Saturday, January 16, 2021

A Reshevsky Simul


A Reshvesky simul in Jerusalem (against 40 players) in 1959 was brought to our attention by a frequent correspondent. It was reported with humor but with keen observation in Ma'ariv (20.11.1958, p.2) by Uri Oren. The author lists the well-known Jerusalem figures who played, from professors and lecturers to 'a new immigrant from India and Rosenberg the tailor'. He is surprised nobody lynched the noisy major who kept thinking out loud, and notes Reshevsky looks only at the boards and rarely looks at his opponents or communicates with them, and measures Reshevsky's "round" time (starting at 4 minutes and ending at 10 minutes). 

A Snapshot, 1956


The following "snapshot" of La'Merchav's chess column (Jan. 27th, 1956, p. 7), brought to our attention by a frequent correspondent, gives an interesting view of chess growing in Israel. We have in particular local tournaments in the south (Ashkelon, six southern kibbutzim, simuls in Eilat, etc.) and, more generally, in the small agricultural communities all over the country. 

The report emphasizes the activity of established players, like Itzchak AloniCzerniak, and Oren, in giving simuls, organizing tournaments, and so on all over the country. No less than eight of the reports deal with chess activity in the country's small cities and agricultural communities, 

Mashian Annotates

 A frequent correspondent notes that Ya'akov Mashian, 'Persian Champion 1958', had arrived in Israel in 1958 and immediately began to be involved in the chess life of the country. One example is him annotating, in Davar's chess column (ed. Zalman Gurevich) the game Van den Berg - Szabo from the 1958 international tournament in Israel. Here is the game (Davar, Nov. 14th, 1958, p. 10): 

Van den Berg - Szabo 

Ruy Lopez [C89]

1958 International Tournament, Tel Aviv/Haifa, rd. 13

Source: see above

Annotator: Ya'akov Mashian

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 O-O 8. c3 Better is 8. a4 since after} Bb7 9. d3 $1 d6 10. Nc3 b4 11. Ne2! White has better chances. 8... d5 9. exd5 e4 There is another way, as in Capablanca-Marshall, which is better for White: 9... Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nxe5 11. Rxe5 Nf6 12. d4 Bd6 13. Re2!, defending against Black's KS pressure. 10.dxc6 If 10. Ng5 Bg4 11. f3 exf3 12. Nxf3 Nxd5 13. d4 10... exf3 11. Qxf3 Bg4 12. Qg3 Bd6 12... Re8 Doesn't do much for Black:13. d4 Bd6 14. Rxe8+ Qxe8 15. Qe3 Qxc6 16. f3 Re8 17. Qf2. 13. f4 Re8 14. Re5? A mistake! This move was played before by masters, but only this time the Hungarian grandmaster manages to exploit the mistake. Correct was 14. d4 Nh5 15. Rxe8+ Qxe8 16. Qf2 Qxc6 17. Be3 Re8 and Black doesn't have enough initiative for the pawn.

14... Bxe5!! 15. fxe5 Nh5 16. Qxg4 Rxe5 17. Na3 White has no stronger move. For example: 17. d4 Re1+ 18. Kf2 Nf6 19. Qf4 Qe7 20. Be3 Rxe3 21. Qxe3 Ng4+  wins the queen. 17... Re1+ 18. Kf2 Nf6 19. Qf4 19. Qf3 Rxc1 and wins (due to 20. Rxc1 Qxd2+ - A. P.) 19... Qe7 20. Qf3 Rh1 21. Nc2 Ne4+ 22. Ke2 Nxc3+ 23. Kd3 Rd8+ 24. Nd4 Ne2 White resigns (0-1)

Gruengard- Smiltiner Match


In the following short notice, brought to our attention by a frequent correspondent, we see a note about a match between Gruengard and Smiltiner in the Tel Aviv Lasker club, noting the latter is leading 1-0 so far. It always speaks of a "retirement tournament" - presumably, an elimination one - that will start, with 32 players, the coming Saturday. 

Saturday, January 9, 2021

"Chess Characters, by the Badmaster


One of the most charming characters in British chess was G. H. Diggle, the "Badmaster." Edward Winter published his memoirs in 1984. I read them with great enjoyment. I will not violate copyright by extensive quoting (although I am tempted). I shall note only one of his many quips: he describes one kibitzer as a man "whose recreations were chess and hypocrisy." (p. 14). 

Rather, I will give here the table of content, to give potential readers an idea of the breadth, both in subject matter and chronology, of the Badmaster's chess interests: