Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The first Original Chess Problems in Palestine

These are the first two problems ever composed by a Palestinian composer. These two orthodox mate-in-2 problems were composed by Aryeh Leob Mohilever, a well-known chess player and activist in Jerusalem, and originally published in the Egyptian Post (Cairo) in 1921. (Source: Eliyahu Fascher's book, The Israeli Problemist.) The solutions appear below; highlight the last, 'invisible ink' paragraph.

At the time--the early 20s--Mohilever was the president of the Emanuel Lasker chess club in Jerusalem, and editor of its magazine. He was either very proud of these two problems or desperate for material to fill the magazine's "problems" section: he published both of them twice in it, despite the fact that the magazine itself only lasted four issues, in 1923/1924.

Both problems are very poor, and have no theme at all. But, by the 1950s, Israel was one of the top 10 nations in the world in chess composition.

Solutions: Left: 1. Nd8; Right: 1. Qb4.

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