Friday, October 24, 2008

Four Days of Sheep-Herding

Again from Eliyahu Fasher's book, Shachmet le'Hana'atcha (1980), p. 137-139, with my notes in brackets:

'During the [British] mandate, chess activity [in Palestine] was very limited and centered around the three large cities [Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa]. Chess activity elsewhere was minimal. It should be noted that the problemists were active in the Hityashvut ha'Ovedet [the organization of the small agricultural communes, the kibbutzim] and one of the most original ones was the late Yehuda Weisberg, who fell during the [1948] war of independence in the battle of Sejera. 

Yeduda Weisberg, Fairy Chess Review, 1947. What was Black's last move?

'Above is one of his problems, which we read about in the letter he sent to his friend Yechezkel Hillel, then a shepherd in Phoria in the lower Galillee: '"I am sending you a new problem and ask you to check it and get it published. Its justification is a tough nut to crack and I doubt you'll be able to overcome it..."

'In Hillel's answer we read: "I thought about this problem for four days of sheep-herding before I solved it -- really a great idea!..."

'After this story was published in La'Merchav on May 8th, 1959, I received a letter from Levi Herzog from Ma'abarot  kibbutz with an interesting story. Levi was an active problemist in Hungary, and when he emigrated to Palestine continued with his hobby in the Emek Hefer kibbutz, where he was a shepherd. He continued to send his problems to Hungary, since there was no possible venue for publications in Palestine. Over the years he acquired ties with the editor and continued with them after the state [of Israel] was founded [in 1948]. Once the Hungarian editor asked him to add a few personal biographical details, and [Levi] added, inter alia, that he is a kibbutz member and a shepherd.

'This time the editor's answer was short: "I am very glad to hear that in your Asiatic country shepherds reached such a high level in chess". Levi received no reply to his letters any more.'

Solution (Originally published in Fasher's The Israeli Problemist, 1964. Highlight the hidden text below.)

1. a4 d5 2. Ra3 Qd6 3. Rg3 Kd7 4. c3 Kc6 5. Qc2 Kc5 6. Qf5 Nc6 7. Qxc8 Nf6 8.
Rg6 hxg6 9. Qf5 Rh4 10. Kd1 Rd4 11. Kc2 Rd8 12. Na3 a6 13. Kb1 gxf5 14. Nc2 Kc4
15. h4 Kb3 16. Nf3 Qc5 17. Ng5 Rd6 18. Ne4 Nd8 19. Rh3 Rb6 20. Re3 fxe4 21. Rd3
exd3 22. Ka1 dxc2 23. d3 Ng4 24. Bf4 Ne3 25. Be5 c6 26. Bf6 gxf6 27. fxe3 Bh6
28. exd4 Bf4 29. dxc5 Bb8 30. cxb6 Ba7 31. bxa7 Ne6. 

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