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.  


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! 


 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.  


 White is helpless. 

33...Rd2 34.Qf1 Rxg2+ 35.Kh1  

35.Qxg2 Qxb1+ 

35...Rf2 36.Qg1 Rxf3 0–1

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