Sunday, March 11, 2012


Italian bombing of Haifa, WWII. Credit: Wikipedia.  

How many chess players of significant strength were killed in wars? The death of numerous Jewish players in the holocaust is well known, but what about in actual acts of war? Some non-Jewish players were, of course, killed. Most famously, Vera Menchik was killed (with her sister, also a strong chess player, and her mother) in a V-1 bombing raid in 1944 (according to Wikipedia; some sources claim it was a V-2 attack).

One example is given to me by Almog Burstein. The Jewish player Simon Weil, who played in the 1935 Maccabia, was killed in an Italian bombing raid on Haifa in WWII. Also, after the 1973 war, for example, the Israeli chess magazine had obituaries for chess players who were killed, although (appropriately) without explicitly noting how strong, or weak, they were. This blog had noted some cases of problemists or players who were killed in wars or in terrorist attacks, but are there other cases?

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