 and e6, White attempted to gain a positional advantage, and was shocked by 18. ... Bf5! and the loss of an exchange is inevitable (19. Bxf5 Rd1+ 20. Kh2  Bxg5). Oren's opponent gets confused and loses immediately: 19. Bb3? Nxb3 20. axb3 Rd1+ 21. Kh2 Bxg5 22. Rxa6 Be7 0-1 
Nice work by Oren. Why did White bother with 22. Rxa6 before resigning? Presumably White was hoping for 22. ... Bxc1?? 23. Ra8+ or 22. ... Rxc1?? 23. Ra8+.  Hardly likely to work against a player of Oren's calibre, of course, but 'good players hate to resign without setting one final trap' -- HowellEssential Chess Endings.