Thursday, June 12, 2008

Is Chess Work or Play?

The old cliche says that chess is too serious to be a game and too much fun to be work. Samuel "Sammy" Reshevsky's position on this issue was interesting. In the interview above (from Maariv, Oct. 31, 1958), on the occasion of the first international tournament held in Israel, Reshevsky states why, as a observant Jew, he doesn't play on the Sabbath (from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday):

"I know the halacha allows playing chess on the Sabbath, but it is forbidden to work during the Sabbath. Since chess is my profession and I make a living from it, I am not allowed to play during it."

So play on the Sabbath is OK... for everybody except chess professionals.

During the tournament (which he won), Reshevsky's portrait--as well as those of the other players in the tournament--was drawn by the famous caricaturist Buchwald:

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