Saturday, December 3, 2011

Chess in the Warsaw Ghetto

Mark Szapiro, pre-WWII. Photo credit: Yakov Zusmanovich.

My Chess Life by Szapiro [Polish]. Photo credit: Yakov Zusmanovich.
O thou whose cynic sneers express,
The censure of our favorite chess,
Know that its skill is Science' self,
Its play distraction from distress... 

-- Abdullah ibn al-Mu'tazz, 861-908, trans. Daniel W. Fiske (Morhpy's friend and a chess player in his own right).

If there was ever a place where chess was needed to "distract from distress", it surely was the Warsaw ghetto. The Polish-Swedish player Marek Szapiro (1917-2002) was one of those who survived the ghetto. Yakov Zusmanovich, who specializes in collecting chess biographies, kindly informs me of Szapiro's book, My Chess Life (Penelopa publishing, Poland, 2005, ed.: Tomasz Lissowski). The book contains, among other things, over 100 games -- including some played in the ghetto.

Here is one such game -- from p. 59 of the book, with the author's punctuations and diagrams but without the rather deep annotations that are found in the book.

Szapiro,J. - Szapiro,Marek
Warsaw Ghetto, 10.1942
[Annotations: Marek Szapiro]
Source: M. Szapiro’s My Chess Life
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.exf5? Nc6 4.Bc4!? d5 5.Bb5 Bxf5 6.Nxe5 Qf6 7.d4 0–0–0!? 8.Nxc6 bxc6 9.Ba6+ Kd7 10.Be3 Qg6 11.Bd3 Bb4+ 12.Nc3 Ne7 13.0–0 Rhf8 14.Ne2 Bd6 15.Ng3 Rde8 16.Nxf5 Nxf5 17.Bxf5+ Rxf5 18.Qd3

 18... Re4! 19.g3 Rf3 20.Kg2 Rg4! 21.Rae1 h5! 22.Qe2 h4! 23.h3 Rgxg3+!

 ...and White resigned (0–1).

No comments:

Post a Comment