Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Chess on TV

Source: La'Merchav, 3/7/1970 p. 9.
We have previously noted chess on television in this blog, but a frequent correspondent pointed out another contemporary source. The paper notes the exact schedule on Israeli education television: 14 20-minute broadcasts, twice weekly. The newspaper adds the series was created by Moshe Czerniak and would also be partially presented by him.

The first Palestine Problemists' Association Tournament

Source: Palestine Post, Jan. 16th, 1948, p. 6.
The results of the first Problemists' international tournament, the Felix Seidemann Memorial Tourney, were reported in the Palestine Post on Jan. 16th, 1948. The organizers noted the numerous problems, and added an apology by Eliyahu Feigin, on behalf of the PPA, for delays in the publication of the results. Feigin also added more details on the large number of problems, etc., in his Al Ha'Mishmar column we have just quoted in the previous post. Note the judges include also Drs. F. Weber and I. Gruengard, Gruengard, in particular, having been a major influence on Israeli chess in general and problemists in particular for many years. 

War Losses

Source: Al Ha'Mishmar, 22/1/1948, p. 3
In the above chess column in Al Ha'Mishmar, edited by Eliyahu Feiglin, the editor note the death in combat (in the War of Independence, or rather in the disturbances before it started) of Avraham Feldklein, 'one of Rishon Le'Tziyon's best chess players'. 

He was killed at the age of 18, came in 3rd in the last city (moshava, lit. 'settlement') the previous year, and also was the city's blitz champion and won a match with the city's champion, M. Stoltz (ph. spelling), 3:2. 

It is added that the two problems published in the paper that day are dedicated to his memory. 

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Czerniak the Palestinian

Source: Davar's weekend supplmenet (Dvar Ha'Shavua), 27/7/1951, p. 14. 
Above, we have a clip from the chess column in Davar, noting Czerniak's victory in the 1951 Reggio Emilia tournament in Italy. We thank a frequent contributor to this blog for the information. The column notes that he was also awarded the IM title by FIDE, and that this victory is the first victory of an Israeli player in an international chess tournament. 

The column adds a letter from the Israeli consul there, Israel Eshel, who notes that the local press refer to Czerniak as a 'Palestinian', and only after he and the consulate protested that this was correct to 'Israeli' in the press. We add that, before the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, 'Palestinian' was the usual term used in English and other languages for Jews who lived in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine.

The column also wonders how to use Czerniak's winning to get funding for the ICF, in the only practical way many organizations in Israel at the time could gain any funding, to wit, with government assistance. The key issue is who will be the next minister of education after the elections, it is noted.

The Education of a Chess Player

Source: see below
Above, we see a page from Israel Rabinovich-Barav's notebook of annotated games, which he kept as a young man. The notebook was loaned to me by his son, Ami Barav. The games are mostly famous ones from the 19th and early 20th century, of which the first, Schiffers vs. Chigorin, St. Petersburg, 1897, is a typical specimen. The game above is Blackburne vs. Marco, Monte Carlo, 1901.  

There are also some games where one of both of the opponents are unnamed, and one curiosity: a game allegedly by Rousseau (vs. an unnamed opponent, given in other sources as prince Conti). Barav understandably didn't know that this game, widely circulated in various sources from the mid-19th century onward, was proven by the chess historian H. J. M. Murray to have been a forgery as early as 1908, as shown by Edward Winter in a definitive article about Rousseau's chess career. 

Barav annotates some of the games, sometimes in great depth. In the Blackburne-Marco game above, he notes, for example, that 5...Bxe3 is bad since it 'opens the f-file for the [white] rook', and that similarly 10,,,Nxb3 is weak since 'Black wants to gain the upper hand on the queen's side, but by this weakens the king's side'.