Thursday, March 11, 2010

Prime Ministers and Chess, Once More

Left to right: Boris Gelfand, Nathan Sharansky, and Benjamin Netanyahu.

A new item, from Israel Ha'Yom [Israel Today], 10.3.2010, p. 5 (my translation from Hebrew):
A Draw for Netanyahu and Sharansky against the World Chess Champion [sic]

By Shlomo Chezna

The prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu took a little time off and played chess with the new holder of the world chess champion title [sic, actually the winner of the chess world cup tournament -- A.P.] Boris Gelfand. Next to Netanyahu sat his helper, the head of the Jewish Agency Nathan Sharansky. The two could not defeat the champion but the game ended in a draw. Netanyahu said the previous game he played was against Sharansky himself, and was also a draw.
This is interesting since the photograph above (credit: Israel Hayom) clearly shows two boards, not one. It is not likely Gelfand played a "simul" against only two people, so perhaps Gelfand allowed them to move pieces on the second board? In any case, to draw against Sharansky (a serious player who, for example, defeated Kasparov twice in simultaneous exhibitions) or to draw against Gelfand, even in a consultation game, is an significant achievement for any chess player, let alone someone as busy as the Prime Minister.

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