Saturday, August 22, 2009

Mieses in Palestine

In Moshe Czerniak's Ha'sachamat (first volume, first issue, dated merely '1936'), we find it reported (p. 2) that 'one of the relics of the great players of the 19th century, Ya'akov [the Hebrew name translated as "Jacques" in French] Mieses, was in our country.' Not only that, but Mieses contributed an article about Jewish chess history to the same issue of the magazine (pp. 8-10).

According to Czerniak's later recollections, in Encyclopedia Tevel u'Meloah: Toldot Ha'Sachmat me'Reshito ve'Ad Yameynu [The Whole World Encyclopedia [Series]: the History of Chess from Its Beginning to the Present] (Tel Aviv: Mofet Press, 1963), pp. 50-51, he says, however, that the visit was in 1937. Czerniak adds there:
In 1937, when over 70, he arrived in our country. As a Jew, he wanted to know the Holy Land. Despite this being during the Arab revolt, he did not avoid going to the Wailing Wall and visiting the old city in Jerusalem. He gave a few simultaneous displays in the country. In one of them he played blindfolded against eight amateurs in Jerusalem. In another exhibition he stopped two of his game for a while so that his observant opponents could pray ma'ariv [the evening prayer].
Does anybody have information about the exact date of the visit -- was Czerniak's memory in 1963 faulty, or was his 1936 magazine misdated? Does anybody have more details about the visit?

Edited to add -- the visit was certainly in 1936. The particulars can be found in more posts about 'Mieses' in this blog. There are slight discrepancies between the totals of players in Mieses', Marmorosh's, and Czerniak's recollections. With all probablity Marmorosh's contemporary and detailed accounts are the most accurate. 

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