Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Chess and Politics, Continued

Eliezer Zurabin (l.) playing with Yitzhak Modai. Photo credit: A.P.

The above photo was taken 23/3/1979 on Menachem Begin's plane, as he was travelling in 1979. The two were close associates: Zurabin was the head of Begin's 1977 election campaign, and Modai one of the ministers (minister of energy and also minister of communications) in Begin's government.

It is interesting to note that the two, despite being VIPs, are playing with a cheap plastic (the pieces) and paper (the board) set, the kind of beginners' set Israeli children used to buy for pocket money. As for the game itself, White seems to have just queened, but Black is still a rook and knight for a couple of pawns ahead. The two seem to be taking this rather absurd position quite seriously.

The photograph is hanging in El Al's building in the Ben Gurion airport, together with many other candid photographs of Israeli PMs on El Al's flight. Begin and Ben Gurion themselves, as we have seen, occassionaly played chess, although neither were particularly good at the game (nor claimed to be).

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