Friday, December 17, 2010

Politicians and Lookalikes



 
Above are the front and back of a photograph from the late Moshe Czerniak's collection, shown to me by Yochanan Afek. It was taken in Brasil in 1949, as the back makes clear. The man playing White (or, at least, sitting at the board) is, apparently, Eurico Gaspar Dutra (1883-1974), 16th president of Brasil. Is it just me, or does he bear a striking resemblance to Bogoljubow?
 
Also, the signature of Czerniak's friend reads, so far as I can make out, "Alberto Camara". If I am reading the name correctly, presumably he is a relation of Ronald Carama and/or Helder Camara, both of whom were (separately) chess champions of Brasil in the 1960s. Or perhaps it is the nickname or second name of one of them. Gaige's Chess Personalia has no entry for "Alberto Camara".

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Ultimate Chess Sacrifice


Isidor Gunsberg. Image credit: http://www.wikipedia.com/

This time, something from the distant past -- Steinitz's and Gunsberg's wit. (Source for this post is  Kasparov's My Great Predecessors, vol. 1, pp. 80-85 of the Hebrew Edition). Both, of course, were Jews.

In his first match with Chigorin (Havanah 1889), Steinitz noted that his young opponent of the old (romantic, sacrificial) school sacrificed pawns and pieces, but he, the old player of the new (positional) school, went further: he sacrificed entire games, to "illustrate what I understood to be sound positional principles."

In their short cable match (which Chigorin won 2-0), 1890/1, Steinitz, as Black, also "sacrificed" the first game, when he played 6. ... Qf6?! and then 7. ... Nh6!? in the Evans gambit, as he recommended in his book The Modern Chess Instructor:


Steinitz eventually lost that game.

Later, in his match with Gunsberg (see above picture), in the 12th game, Gunsberg as white played the Evans gambit for the first time. Before playing 6. ... Qf6?!, Steinitz asked Gunsberg, surprised: 'Do you think I am morally required to play against you just like I played against Chigorin?' Gunsberg replied, 'Not exactly required, but the public demands you defend your principles!'

Steinitz eventually lost that game, too.

I wonder if it's possible to "sacrifice" more than one game. In recent times, Topalov's public declaration (through his manager) before their world championship to neither offer nor accept draws from Anand during the games in their world might qualify (hat tip: A. Weiler). Topalov's "sacrifice" is not in the decision itself,  but in binding himself publicly to it in advance. He thus put himself at a disadvantage for the entire match. Indeed, he stuck to it: only one (the 10th) game was drawn by agreement, in a dead-draw position where it was pointless to play on.

Sacrificing the world championship by playing according to one's principles when safe draw would assure one the championship is surely the greatest possible chess sacrifice. If so, the last game of the Lasker-Schlechter match (possibly! -- see below) qualifies. Schlechter, after losing none of the previous games and leading 5-4, lost the last game by playing for a win at all costs (which, Tal notably remarked, is 'practically equivalent to playing for a loss'...). Perhaps this was because of a clause requiring a two-game lead to gain the title (though current evidence is that such a clause probably did not exist), but more likely because he did not want to win the match on the strength of his "fluke" victory in the 5th game.

(Edited: a commentator on this post added that it is unclear whether the Lasker-Schlechter match was for the world championship. Edward Winter, careful as always, notes that the terms of the match are an 'unsolved and probably insoluble mystery'. Hooper and Whyld's The Oxford Companion to Chess also notes (under 'Schlechter') that 'it is not known whether the title is in the balance'. Whatever the exact conditions, certainly the match itself, if not the world championship, was in stake.)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Why I Created this Blog

Image credite: Hangvirus.
Without comment, I am giving here the English-language version of two letters published in Ha'aretz on November 12th, 2010, in reply to Natan Sharansky's claim in the same paper on Oct. 29th that there was hardly any chess activity in Israel before the 1980s. This blog exists, partially, so that such mistakes will not be repeated...


With all due respect

Regarding "King for a day," Haaretz Magazine, October 29

In Eli Shvidler's article about Alik Gershon, Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky says, "When I came to Israel, they played backgammon here" and "Chess is part of the culture of sport that the mass aliyah from the Soviet Union brought with it." The mention of backgammon to insinuate that sport in Israel existed only at a "primitive" level does an injustice to the people who lived here.

With all due respect to the immigrants from the Soviet Union, chess matches were being held in Israel long before they arrived, even before the founding of the state, and in 1935 and 1938 Israel took part in the Chess Olympics. In 1945, my father, the late Shaul Hon, was a major chess organizer, and after the state was founded called for chess to be included in the education system. In 1958, on the state's 10th anniversary, the first international chess competition was held, and other international competitions have been held in Israel since then.

Aliyah from the Soviet Union did indeed bring many strong chess players, but this began with immigration in the 1970s from the Soviet Union; the infrastructure was in place long before that.

Orna Shkedi

Petah Tikva


Cultural snobbism

Natan Sharansky's cultural snobbism knows no bounds, and is especially galling coming from someone who bears the title of Chairman of the Jewish Agency. In one stroke, Sharansky erases the glorious history of chess in Israel, which dates all the way back to the British Mandate period.

Sharansky would do well to learn a little more about the history of Israeli chess. A brief overview: ninth place in the 1939 Chess Olympics, seventh place in the 1954 Chess Olympics (including a 2:2 tie against the team from the Soviet Union ), second place in the 1965 Chess Olympics for students. And here are a few names worth remembering: Yosef Porat, Moshe Czerniak, Zadok Domnitz, Raafi Persitz, Shimon Kagan, Dr. Menachem Oren, Yitzhak Aloni. To the best of my knowledge, all are acclaimed chess players and all are Jewish Israelis, even if they weren't born in the countries that were once part of the Soviet Union.

Michael Edelman

Petah Tikva

"Dosh" and Chess


The King is Mated, Long Live the King -- The Students' Olympiads. Image credit: 'simaniya' [Hebrew]


The Ending in Chess. Image credit: 'simaniya' [Hebrew]

The Hebrew caricaturist Kariel Gardosh, known as "Dosh", was probably Israel's most famous caricaturist. Like his fellow Hungarian friends, Yosef "Tommy" Lapid and Efraim Kishon, he worked for many years in Ma'ariv, the Israeli daily, and were known as the "Hungarian Mafia".

"Dosh" illustrated many books -- and interstingly, some chess books as well. These included not only Shaul Hon's Pt'ichot Be'Sachmat [Chess Openings], as noted in a previous post, but also at least two other books: Ha'Melech Mat Yechi Ha'Melech, Olympiadot Ha'Studentim [The King is Mated, Long Live the King -- the Students' Olympiads] (1970, Tel Aviv: Emanuel Lasker Chess Club) and Ha'Siyum Be'Sachmat [The Ending in Chess] (Tel Aviv: Shach, 1961).

Friday, November 26, 2010

Playing Conditions, 1953

Source: Davar, 15.12.1953
To give the reader an idea about the kind of conditions in Israel in the 1950s, there is this advertisement:

The Kibutizm Union / Culture Department

On Dec. 18-19 there will be a CONFERENCE OF CHESS PLAYERS in Genigar. Details were sent in the mail. The comrades should arrive in Genigar by 3 PM. Participants should bring a chess set and bed sheets.
Presumably, the sheets were to sit on due to lack of chairs and tables...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Hon's "Chess Openings"

Image Credit: A.P.
Shaul Hon's book Ptichot be'Sachmat (1957) [Chess Openings] was a very popular book in Israel -- it reached a fourth edition in 1968, unprecedented for a Hebrew-language chess book. It is notable for a few things:

1). Its first section (pp. 3-40 in the 1968 edition) give a very interesting, if by today's standards somewhat inaccurate, history of chess in the world in general and among Jews (whether in Israel, Palestine, or elsewhere) in particular. Specifically, Hon actually asked and received a reply from Israel's chief rabbi in 1957, 'The honorable Rabbi Dr. Itzhak (Isaac) Ha'Levi Herzog', as Hon calls him, about chess in Judaism. The Rabbi's reply was that despite certain rabbis who forbade chess, most authorities in Judaism do not forbid (and often even encourage) chess playing, so long as it satisfies certain conditions -- e.g., not playing for money, not on the Shabbath, it does not become an obsession that stops one from studying the Torah, etc.

2). He has an interesting theory (pp. 49-55, ibid) about why the chess pieces are placed or move as they are -- e.g., that rooks are in the corners since that's where the heavy forces would be in the battle, etc. He thinks that pawns capture diagonally because archers would try to hit armored men from the side!

3). The cover for the 1968 edition was by the well-known Israeli caricaturist "Dosh" (Kariel Gardosh).

4). The book, like many books at the time printed in Israel, tried to "Judaise" chess a little bit -- emphasizing the importance of Jewish masters over that of non-Jewish ones, especially those like the anti-semitic Alekhine. E.g., about 1. e4 Nf6 Hon writes (my translation, p. 113 ibid):
This defense is mistakenly named after Alekhine... in reality it was already practiced in the 1880s, but achieved no success. Only after the Jewish Aron Nimzowitsch published a series of articles before WWI calling for the development of pieces over pawns in the opening [i.e., the hypermodern school -- A.P.] -- only then did this defense's time arrive. Alekhine used it successfully in the international tournament in Budapest 1921 and it received his name, but in reality Alekhine mixed the tactical form of this defense with Nimzowitch's strategic ideas. 
Whenever any Jewish player is mentioned, their Judaism is emphasized. E.g., when Tarrasch is mentioned, his Judaism is emphasized, but not, of course, his conversion to Christianity in 1909 (as when discussing 1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nd2, p. 104); and Hon even divided chess history as a whole into the 'romantic stage', the 'strategic stage' -- 'starting with the appearance of the Jewish Steinitz' -- and the 'modern stage' -- developed 'mostly by Jews: Nimzowitch, Reti, Breyer, Dr. Tartakover -- joined later by non-Jews' (p. 24).  

Jews contributed a lot to chess, true, but saying chess would, in effect, be still in the 19th-century romantic school if it weren't for them (as Hon is implying) is hardly established fact.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Problemists in the Jailhouse

Yehuda Weisberg
Source: Eliyahu Fasher's Ha'Problemai Ha'Israeli: Yesodot Ha'Kompositziya Ha'Sachmetait [The Israeli Problemist: the Basics of Chess Composition], Tel Aviv: Israeli Problemist Association, 1964, p. 47.
In Eliyahu Fasher's book we find the following letter from Weisberg, one of the earliest Israeli (or Palestinian) problemists, to Yechezkel Hillel, another problemist. Weisberg was arrested in 1946 by the British, who then ruled what was then the British Mandate of Palestine, presumably for being involved in actions having to do with the Jewish para-military groups at the time, such as the Haganah. (Weisberg was later killed in action in the 1948 war of independence in the battle in Ahsdot-Ya'akov). After his release he wrote (Fasher's book above, p. 48, my translation):
[T]he material sent to me by Yosef Goldschmidt [another Israeli problemist -- A.P.] and your notebooks arrived only in the last week of my arrest. The rest of the material I didn't receive yet. Your notebooks had nice problems and it's a pity it stayed "there"... I usually didn't use the time for composing and only composed two problems, one of them on the first day of my arrest in the car to the jailhouse... on the way back after my release we went through Rishon Le'tziyon and naturally I stopped and visited "Goldschmidt & co." [a group of problemists, headed by Goldschmidt, who lived in that town at the time, including Grisha Rivlin, Ben-tzion Handel, Meir Shatil and others -- Fasher.]
I doubt many other people would start their trip to a military prison composing a problem and end it with a visit to a problemists' hang-out... But this is not all. In the same letter Weisberg writes (Fasher, Ibid., p. 48):
I got a reply from Dawson (presumably Thomas Dawson, the British problemist and editor) and he will publish my problems.
Was there ever in history a case where a man received a note from a British editor that the editor would be glad to publish his problems... while sitting in jail as an enemy of the British Empire?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Nimzowitsch's Hebrew Signature

Credit: Davar 3.5.1935
In a obituary to Aron Nimzowitsch published in Davar, 3.5.1935 (editor: Moshe Marmorosh), there appears a photo of Nimzowitch with his name signed in Hebrew letters. Apparently this is supposed to be his own signature in Hebrew (or Yiddish). It is almost certain that Nimzowitch, a European Jew, spoke and wrote Yiddish (and perhaps Hebrew), but are there other examples of his signature in this language?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The First Israeli Telephone Match

L. to R.: D. Carmeli, Y. Maroz and Y. Ish-Horowitz, the "Kol Israel" operators of the special phone line during the match. Source: Shaul Hon's Davar chess column, 4.1.1952.
On 14.12.1951, Shaul Hon's chess column in Davar declared there will be a "chess duel" between Tel Aviv and the rest of the country. The gimmick -- the match will be transmitted on a special phone line between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The match took place over Hannukah 5712 (last week of December 1951). According to the 4.1.1952 report in Hon's chess column, the result was (Tel Aviv's team on the left):

1). Aloni (W)- Czerniak (B) 1:0 (White won)
2). Mandelboim (ph. spelling) (B)- Porat  (W) 0.5:0.5
3). Hon (B)- Glass (W) : "Game stopped where Hon has chances of a draw".
4). Keniazer  (W) - Dyner (B) : "Game stopped with Keniazer a piece up and with winning chances".

So Tel Aviv showed its superiority over "the rest of the country". Hon gives the sharpest game -- Aloni - Czerniak -- in his 18.1.1952 column. As usual, a computer check finds some oversights but on the whole Hon's analysis is quite good.

Aloni, Itzchak - Czerniak, Moshe
Tel Aviv - "Rest of Country" Telephone Match, 12.1951
[Comments: Shaul Hon and (when noted) Rybka 2.3.2]
E71: King's Indian: 4 e4 d6 5 h3  

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.h3 

To prevent Ng4 after Be3. 

5...0–0 6.Be3 e5 7.d5 Ne8  

This defense's problems are seen in the cramping of the c8 Bishop and the entire Queen side.  

8.g4 f5 9.gxf5 gxf5 10.Nf3  

White has more space and attacking chances on the King's side.  

 10...f4? 

 Now the c8 Bishop is completely paralyzed. 

11.Bd2 Rf6 12.Qc2 Rh6  

A rook with no future. 

13.0–0–0 a6  

Better is  13...a5 with the idea of Nd7-c5 since there's no White Bishop on e3. 

14.Kb1 c5 15.dxc6  

(Rybka prefers 15.Qb3 immediately.)
 
15...Nxc6 16.c5! 

Activating White's King's Bishop.  

16...b5 17.cxb6 Be6?  

Better is  17...Qxb6 18.Nd5 Qb7 19.Qxc6 Qxc6 20.Ne7+ Kf8 21.Nxc6 Bb7 22.Rc1 Rc8 And Black recovers the piece. (Rybka quite agrees...) 

18.b7 The winning pawn. (Here Rybka prefers 18.Nd5.)

18...Rb8 19.Nd5 Ne7 20.Bxa6 Nxd5 21.exd5 Bf7? 

Better is 21...Bxd5 22.Bxf4 Bxf3 23.Qb3+ Kh8 24.Bxh6 Bxd1 25.Bxg7+ and wins the Bishop on d1. (Rybka believes 21...Qb6 as the best chance).

22.Ka1 22...Bh5 23.Qb3  

(Rybka prefers 23.Qc8 Bxf3 24.Ba5 Rxc8 25.bxc8Q Qxc8 26.Bxc8. But this move does set a trap...)

23...e4 ('??' -Rybka, since it allows the following combination.)

24.Rc1

A deliberate sacrifice to allow Rc8. 

24...Bxf3 25.Rhg1 Rg6 26.Rxg6 hxg6 27.Rc8 Qg5 

 Desperation. 

28.a4 e3 29.fxe3 Bxd5 30.Bc4 Bxc4 31.Qxc4+ d5 

32.Rxb8

Generosity!

32...dxc4 33.Rxe8+ Kf7 34.b8=Q Qg1+ 35.Ka2 Qd1 36.Rd8 Qxa4+ 37.Kb1 And Czerniak resigned on the next move. (1–0).

Friday, October 15, 2010

A Nice Combination by Shaul Hon

Hon -- R. M. White to play and win.

Shaul Hon, one of Israel's main chess organizers, authors, and all-around chess activists, was (as he would surely would have been the first to admit) by no means a weak player, but not a particularly strong one. He never, for example, played on Israel's national team in the Olympiad or won Tel Aviv's (or the national) championship.

But this does not mean he could not find good moves! Above is an ending (given in Davar's chess column, which he edited, on 27/10/1950 as "ending 78" from a game "played in September 1950") where White wins with a nice combination.

Solution (highlight to view):

1. Ne5+ Kh6 2. Ng4+ Kg6 3. Be4+ Qxe4 4. Qxh7+ Kxh7 5. Nf6+

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Persitz's Earliest (?) Published Game and Photograph

Tel Aviv Championship, March 1950. Sitting (L. to R.): Dr. N. Labunski, Y. Dobkin, H. Cahana, Dr. M. Oren (then Chwojnik), A. Weiler (phonetic spelling), A. Sokolovski (ph.). Standing (L. to R.): A. Labunski, D. Wolfinger (ph.), S. Smiltiner, Y. Harnick (ph.), W. Wollpart (ph.), R. Persitz (red dot), K. Friedman, M. Koynovski (ph.) Source: Davar's chess column, 3.3.1950. Some spellings from Jeremy Gaige's Chess Personalia: a Biobibliography.
Raphael Persitz (1934-2009) was one of Israel's greatest natural talents. His first published game -- to my knowledge -- is the following victory over Avraham Labunski, Tel Aviv's champion, in the second round of the Tel Aviv Championship of 1949-50 (Jewish year 5710). It was played in the 2nd round.

I doubt there was a change in the editors of the chess column from Shaul Hon to anyone else, but, for the record, for a few months previously (and in this column as well) the chess column was unsigned -- nor was Hon given any credit for it anywhere in the paper (so far as I could find). Hon had often mentioned elsewhere that he is "in the army" as an excuse for delays. Perhaps at the time the column was done by someone else due to Hon being on active duty?

The reason for me wondering is that the annotations are a bit odd. First, it is true that in this line, unlike in some others in the Nimzo-Indian, 8. Qxc3 is less popular than 8. bxc3, but it is still playable (the motivation is, naturally, to not double the pawns as well as to keep the two Bishops, although here this plan is probably not the best.) Second, the annotator's insistence that, in effect, all of White's trouble come from "moving the queen too much" seems to me to be rather dogmatic. Third, taking the annotations as a whole, one wonders why, if White made somewhere between four and six bad moves up to that point, and wasted a third of his moves on Queen wanderings, Black only has "the initiative" (as opposed to a completely winning position) by move 22. (A computer check also shows Black has only a slight, though real, advantage after 22. ... Qc8.) Perhaps Hon was in the army and the annotations done by someone else?

Labunski,Avraham - Persitz,Raaphi [E38]
Tel Aviv Championship 49/50 (2), 04.03.1950 
[Annotations: Hon, Shaul(?); Source: Davar's Chess Column, 10.3.1950] 

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 d5 5.e3 0–0 6.Nf3 c5 7.a3 Bxc3+ 8.Qxc3 

It is better to take with the pawn.  

8...Ne4 9.Qc2 

The Queen made 3 out of 9 moves and this is a loss of time in the opening.  

9...Qa5+ 10.Nd2  

Wants to keep the two Bishops, but Persitz continues to pressure. 

10...Nc6 11.Rb1 

Better is  11.cxd5 and to simplify. 

11...cxd4 12.b4 Qd8 13.Nxe4 dxe4 14.Qxe4 f5  

A weak move, due to the weakening of the pawn formation and the closing in of the Queen's Bishop, but White did not take advantage of this tactical mistake.  

15.Qd3  

Better is  15.Qc2. 

15...dxe3 16.Qxe3?  

The Queen again? Better to take with the Bishop, and if the Queens are exchanged White will have a better ending due to the two Bishops and Black's shut out Queen's Bishop. 

16...Nd4 17.Bd3 e5  

Black takes advantage of White's error and releases the Queen's Bishop.  

18.0–0 Re8 

18...e4? 19.Bb2! 

19.f3 f4 20.Qf2 Bf5 21.Rd1 Bxd3 22.Rxd3 Qc8 

 Black now has the initiative. 

23.c5 Qf5 24.Qd2  

Of 24 moves, White's Queen made 8! 

24...Rad8 

 Threatens 25. ... Nxf3+!  
 25.Kf1 Kf8 

 Renewing the threat. (25...Nxf3? 26.Qa2+ and wins the Knight.) 

26.Qd1 Re7 27.Bb2  

The Bishop finally moves. 

27...Red7 28.Bxd4 Rxd4 29.Rxd4 Rxd4 30.Qe1 Qd3+ 31.Kg1 Rd5 32.a4 Qc2 

 The concentration of force on the second rank determines the battle.  

33.h3 

 White is helpless. 

33...Rd2 34.Qf1 Rxg2+ 35.Kh1  

35.Qxg2 Qxb1+ 

35...Rf2 36.Qg1 Rxf3 0–1


Wolf's Later Chess Activities

My previous note that Wolf apparently didn't participate in any chess activities in Palestine or Israel was wrong. As Davar chess column (Ed. Shaul Hon) noted on 6/1/1950:
On Dec. 19th 1949 the old master Siegfried Reginald Wolf celebrated his 82nd birthday. In world chess today there are only two survivors which encompass three generations: Mieses (now 84) and Wolf.Wolf attacked chess with youthful enthusiasm from his childhood, and soon conquered and got first prizes. He played with the best players in the world and had good results. Even four years ago (at the age of 78!) he participated in a six-person tournament in Haifa, and if his stamina could not keep up with that of the younger players, his thought and chess knowledge made him a hard nut to crack to the other contestants. 

The S. R. Wolf Cup

Tel Aviv and Rishon Le'Tziyon teams with the S. R. Wolf cup, 1950. Sitting (L. to R.): I. Dyner, L. Braun, J. Hajtun, Dr. A. Adler, L. Shatner. Standing (L. to R.): Y. Dobkin, A. Labunski, I. AloniDr. M. Oren (then Chwojnik),  Y. Schwartz (Rishon Le'Tziyon club secretary). Source: Davar, 27.1.1950. Spelling of some names helped by Jeremy Gaige's indispensable Chess Personalia: A Biobibliography.
Today, few people have herd of Siegfried Reginald Wolf. But, in his old age in Haifa, he was honored by the Israeli chess establishment (such as it was) at the time. One example is reported in Davar chess column (Ed. Shaul Hon) on 13, 20, and 27/1/1950.

Davar reports on these dates that the "Shemen" corporation had donated an "S. R. Wolf cup", and that various cities' teams played in the "Inter-city championship for the S. R. Wolf Cup" for it. On 14/1 and on 21/1, the Tel Aviv team won both its meetings with Rishon Le'Tziyon's team (3:2 at the Rishon Le'Tziyon club, 4.5:0.5 in the return match in Tel Aviv), winning(*) the championship (and the cup).  

Davar mentions that in another match "three weeks ago" (20/1 column) Rishol Le'Tziyon's team defeated Jerusalem's team  "9:3" -- from the score, although it is not explicitly stated, it seems likely this too was a double match, part of this inter-city championship.

(*) or retaining -- the 13/1 column claims Tel Aviv already "holds" the cup, the 20/1 column that the match between the two teams is "part of" the inter-city tournament for the cup. It is not clear from the reports if the cup was offered in previous years.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Siegfried Reginald Wolf, 1867-1951

Image credit: Shaul Hon's chess column, Davar, 19.1.1951, p. 23
One of the forgotten players of the past was the strong player Siegfried Wolf (historical Elo rating 2330 according to Jeremy Gaige's indispensable Chess Personalia: a Biobibliography). He was an Austrian who represented his country in three Olympiads, getting decent results (see link for details). His best result is probably the (shared) championship of Austria, 1925. He emigrated to Palestine in the 1930s following Hitler's rise to power and later Anschluss of Austria, living the rest of his life in Haifa.

Despite never playing in any serious Israeli or Palestinian tournament, unsurprising considering the harrowing experience of escaping to Palestine by the skin of his teeth in his old age as the Nazis closed in, edited 9/10/2010: apparently he did participate in some tournaments after all -- see the 9/10/2010 post about Wolf. he was recognized as the "grand old man" of Palestinian (later Israeli) chess. For his "80th birthday", says Hon (actually Wolf was already in his 82nd year) a four-player tournament with Porat (then Foerder), Aloni, Glass and Feyer (phonetic spelling) was arranged by the Haifa club, with the result of... a four-way draw with 1.5 points each. (Source: Davar's chess column, ed. Shaul Hon, 17.6.49).

Below is a higher-quality image of Wolf, taken at the Leopold Trebitsch Memorial tournament of 1935.  Standing: Immo Fuss, Erno Gereben, Lajos Steiner, Esra Glass, Albert Becker, Erich Eliskases, Max Gratzinger (committee). Sitting: Josef Kolnhofer, Hans Müller, Ernst Grünfeld, Rudolf Spielmann, Siegfried Wolf, Baldur Hönlinger (arbiter). The photo (and identification) is taken from a website dedicated to the tournament, and is there credited to the Schachklub Hietzing Wien.


Image credit: Jan van Reek's chess web site's Leopold Trebitsch Memorial section.

Tough Crowd

Image Credit: www.chessgraphics.net
From Davar's chess column, Friday, 18.11.1949 (Ed. Shaul Hon), phonetic spelling of names: 
Comrade [haver -- equivalent of "Mr." in then-socialist Israel, A.P.] Yosef Haytung (Haytenberg) from Rishon Le'tziyon gave a simultaneous exhibition Saturday night (12.11.1949) in the Hadera Chess Club against 27 opponents. The games were played quickly and took 2 hours and 35 minutes. The players showed very strong opposition and Haytung managed to win only 14, lost 11(!) and drew 2. Among the winners two youngsters of 15-16. The game aroused great interest in the town and drew a crowd of onlookers. Haytung's time record is worth mentioning, compared to Foerder (later Porat) and Aloni that took 5-6 hours. 
I'll bet it drew a crowd. Then again, so did the Christians in the coliseum...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

More on Czerniak and Endgame Studies

A previous post about Moshe Czerniak's study prompted the following email from Yochanan Afek:
This is undoubtedly the only study Czerniak ever composed. He himself showed it to me once and noted it is his only composition. In Harold van der Hiejden's database of over 70,000 studies, there are both the original and the corrected versions. You gave the corrected version. Both appeared the same year [1932] in the same Polish magazine [Swiat Szachowy]. ... Czerniak composed only one study but was a enthusiastic fan of the art [an impression easily confirmed by others who were "Czerniak's boys" -- A.P.]. Not only would he would routinely include studies in his lectures in Bikurey Ha'itim chess club, but also publish them (mostly miniatures) every week in his chess column in Ha'aretz
Afek adds an interesting observation:
Van der Heijden's database includes another item by Czerniak. It might be thought to be a study jointly composed by him and Mijo Udovcic [Afek adds in another email that Udovcic was the fist Croatian to win the GM title, in 1962 according to Jeremy Gaige's Chess Personalia: a Biobibliography - A.P.]. But in reality the position is exactly the same as the final position in the 1969 Zagreb international tournament and the 'study' is probably the result of the post-mortem analysis. 
Actually the final position of the (drawn) game is subtly, but importantly, different than the study's initial position (Afek was using the term "exactly" slightly loosely...), but Afek is surely correct that it is a post-mortem analysis, considering "what would have been" had Black played differently and his king had been farther away from the g-file.

Czeriak, Moshe -- Udovcic, Mijo
Zagreb International Tournament, Zagreb, Yugoslavia , 9.18.1969 (Round 10), B70

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 d6 6.g3 Bd7 7.Bg2 g6 8.b3 Bg7 9.Bb2 0–0 10.0–0 Nxd4 11.Qxd4 Qa5 12.Nd1 Rac8 13.Qd3 Qh5 14.f3 Rfd8 15.Ne3 Qc5 16.Bd4 Qa5 17.Rf2 b5 18.f4 Bc6 19.Nd5 Bxd5 20.exd5 Ng4 21.Re2 Qb4 22.Rd1 Bxd4+ 23.Qxd4 Qxd4+ 24.Rxd4 Rc3 25.Rxe7 Rxc2 26.h3 Kf8 27.Rde4 Nf6 28.Re2 Rxe2 29.Rxe2 Rc8 30.Kf2 Rc5 31.Rd2 Rc3 32.Bf3 Nd7 33.Ke2 Nc5 34.g4 a5 35.g5 Kg7 36.Bg4 h6 37.h4 f6 38.Bf3 b4 39.Rd4 Rc2+ 40.Rd2 Rc1 41.Kf2 fxg5 42.fxg5 hxg5 43.hxg5 Nd7 44.Ke3 Ne5 45.Be4 Nf7 46.Rg2 Rh1 47.Kf4 Rh3 48.Bf3 Ne5 49.Be4 Rh4+ 50.Ke3 Nf7 51.Bf3 Ne5 52.Be4 Rg4 53.Rxg4 Nxg4+ 54.Kd4 Ne5 55.Ke3 Kf7 56.Kf4 Ke7 Drawn.

The final position:  


And now, the study's initial position:

Could White win with a piece sacrifice, trying to queen an advanced pawn against a lone knight, taking advantage of the Black king's "offside" position (in the study)? It turns out that Black has an amazing "knight-tour"-like defense. 

Solution (highlight to view):

1.Bxg6 Nxg6+ 2.Kf5 Nh4+ 3.Kg4 Ng2 4.Kf3 Ne1+ 5.Ke2 Nc2 6.Kd3 Ne1+ 7.Ke2 Ng2 8.Kf3 Nh4+ 9.Kg4 Ng6 10.Kf5 ½–½

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Doing their Bit

Itzhak Aloni (with black hat) giving a simultaneous display to soldiers, 1948. To his left Shaul Hon. Source: Davar's chess column, Sept. 10th, 1948. Photo: P. Cheznik [phonetic spelling]

During the war of independence of 1948, Israeli chess players also did their bit. Itzhak Aloni and other players gave simultaneous exhibitions for soldiers (see picture above), and Shaul Hon arranged, reported, and even was supposed to give some displays himself (though his own display was canceled). Apparently, reports Hon (Sept.10th, 1948), this came as a request to the Emmanuel Lasker chess club in Tel Aviv from the Army's education department.

Some results were:

Israel Rabinovich-Barav gave the first army simul, in a military base 'somewhere in Tel Aviv'.  +16 -1 (playing in 'two batches'). Date not given, but presumably ca. Aug. 1948.

Itzhack Aloni, 'Tevat Noah' [Noah's Ark] cafe in Tel Aviv, +35 -5 =1, 4/9/1948.

Jehuda Gruengard, Culture House, Tel Aviv, +15 -1, 27/11/1948.

Yoseph Herman, Culture House, Tel Aviv, +18 -4, 4/12/1948.

Dov Wulfinger, Culture House, Tel Aviv, +16 -4, 11/12/1948.

Israel Rabinovich-Barav, Lasker Club, Tel Aviv, +18 -1 =3, 18/12/1948. 'The entire game took only two hours and a few minutes'.

A. Mendelbaum, Culture House, Tel Aviv, +20 -2, 25/12/1948. 'An excellent time: two and a quarter hours'.

Sources: Shaul Hon's Davar's chess column, 10/9/48, 24/9/48, 2/12/48, 10/12/48, 31/12/48.

Paul Keres Photograph

Photo Credit: Davar chess column (editor: Shaul Hon), p. 26, 16 4 1948.
The above picture of Paul Keres seems surprisingly little known. I stumbled upon it by chance, looking in the old Hebrew-language chess press. (Yes, I know Keres wasn't Jewish...)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Multi-Talented

Looking at old newspapers for my chess research, I have discovered Shaul Hon had been, not only the editor of Davar's chess column (published in its weekly supplement, Ha'shavua, every Friday starting in the late 40s), but -- occassionally -- also one of the writers of its weekly crossword puzzle.

Given Hon's wide education and his being a student of the Hebrew language in particular, as can be seen in his biography, this is not surprising...

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Chess, Art, and Peace

Invitation to the "64" exhibition by the "Tramway" Group. See below for details. Image Credit: Dr. Fisher Corp.

There is a very interesting chess art exhibition in the zionists of America House (link in Hebrew) in Tel Aviv. It is part of the "art for peace collection" by Dr. Eli Fischer, the founder of the company that bears his name, and is shown in the gallery in the ZOA House named after his late wife, Deborah Fischer.

The exhibition is named "64", and the curator is Doron Polak. It is by artists of the Tramway Art Group: Lana Gerhstein, Sergey Sichenko, Igor Kaplunovich, Pavel Zehnbacht, and Nikolae Kavod. (Click on the links to get to their homepage and/or email them). Below are two examples of the art involved, used with Doron Polak's permission.

Photo: A.P.


Photo: A.P.


Friday, September 3, 2010

A Study by Czerniak(?)

To my surprise, a recent Chess Cafe's endgame studies column [opens as pdf file] happened to show an ending by "M. Czerniak" (Ending #709 they published, reproduced below with their information about the source). Note that the pdf file includes the long and interesting solution to the study, as well.

Presumably this is the same Moshe Czerniak who later became Israel's "Mr. Chess"; but nowhere have I heard of him ever composing studies or problems. Of course I may be wrong and it's a different Czerniak, but that seems unlikely.

Is anything else known about Czerniak as a composer?

M. Czerniak, Swiat Szachowy, 1932 (+)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Joy of Books

Sometimes, I post things on this blog that are of a general chess nature, not having anything in particular to do with Jews and/or Israel/Palestine, though they do have to do with chess, and usually, with chess history. This post is such a case.

Today, everybody just "knows" nobody needs chess books any more, and all that matters are databases -- especially so as to keep up-to-date with the latest opening novelties. But let us consider what Amos Burn had to offer us -- way back in 1901.

Burn was, in his peak (ca. 1890) almost as strong, based on his international tournament record, as Steinitz was at the time, while remaining an amateur. He was also British Amateur Champion, won many strong national tournaments, etc. He was also a longtime editor of chess columns. In the Liverpool Weekly Mercury, 17 Aug. 1901, he offered a correspondence game between the Liverpool Chess Club (where he was one of the consultants) and the Edinburgh Chess Club.

The game reached the following position:


Burn notes that, after the last move, 53. Bf4!, the Liverpool CC announced mate in 45. The Edinburgh CC, in reply, accepted their analysis and resigned the game!

Why? Burn explains in his long column (I am paraphrasing):

  1. First, in general, White, due to his advanced passed pawn, should wins once he forces the exchange of bishops.
  2. But things are not that simple. If Black's king were on f7, Black could accept the exchange of bishops since then he could keep the king on d8 or e8, ready to move to d7 the moment the White's king moved to e5 (e5 and d7 are corresponding squares), putting White in a drawing zugzwang. As it is, after the forced 53. ... Bxf4 54. Kxf4, if Black plays 54. ... Kd7? 55. Ke5! and it is Black who is in a losing zugzwang.
  3. So 54. ... Kd6 is forced, and White then wins by moving his king to the queen side and queening a pawn there, as Black is too late to stop him after he takes the f-pawn. 
  4. But why is the win so long? Isn't an outside (and far-advanced) passed pawn usually quickly decisive? Because, Burn's analysis makes clear, nevertheless Black can take the f-pawn (which is relatively close to the d-file) and just manage to queen as White queens, leaving the two sides with an interesting an complicated queen's ending!
So we get:

55. Ke4 Ke6 56. Kd4 c5+ ('If 56. ... Kd6 57 c5+ wins' -- Burn.) 57. Kc3 Kd7 58. Kb3 Kd6 59. Ka4 Ke6 60. Kd7 61. f7 (at the right time) Ke7 62. Kc6 Kxf7 63. Kb7 b5 64. cxb5 c4 (nothing else reaches a queen's ending at all) 65. b6 c3 66. bxa7 c2 67. a8=Q c1=Q.  

Analysis Diagram

Now, adds Burn, this queen's ending is (due to the extra advanced pawn) won for White. But it isn't simple! He notes: 'It would have been an almost endless task to... arrive at the solution by mere plodding analysis'. Instead he offers the following strategic analysis (I shortened it) of various winning plans.
  1. Speaking generally, the a-pawn cannot be queened unless Black's king is on the second rank, otherwise the white king will be trapped in the corner.
  2. If White's king first captures Black' pawn, he can then (both his pawns defended by the queen) take refuge in a8, advance the pawn to a7, and with his queen at b7 advance the g-pawn, threatening mate or exchange of queens. Then Black's queen must capture the g-pawn, and white checks at c8 or moves his king to b8, queening the a-pawn.
  3. Alternatively, if the black king moves to h7 (the second rank) the a pawn can queen.
  4. Or else, in many cases, the a-pawn can be abandoned, so long as the king is close enough to the g-pawn to queen it. 
  5. In all these cases White must avoid perpetual check, and to do this the black pawn must be made liable to capture by the White king. 
So, we have, in one column:
  1. A game where a bishop's ending turns from a drawn to a lost pawn's ending due to one tempo; 
  2. a pawn's ending that turns into a complex queen's ending; 
  3. a deep analysis of the ending's various winning plans and pitfalls; 
  4. all that leading to an announcement of mate in 45 from the original bishops' ending.
Oh, and not to mention, the complete game itself.

But amateurs think that they will get more out of chess by checking their constantly-updated database for opening novelties they will never play and won't know how to exploit if they did play.

They must be joking.

(Source of Burn's column: Richard Forster's superb Amos Burn: A Chess Biography, pp. 498-499).

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tourist-Trap Chess

Photo: A.P.
Photo: A.P.
Here we have something slightly different. Jerusalem's old city is full of little bazaars where Arab shopkeepers sell various knickknacks to passing tourists. Apparently "authentic" oriental chess sets are very popular.

Needless to say the actual Arab version of chess -- shatranj -- would not have queens. Instead, it would have a vazir, literally "counselor", roughly equivalent to "prime minister", or the shah's chief adviser. It certainly won't have any bishops!  What we really have here are simply Staunton-design cheap wooden sets.

From the "Chess for Yuppies" File

What's wrong with this picture? (Photo: A. P.)
 Chess is seen, sometimes, as not so much a game but a status symbol -- something that intelligent and/or successful and/or rich people engage in to show their superior mind. Many people own a chess set without knowing how to play -- simply as a mark of culture.

The above (found in one of those god-awful "gifts for men" store, with overpriced made-in-China "exclusive" junk) is the result. Oy.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mieses in Palestine -- Part II

In spring 1936, Jacques Mieses visited Palestine. He gave a few exhibitions. His results were:

Tel Aviv, May 2, 1936: +21 -4 =10. Among the winners was Shlomo Smiltiner (b. 1915) -- who, by the 1960s, was part of the Israeli chess world's "old guard", and who is still, as of this writing, alive and playing chess. There were about 50 spectators, and the game took 4.5 hours. It was arranged at the Clerks' Club.

Jerusalem, May 5, 1936: 2 Consultation games (=2). 1st board: Mohilever, M. Weitz, spelling corrected 10/2/2014; presumably the same Weitz who was the chess patron of the club -- see here for more details. Burnstein, and Not. 2nd board: Kelter, Y. Weitz, and Lukowitz (all spellings except Mohilever's phonetic). At the Menorah Club.

Jerusalem, May 7, 1936: At the Menorah Club. Blindfold simul against five opponents (+3 =2). Drew against Torczyner (a famous linguistics professor, Shaul Hon's mentor) and Silberberg. 'His performance amazed all the spectators'.

Jerusalem, May 9, 1936: Simultaneous display against 24 (+17 -3 =4). Mohilever drew again. At the Menorah Club.

Haifa, May 14, 1936:  At the Werner Cafe. Details missing.

Haifa, May 19, 1936: Planned "against 30 players" a the Teltsch House. Details missing.

Edited to add: a contributor notes the simul was eventually against 17 (+15 -1 =1). Source: Davar, May 15th, 1936. 

Below is the second consultation game (vs. Kelter, Y. Witz, and Lukowitz). Mieses is Black. Annotations by Moshe Marmorosh.

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nc3 e5?! 

An unusual move in this opening and the White consultants manage to refute it.

4. cxd5 cxd5 5. dxe5 d4 6. Ne4 Qa5+ 7. Nd2! Qxe5

Better was 7. ... Nc6 8. f4 Nh6 with the idea of 9. ... Nf5.

8. Ngf3 Qd5 9. Nb3 

Black now loses the isolated d-pawn.

9. ... Nf6 10. Nfxd4 Nc6 11. e3 Ne4 

The threat is 12. .... Bb4+.

12. Nxc6 Qxd1+ 13. Kxd1 bxc6 14. Ke1 Bb4+ 15. Bd2 Nxd2 16. Nxd2 Bb7 

17. a3 Be7 18. Bd3 0-0-0 19. Ke2 g6 20. b4 Rd7 21. Rhd1 Bf6 22. Rab1 Rhd8 23. Ne4 Be7 24. Bc4 f5 25. Be6 

Apparently Black should lose due to 26. Rxd7 and 27. Rd1, but...

25. ... Ba6+ 26. Ke1 fxe4 27. Rxd7 Rxd7 28. Rd1 Bd3 29. f3!

Threatening to win the Bishop after 30. fxe4, but the old master finds a way out. 

29. ... c5!

The only saving move!

30. bxc5

30. fxe4 c4!

30. ... Bb5 31. Bxd7+ Bxd7 32. Rd5 Kc7

Better was 32. ... fxe3

33. Re5 Bf8 Rxe4 Bxc5 35. Rc4 Kd6 36. Rc3 a5 37. Kd2 a4 38. Rd3+ Kc6 39. Kc2 Be6 40. g4 Bc4 41. Rc3 Kb5 42. f4 Bd5

Draw agreed (0.5-0.5).
 

Sources: Davar's chess column (ed. Moshe Marmorosh), 7.5.36 and 14.5.36. Apparently there were no reports of Mieses' results at Haifa, or the games were canceled.

An Amusing Position

From the Tel Aviv championship of 1947. Source: Shaul Hon's chess column, Davar, Feb. 7th, 1947.

White: Yehuda Greungard Black: Yosef Dobkin.
(Annotations: Shaul Hon)
 French Defense

1.  e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. a3 Bxc3+ 5. bxc3 dxe4 6. Qg4 Nf6 7. Qxg7 Rg8 8. Qh6 c5 9. Ne2 Nc6 10. dxc5 

Very good! Destroys Black's pressure in the center.

10. ... Rg6 11. Qe3 Qa5 12. Bd2 e5

13. ... Ng4 immediately is better, then Qxc5.

13. Ng3 Ng4

Black cannot protect his pawns, but better is 13. ... h5 14. Nxe4 Ng4 with attacking chances.

14. Qxe4 Qxc5 15. Qe2 f5 16. f3 Nf6 17. Qg2 Qd5

Better is 17. ... Qe7 immediately.

18. Rd1 Qg8 19. Bd3 e4 20. fxe4 fxe4 21. Nxe4 Nxe4 22. Bxe4 Re6 23. Qf3

If 23. Qh3, 23. ... Qg4 wins a piece.

Ne5 24. Qe2 Qg4 25. Rf1 Qh4+ 26. g3 Qe7 27. Be3

A rare case: the entire e-file is occupied!

27. ... Bd7

If 27. ... Nf4?!, then 28. Qb5+ Bd7 29. Rxd7!! Qxd7 30. Rf8+ and wins.

28. Bf5 Rc6 29. Bxd7+

29. Qh5+! wins instantly.

29. ... Nxd7 30. Bg5 Qxe2+ 31. Kxe2

White successfully repulsed Black's attacks and remains two pawns to the good.

31. ... Rxc3 32. Kd2 Rc5 33. Re1+ Ne5 34. Rf5 Black resigns (1-0).

Friday, August 13, 2010

It isn't all Brilliancies, you Know

In the 1976 Haifa Olympiad there were many very interesting games between strong players. But, as Shlomo Kandelshein (author) and Yedael Stepak (analyst) note in their very good book, The Haifa 1976 Chess Olympiad, the level of the "rabbits", the players from countries with no chess tradition, left much to be desired.

They give (p. 34) the following game, played in the second round between Brain G. Campbell (British Virgin Islands) and Maurice Kennefick (Ireland). Stepak's annotations are justifiably derisory.


Campell, B. G. -- Kennefick, M.
Haifa Olympiad, 2nd rd., 26/10/1976
Annotations: Yedael Stepak.

About the level of the countries which were ranked near the bottom in the Olympaid we can learn from the following amusing game. Does the first player deserve an Israeli 5th rank [American "D" level player- A.P.]?

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nc3 d5 3. Nf3

why not 3. ... Bg5 ?

3. ... g6 4. Bf4 Bg7 5. Nb5??

A tyro's move.   


 5. ... Na6 6. Qd2?? Ne4 7. Qe3 c6 8. Nc3 Qa5 9. 0-0-0 Nb4 10. a3?

Allows a piquant finish.

10. ... Nxc3 11. Bd6

Pretty good relative to White's level, but even this is too late.

11. ... Nba2+ 12. Kd2 Ne4+ 13. Qd3 Qb5+ 14. c4 Qxc4#


Today, due to computers and improved training, such games -- even among weak contestants and teams -- are rarely seen in the Olympiad.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Lost Chess Art of David Friedmann

 Title page of Köpfe berühmter Schachmeister by David Friedmann. (c) 1999 Miriam Friedman Morris. Collection located in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the Hague.

David Friedmann (1893-1980) was a Jewish artist and Holocaust survivor. He was born in Maehrisch Ostrau in the Austria-Hungary Empire (The town is known today as Ostrava, in the Czech Republic.)

In 1911, he moved to Berlin to study art. During WWI, he served with distinction as a battle artist in the Austro-Hungarian Army. He returned to Berlin and resumed painting late impressionist landscapes, still lifes, and nudes, and exhibiting at the Berliner Secession and numerous galleries through Germany and Czechoslovakia.

In 1924, his acclaim as a portraitist led to an additional career as a freelance press artist for various Berlin newspapers and magazines. He sketched many luminaries from all walks of life, from scientists such as Albert Einstein to barn-storming pilots such as the WWI ace (and, ironically, later Luftwaffe high-ranking officer) Ernst Udet (1). He was most at home in the artistic world, sketching numerous portraits of opera singers, musicians, actors, and chess players (3). He also portrayed politicians, sports legends, and industrialists.

As his daughter, Miriam Friedman Morris, says:
He learned that an International Chess Master Tourney would take place from July 1-18, 1923, in his home town and place of birth. He met Dr. Emanuel Lasker, the former would chess champion. He explained about his specialty of producing lithographs and intrigued him with the idea of portraying the players in the tournament. (My father was a master in lithographs and copper etchings, having studied this technique with Hermann Struck in 1913 in Berlin). (1)
The result was 50 numbered portfolios composed of 14 lithograph portraits (one for each player): Das Schachmeister Turnier in Maehrisch Ostrau, Juli 1923. Remarkably, after having been lost a second time,  portfolio no. 4 surfaced again in the Ostrava Museum. At some point the artist omitted Pokorny and Hromadka, and changed the title to Köpfe berühmter Schachmeister. This portfolio of 12 to 14 lithograph portraits is composed of most of the players of the 1923 tournament and now included Ossip Bernstein and/or Richard Teichmann (images from the portfolio linked to above, (c) 1999 Miriam Friedman Morris, hosted by the Koninklijke Bibliotheek - national library of the Netherlands). Emanuel Lasker himself owned portfolio no. 27; the Bibliotheek's portfolio is no. 28. (2)

After the Nazis' rise to power, his prewar career ended. In 1938, he fled with his young family to Prague, only to be deported in 1941 to the Lodz ghetto, and then in 1944 to Auschwitz and other camps. The Gestapo looted his oeuvre in 1941 in Berlin and again in Prague under the auspices of the Deutsches Reich. All through his incarceration, he continuing to draw and paint (scroll down on the web page linked to 1941ff.) (3)

It takes only a short glance at David Friedmann's art, as can be seen in the links provided as well as the illustration in the articles quoted, that he was a major artist, a great talent. To this day, Ms. Friedman Morris is looking for art by her father which was lost in the war. A detailed list is here. Another is here (in German and English).

Ms. Friedman Morris told me that while still in Berlin, her father gave or sold his art to Jewish friends or clients fleeing the Nazi regime to Eretz Israel. Due to his interest in chess, it is possible that some of his portraits of chess masters, and, who knows, perhaps other, unknown chess art, had been saved by chess players now in Israel. In fact, his art could be found anywhere in the world. If you, dear reader, know of such art, Ms. Friedman Morris and I would be very glad to hear about it.

Note in particular that David Friedmann varied his signature, signing sometimes Dav. Friedmann (as above), sometimes D. Friedmann, and sometimes just Friedmann (1). Scroll below in this link of his lost art for examples of his varied signature.

David Friedmann also lived and painted in Israel (1949-1954) and the United States, where he became an American citizen in 1960. He changed the spelling of his surname to Friedman.


References

(1) Friedman Morris, Miriam, “David Friedmann’s Artwork for Berlin’s Newspapers”, Chess Life, U.S. Chess Federation. Vol. 51, No. 9. September 1996. pp. 40-41.

(2)  Friedman Morris, Miriam, “David Friedmann’s Portraits of Famous Chess Masters”, The CCI-USA News, Chess Collectors International, Vol. 4, No. 1. May 1997. 

(3) "David Friedman: Timeline -- Artist as Witness." (c) 1989-2010 Miriam Friedman Morris. At the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

Friday, July 23, 2010

"A Dream Come True"

Garry Kasparov in the fundraiser. Photo Credit: Shahr Tzafrir.

Shahar Tzafrir, an Israeli hi-tech entrepreneur, has helped launch the fundraiser for Anatoly Karpov's bid for the FIDE presidency, together with chess greats Garry Kasparov and Magnus Carlsen. The story was featured on chessbase's web site, but -- by sheer chance -- Tzafrir is a friend of a friend.

So our mutual friend, who knows my interest in chess, sent me a link to Tzafrir's flickr photostream page -- which, naturally, features many unofficial (but interesting) pictures of the event.

Tzafrir describes it as "a dream come true".

Have a look!