Sunday, November 1, 2015

An interesting Marmorosh Game

Source: Shachmat No. 5 / 29 (Dec. 1964), p. 15
In the following simultaneous game by Marmorosh, an interesting event happened. This game, says the (unsigned) article in Shachmat, was from a simultaneous display in Holon (Israel), 1956. Annotations by Shachmat:

1. Qb3!! Q:f7 2. d:c6!

'An extremely interesting position! Both queens are undefended and threaten each other. The black queen cannot move, due to immediate mate.'

2... Rgf8 3. c:b7+ Q:b7 4. Qe6+ Qd7 5. Qa6+ Qb7 6. Ne6+ 'and wins'.

More on the "Mystery" Tournament...

Source: Shachmat, June-July 1964, Vol. 2 no. 11-12 (23-24), back cover
Having procured, with Yehuda Gruenfeld's generous help, the 1964 issues of Shachmat, all I can say is -- so much for the "mystery". As I already noted, the games were published in Shachmat in 1964. Above is the back-cover report in Shachmat, and all the games of the international section appeared in full in that and the next three (August - October) issues of Shachmat. There was also a complete crosstable, and that of the Israeli masters' "B Tournament").

I should have known better; I fell into the trap of believing Chessbase and similar online / computer sources are reliable. They are indeed, when it comes to recent (ca. 1990-) tournaments and international events, but not at all when it comes to smaller, historical events that were mostly reported in non-European (or American) sources. This is why Jeremy Gaige's and other archivists' work, such as the multi-volume Chess Tournaments Crosstable (which, alas, I do not have access to) and Chess Personalia are indispensable.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Getting into Trouble

Credit: Chess Vibes
We noted that Adrian (or, in the source quoted, Avraham) Schwarz had played in a tournament when he was a deserter from the IDF, and MPs came to catch him at the tournament; it turns out that the exact tournament was the youth test tournament of July 1963. Schwarz 'registered to the tournament despite the fact that his legal standing vis-a-vis the army's command does not allow him to play or to guarantee his attendance' -- that is, he might be thrown in jail for desertion if caught -- and that 'he is responsible for the disruptions caused when the police terminated his participation', which 'brought chess into disrepute'.

Quite apart from being pursued by MPs, then, Schwatrz had to deal with him severely: a one-year suspension from chess tournaments. That, hoped the ethics committee of the ICF, will 'keep him from loving chess to a degree that causes dereliction of his national duty' [to serve in the IDF].

The sordid details are found on p. 9 of Shachmat, vol. 2 no. 9 (21), April 1964. We are not clear why he is named 'Avraham' (i.e., Abraham) here -- is this due to the common (at the time) practice of changing names to "pure" Hebrew ones, or are we in fact (which seems unlikely given my sources) dealing with two different people?

Chess and Politics, 1964 Olympiad

Credit: Shachmat, vol. 3 no. 4 (28), November 1964
In the "Chess and Politics" file, we add the following photo, on the cover of Shachmat from November 1964, with the self-explanatory title, 'World Champion Petrosian is welcomed by president [of Israel] [Zalman] Shazar'.


Shachmat mistakenly put 'October 1964' on the front cover of the issue, despite the fact that it was in fact the November issue; this may well be due to the magazine switching back and forth at the time between "real" print and multi-lite print, and encountered various other technical problems. The new editor (Eliyahu Fasher) warned the readers in advance, in the "real" October 1964 issue (p. 3) to expect such issues.

Chess and Science Fiction

Credit: the Science Fiction Encyclopedia Gallery
We have occasionally noted the connection between art and chess on this blog (see "art" in the labels), and sometimes, note issues not dealing with Israeli or Palestinian chess, but with chess in general.

Here is one common example: chess used as a motif for book covers, in this case, a science fiction anthology, by (according to the SFE) Amabel William-Ellis and Michael Pearson. Indeed, there is even an anthology, Pawn to Infinity (eds. Fred and Joan Saberhagen) about chess and science fiction:

Credit: See link above
The book is a collection of science-fiction related chess stories, and indeed, these stories go back a long way, all the way to Gargantua and Pantagruel, as the SFE entry for 'chess' shows.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Young Problemist

Source: Shachmat, March 1964 (Vol. 2 no. 8), p/ 16

The following problem is not particularly good, admits the editor (Hillel Aloni) of Shachmat's problems & studies section. But -- he adds -- it has a saving grace. The composer, Ron Eisenstein, was... seven years old!

Shachmat adds, on the next page, a letter (written by his father in Ron's name) that he started learning chess in Kiryat Ono at the age of six and a half, with the instructor Itzchak Aloni; won a prize as a solver in Davar's chess column, and continues to solve problems in the newspapers. 

Edward Winter, in C. N. 2184 (also in King, Commoners, and Knaves p. 234) gives a younger problemist -- Elliot Franklin Eichholz, age five (source: American Chess Bulletin, May-June 1917, p. 132), also -- unsurprisingly -- a simple mate in two.

Do the readers know of any other very young composers?

(Highlight below for the solution)

1. Kh6

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Shlomo Smiltiner, 1915-2015

Smiltiner (l.) playing Keller, Moscow Olympiad, 1956. Source: 64 Msihbatzot [64 Squares], no. 10-11 (Nov. / Dec/ 1956), p. 161. 

Shlomo Smiltiner (27/11/1915-13/8/2015), who had been mentioned here before, had recently died in his 100th year. He was, as noted in the link, one of those who played Jaque Mieses in a simultaneous display when Mieses visited Palestine in 1936 (and won), played in three Olympiads, was one of the major figures in the 'Reti' club in Tel Aviv in the 50s and 60s (he played in the very first Israeli championship, in 1951), and had good results in many tournaments.

As this link [Hebrew] notes, the poster 'Super Pat Sir' gives a whole list of his achievements in various (mostly local) tournaments, upon Smiltiner's arrival at age 95. Here [Hebrew] the same poster adds more information upon his passing, and, inter alia, adds that he kept the chess set given to him by Fidel Castro in the Havana Olympiad.

He indeed proudly showed me this set when I visited his home a few years ago, and also showed me his collection of trophies, of which a selection is in the photo below:

The cups in the middle (and the one on the left) are for winning, in different years, the 'Reti' club championship, of which, as said above, he was a leading member in the 50s and 60s.

Czerniak - Zakon, 0:1

Moshe Roytman informs us about Eliyahu Shahaf's chess column of Dec. 2nd, 1955, in Davar (p. 2). It includes, inter alia, the interesting note that both the a women's national championship and a youth section in the 'Lasker' Chess Club, which they hope would become the core of a youth's national championship, were established. This is indeed what happened, as Wikipedia (for example) notes.

What's more, the same article notes that Moshe Czerniak is establishing a new chess journal, 'a necessity'. This, too, had indeed occurred, the journal in question, 64 Mishbatzot (64 squares) lasting a respectable (by Israeli / Palestinian chess journal standards of the time...) two years and being quite informative.

The article also notes Czerniak's sole loss in the Israeli 1955 championship (which he won), to Zakon. As usual, Czerniak goes for an all-out attack, but an oversight of a Zwischenzug costs him a pawn and, eventually, the game. Even so, he does not give up, but Zakon is not to be denied victory.

Israeli Championship, 1955.
Czerniak - Zakon
Queen's Indian Defense (E14)
Annotator: Eliyahu Shahaf

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 b6 4. e3 Bb7 5. Bd3 Be7 6. O-O O-O 7. Nc3 d5 8. cxd5 exd5 9. Ne5 c5 10. f4 Nc6 11. Rf3 cxd4 12. Rh3 g6 13. Nxc6 Bxc6 14. exd4 Ne4 15. f5 Bf6 16. Be3 Re8 17. Qf3 Ng5 18. Bxg5?

18...  Bxd4+ 19. Kh1 Qxg5 20. fxg6 fxg6! 21. Rg3 Qf6 22. Qh5 Re5 23. Qg4 Rae8 24. Ne2 Bxb2 25. Rb1 Ba3 26. Ng1 Re1 27. Rf3 Qd6 28. Qh4 Qe7 29. Qxe7 R8xe7 30. Bxg6 Bc5 31. Bf7+ Kg7
32. Rxe1 Rxe1 33. h4 Bxg1 White resigns (0-1).

Chess In the Cyprus DP Camp

Photo Credit: see below
Our frequent correspondent Moshe Roytman notifies us that the Yad Va'Shem collection includes a machine for making chess pieces and a set of pieces made by it (above) that belonged to Holocaust survivors who donated it to the museum.

The web page tells (in Hebrew) the story of Isaac and Israel Rot and their cousin Aryeh Klein, holocaust survivors who were caught as illegal emigrants to Palestine by the British in 1946, and sent to a Cyprus holding camp until 1948.

They were bored, and a 'chess master' who was another inmate offered to teach them the game if they will get him a set. They started by carving stones from an abandoned cemetery, but then hit upon the idea for "industrial production". They made the lathe from a pair of skates (!) bought from one of the other inmates, and started producing chess sets and selling them to British soldiers as souvenirs.

The web page is in Hebrew, but has many photos of the three at work. Israel made the pieces on the lathe, Aryeh carved their features, and Isaac made the boxes. The identity of the chess master is not given