Sunday, October 18, 2020

From the Israeli Film Archive


The above is a cut from the Israeli Film Archive (requires registration, but it is free) search for the term "Chess" (in English). There are quite a few newsreels of many Israeli tournaments, in particular the 1964 Olympiad held in Tel Aviv, naturally featuring many well-known players (the USSR team, in particular). There is also a 1935 Marmorosh Simul already posted on this blog, Najdorf's visit (1961), and much more. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Czerniak's Fighting Spirit

A frequent correspondent reminds us that Moshe Czerniak's 64 Mishbatzot (you guessed it - "64 Square") had strong opinions expressed in the editorials. One particular one is Czerniak's dislike of avoiding battle - either by not joining a tournament at all or by early draws. As one of his pupils told us, he would tell younger players who agreed to such a draw: 'why did you agree to a draw? Don't you like playing chess?'.

Another example of this in an editorial in the May-June, 1957, editorial (p. 225). Czerniak notes that:

The fact that only one master played in the semi-final [of the Israel 1957 championship] is no coincidence. It is true that some were abroad, some could not leave work, and some are no longer, due to their age, able to stand the stress of such a tournament. But still is no justification for the absence of some of our masters. Could their regretful distancing form combative chess be seen as fear of defeat? If so, are they worthy of bearing the title of 'master'? 


By the way, 64 Mishbatzot came out regularly for about 3 years, and had as editors, apart from Czerniak, also the masters Porat, van Amerongen, and Dr. Oren, as well as Zehavi. It was a great leap in both quality and quantity from previous Israeli, or Palestinian, chess magazines. 

Another "Wunderkind" in Chess?


The above is a short article by Dov Goldstein, sent to us by a frequent correspondent. The source is Ma'ariv, Feb. 10th, 1955, p. 3. It is about a "Wunderking" in chess - six year old Gideon Ratanovsky (ph. spelling.) It is noted that 'nobody knows how he learned the rules of the game' - or that he knows how to play at all - until he told his mother. The child is being trained by Dyner, the Israeli master, in his optician's shop, where he always have a board set up. It is (as usual in such reports) added that the little child will surely be a strong master, although this seems not to have happened. His life ended tragically: he fell in 1970 in the Israel "War of Attrition" (1967-1970). His memorial page (in Hebrew) notes he was known as a chess "Wunderkind". 

Monday, August 31, 2020

Vogel - Czerniak, Jerusalem Championship, 1935

The same column by Marmorosh (Davar, Feb. 8th, 1935, p. 5) has the following game between Vogel and Czerniak, with Marmorosh's annotations:

Vogel - Czerniak
French Defense (CO2)
Jerusalem Championship, Jerusalem, 1935
Source: Davar, 8.2.1935, p. 5
Annotations: Marmorosh

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 A highly committing old move. The current move is 3.Nc3 or 3.exd5. 3... c5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. c3 Qb6 A typical move in this opening. The queen pressures b2 and d4. 6. Be2 Bd7 7. O-O cxd4 8. cxd4 Nge7 9. Na3 An artificial move, intended to protect the d4 pawn. 9... Ng6 10. Nc2 Be7 11. Kh1 O-O 12. Ng1 An unsuccessful maneuver. It is better to finish development with 12.Bd2! and Bc3, since Black must not capture on b2. 12...f6 13. f4 fxe5 14. fxe5 Rxf1 15. Bxf1 Rf8 16. Bd3 Be8 17. Qg4? 

17...Ncxe5!! Black now finishes with a brilliant combination. White's negligence is cruelly avenged. 18. dxe5 Nxe5 19. Qh3 Nxd3 20. Qxd3 Bb5! 21. Qb3 Qxg1+! 22. Kxg1 Rf1#  mate (0-1).

Marmorosh's Work


Above we have a (low resolution) image of Marmorosh's column which was mentioned in the last post. The link is to the original paper, where a high-resolution image can be found. It is a testimony to Marmorosh's dedication to chess that this one column has: 

1). A problem (mate in 3)

2). A study (White wins)

3). A game (Vogel - Czerniak, 0-1, Jerusalem championship, 1935)

4). Local news (Jerusalem championship results, upcoming Jerusalem-Tel Aviv match, Ra'anana club founded.) 

5). International news (Capablanca wins simultaneous games.)

6). Answers to correspondents. 

7). A long lesson for beginners (the goal of the game, the movement of the king, the meaning of 'mate'.) 

That said, the definition of 'mate' is somewhat mysterious: 

'If the king is attacked on the square it is on and it is surrounded by friends and enemies to such a degree that it has no other square to escape to, and no other defense, it is mated.'

This seems to imply that the king is mated only when surrounded by other pieces, which is in fact rarely the case, and is unclear about what 'other defense' can there be against the attack on the king except for 'a square to escape to'.