Saturday, March 16, 2019

Under Construction

Image credit: Vector Stock
In the post about the Lasker club's sad demise from a few days ago, we should note that Israel Barav was one of the most active players and activists in the club until he left for the Reti club in the mid-1950s. 

We do not link this time to our memorial site for Barav, because we are now in the process of a major update: adding a new game, arranging all games in chronological order, and so on. 

The site is online and functioning, but the updates are not viewable yet, as the changes are not quite finished. Expect a major update on Barav's site in a few days. 

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Clocks on all the Boards

Source: La'Merhav Oct. 25, 1957, p. 6
A frequent correspondent points out the follow report from La'Merchav about the third kibbutzim (agricultural communes) championship, which included that time the Ramat Gan team as well (presumably, since its club hosted the event). The author notes that there were 100 players and especially noting the use of 50 chess clocks -- by no means self-evident in those days in Israel. The report included the following game:

Geller, Uzi - Ben-Artzi, Hanan
10.1957, 3rd kibbutzim championship, Ramat Gan, Israel.
(Annotations: La'Merchav's chess column's editor)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 d5 5.Nf3 0–0 6.e3 c5 7.a3 Bxc3+ 8.bxc3 Nbd7 9.cxd5 exd5 10.Bd3 Re8 11.0–0 Qc7! A strong move. White should have continued 12.a4 at once. 12.Bb2? c4 13.Bf5 Nf8 14.a4 Bxf5 15.Qxf5 Rad8 16.Ba3 Ng6 17.Rab1 Ne4 18.Rfc1 Re6 Better than 18…Ne7, since it activates the rook. 19.Rb5 Rf6 20.Qg4 a6?? The losing move. weakens b6 and allows the rook's retreat to b2. 20…Ra6! would have won a pawn and the game. 21.Rb2 a5 22.Ng5 Nxg5 23.Qxg5 h6 24.Qh5 Rb6 Tries to prevent White's control of the b file. 25.Rcb1 Rxb2 26.Rxb2 b6 27.Rb5 Qc6 28.Qf5 

Black in in Zugzwang. His one remaining move also loses. 28...Nf8 29.Be7 Rd7 30.Bxf8 Kxf8 31.Qh7 Qf6? 31…f6 was a better try. Black is very short on time. 32.Qh8+ Ke7 33.Qb8 Rd6 34.Qb7+ Ke8 35.Rxd5 Finally the first pawn falls. 35...Rxd5 36.Qxd5 Qe6 Exchanging queens is forbidden, since Black will break through on the queen's side, but White chose another continuation and won (1–0) in a few moves.

Tidhar about Marmorosh

Source : David Tidhar's Encyclopedia, digitized by Turo college
David Tidhar's Entsiklopedyah le-Halutse ha-Yishuv u-Vonav ["Encyclopedia for the History of the Pioneers and Builders of the Zionism", 1947-1971] was a one-man project that took years. The author (according to Wikipedia's entry in Hebrew on the subject at least) had made it his goal to create, in effect, a Zionist "who's who" of the building of Israel. 

Tidhar's idiosyncratic methodology -- sending thousands of copies of a circular letter to the personalities he wanted to add to the book or their descendants, allowing some people to be included based on a contribution, etc. -- meant that his Encyclopedia was not widely quoted and not considered truly academic, but nevertheless it contains a wealth of information on numerous personalities that, before the Internet at least, was extremely difficult to come by in "official" sources. 

One entry, from the fourth volume (1950), p. 1723, includes a capsule biography of Menachem "Mendel" Marmorosh. The Encyclopedia notes, inter alia, the exact date of his book Shachmat -- 1945. It also adds more obscure information, such as:

- That the live chess event during Flohr's visit (1934) included live horses.
- That in his visit to the Emir Abdullah (1928) 'there is no need to say the Jewish wisdom beat the Eastern cunning'. 
- Exact date (21/3/1903) and place (Meili, now in Romania, then the Austro-Hungarian empire). 
- Names of parents, wife, and even mother-in-law. 
- Clarification that, despite being from Tel Aviv, he indeed was one of those who established the Halutzei Ha'Mizrach ("Eastern Pioneers") club in Jerusalem, where he also played in tournaments. 
- Was a member (since 1929) in the Ha'ganah, the pre-state paramilitary (and then illegal) organization. 

From the type of the material and the date (1950) it seems likely that Marmorosh himself was the source of the information.

The End of the Lakser Club's Original Location

 Photo credit -- online Tel Aviv Encyclopedia , in Hebrew
A frequent correspondent notifies us that the above building, the Drori House -- the original home of Tel Aviv's Lasker club, managed by Menachem "Mendel" Marmorosh, had been -- finally -- torn down in 2018, due to the real-estate boom in Tel Aviv that left (the Encyclopedia says) no chance for an old building (originally built 1925) like this. Sic transit gloria mundi. The building stood at 54 Ha'Yarkon St. 

Sunday, February 10, 2019

On Israeli Radio

Credit: "Kan" Radio
We have just been on the Israeli "Kan Tarbut" station -- the Israeli Radio's culture station. We spoke (in Hebrew) about Kasparov and Deep Blue, computer chess, general chess history, and Jewish chess history. The program is Shlosha Sheyod'im ("Three Who Know", link above), hosted by Dudu Erez, and the direct link to the program is here.