Saturday, March 25, 2023

Rubinstein - Rotlewi, 1910

The following game, brought to our attention by Tomasz Lissowski, was played between Akiba Rubinstein and Georg Rotlewi. Apart from being the same players as in Rubinstein's "immoral" game (Rotlwei - Rubinstein, 1907), it is interesting since it was published in a column in a Yiddish newspaper, Der Moment (9 December 1910, p. 5) - with annotations, in Yiddish, by Rubinstein himself, the editor of the newspaper's column. 

Especially interesting from a linguistic point of view is that the names of the pieces were in Hebrew letters but were transliteration of the German, or continental, system. E.g., the knight is ש - S - for "Springer," the bishop ל - L - for "laufer," etc. 

Rubinstein, Akiba – Rotlewi, Georg

Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch [D34]

Warsaw chess club championship, 1910

Source: see above

Annotations: Akiba Rubinstein

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 c5 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Nc6 5.cxd5 exd5 6.g3 Nf6 7.Bg2 Be7 8.0–0 Be6 9.Bg5 0–0 10.Rc1 c4 11.Ne5 Qb6 The queen attacks d4 and b2, changing places with the c6 knight to sufficiently protect the weak point d5. 12.Bxf6 Bxf6 13.Nxd5 Bxd5 14.Bxd5 Bxe5 If 14...Nxe5 15.dxe5 Bxe5 16.Rxc4 Bxb2 17.Qc2 with the threat of 18.Rb1. 15.dxe5 Nxe5 

16.b3! cxb3 17.Qxb3 Nc6 18.Qxb6 axb6 19.Rb1 Ra5 20.Rfd1 b5 21.Bb3 Ra7 22.Rd7 Ne5 23.Rc7 Stronger than 23. Rd5 - Rubinstein. 23...Rd8 24.Bd5 Black resigns (1-0).

Saturday, February 25, 2023

Chess - the Activity for Old, Sick People! Join Today!

The above is an advertisement for the Maccabi health insurance, asking for volunteers to help with old people who need friends and help in their home. Why is it that chess is rarely seen as played among younger people in ads? The top players, if nothing else, are all young. 

Two Cartoons

The above two cartoons are from the New Yorker Cartoons of the Year 2015, pp. 84 and 86, respectively. The latter is rather subtle: note the road to the altar is a series of knight moves, and that there is the correct number of pieces on both sides of the isle - taking into consideration the "missing" black and white knights (who are getting married) and the white bishop (who is, naturally, officiating). 

Monday, February 6, 2023

Chess Longevity, again


A frequent correspondent points out that, a few days ago, Uri Tzahor announced his retirement from chess journalism, after editing Yediot Aharonot's chess column for 63 years. This is not a record, surprisingly - Mohilever's publishing career was even longer. But nevertheless it is more than respectable, another example of chess players' and writers' curious publication longevity. Above, notes our correspondent, is an article for him (in another newspaper, La'merhav, May 7 1961, pp. 4-5) about "four chess heroes," a pen-portrait of four international players who came to play in an international tournament in Israel in 1961. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Nimzowitsch and Science Fiction


In the famous science fiction story, "Catch that Zeppelin!" Fritz Leiber describes an alternate history where WWI ended differently, WWII never happened, electric cars and Zeppelins come instead of gasoline-based cars and planes, etc. The protagonist, Adolf Hitler, is a famous Zeppelin designer in that world, although some of his bigotry against Blacks and Jews remains even in this nearly-ideal world. 

The chess connection? Aaron Nimzowitsch, the "world chess champion" in this world, is the resident master in the chess rooms aboard one of the luxury Zeppelin, the Ostwald, named after the Nobel-prize winning physical chemist. 

The story's point is that there are "inflection points" in history, where a minor change in the past makes significant changes in the future. Did Leiber hear the story that Nimzowitsch considered himself the "crown prince of chess," and saw changing him to world champion such a minor change? It should be noted here that, as Edward Winter points out, the evidence for Nimzowitsch ever making such a claim is at best sketchy.