Saturday, November 12, 2011

11.11.11 and Jewish Chess

Photo credit: Shachmat, vol. 20 no. 11-12 (Nov.-Dec. 1981), p. 201.
Yesterday was a once-in-a-century date: 11.11.11. This point is of no particular importance (after all, calendars are arbitrary) but it has a curious Jewish chess connection. As it happens there was an Israeli chess personality born on 11.11.11 -- that is, of course, 11.11.1911. He was Milu Milescu (link in German), the Romanian-Israeli composer.

He was, inter alia, as this post on the forum notes (in Hebrew), an international judge of chess compositions, edited a Romanian and a German chess magazine, and after coming to Israel in the 1960s wrote extensively for Shachmat. The post has other links about his chess exploits, in various languages.

His obituary in Shachmat (from which this picture is taken) notes that, among many other contributions to the magazine, he edited the section "Play and Compositions" (הקרב והקומפוזיציה) from the early 60s until his untimely death in 1981. The section dealt in similar ideas found both in actual games and in composed studies.

Ironically, the difference in time between his sending of his last column to Shachmat and its actual publication made it possible for his obituary to appear in the "Play and Composition" section which he wrote. So we have a section by Milu Milescu noting that Milu Milescu had died. Talk about ghost writing.


I suppose that explains how Moses, who allegedly received the entire Torah (first five books of the OT) on Mt. Sinai and wrote them all down, also wrote (Deut. 34:5) "And Moses died...": publishing backlog, that's how.

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