Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Problemists in the Desert

From the 1950s to the 1960s, the chess column in Al ha'Mishmar ("On the Guard", whose masthead is given above [photo credit: Wikipedia]), the organ of the socialist kibbutzim and moshavim (agricultural communes), dealt almost exclusively with chess studies and problems, demoting over the board games to second place.

I wonder what the reason was? Probably the fact that most of its readers were in small, more or less isolated communities, where finding opponents for over-the-board play was a serious challange, leading -- by default -- to the popularity of problems and studies.

If anybody has more concerete information on the reason, I'd appreciate it.

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