Sunday, February 19, 2012

Botvinnik -- then and now

Source: Doar Hayom, 2.3.1928

The frequent contributor Moshe Roytman notes that I was wrong in claiming Botvinnik was first mentioned in the Israeli (or Palestinian) press in the 1930s. Doar Hayom, in fact, mentions the 17-year-old Botvinnik On 12.3.1928, on p. 2, under the headline Jewish Youth a Chess Master in Russia. The article notes Botvinnik's achievements and claiming he began to play chess at the relatively old age of 11, got first prize in a 1st category tournament at age 14, and now got the "master of the USSR" title in a Moscow tournament. His colleagues, it is noted, consider him a chess genius and expect great things from him. 

The same page in Doar Hayom has a note (second headline in the photo above) about "The Nimzowitsch - Alekhine Match", where it is claimed the "Jewish player Nimzowitsch" will play a match against the world champion Alekhine, after he won a tournament in Berlin (the Berlin BSG tournament, where he scored 10/13). As we know things didn't turn out quite that way.

And what about the "now"? The Israeli Museum of the Jewish People has just opened a new exhibition about Jews in sports (no doubt it makes light reading, as the movie Airplane already noted)(*). One of the Jewish heroes of sports who gets his own booth in the exhibition? Mikhail Botvinnik. 

(*) Elaine Dickinson: Would you like something to read?
Hanging Lady: Do you have anything light?
Elaine Dickinson: How about this leaflet, "Famous Jewish Sports Legends"?

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