Tuesday, September 10, 2013

War Chess 1939-1945

Credit: see below.
Paweł Dudziński had kindly sent us his book Szachy wojenne 1939-1945 [War Chess], which is about just that: chess during WWII, mostly in Poland by Poles (especially Jewish Poles), Germans, and others, e.g. the Russian-French Alekhine. It also has a large section about games among Poles elsewhere, e.g., in Russian gulags, the Buenos Aires Olympiad, or the Middle East (e.g., Aloni, who was a member of Anders' army), and so on.

How many people who are reading this can name a single game played during that time by Polish players or in Poland? The book has well over 100 such games, and the games themselves are only a small part of the history covered in the book. The book tells us of over-the-board players, correspondence players, and problemists; of male and female players; of (to repeat) Poles, Germans, and others; of games played in private and in tournaments, in Olympiads and in ghettos; and much more besides. It has numerous rare photographs, not only of the players or of tournaments but of diplomas, personal effects, newspaper clippings, etc.; to name one particularly startling example, it has a collection of photos of chess sets made by inmates in the death camps.

The book's research and erudition puts that of most "serious" history books, let alone "mere" chess history books, to shame. I am giving only one example. Above is p. 295 from the index -- a perfectly typical page out of 20. It names, on that single page, dozens of people, including not only Tarrasch and Tartakower (noting the latter's nom de guerre 'Georges Cartier'), but also -- for example -- Jürgen Stroop, who destroyed the Warsaw ghetto, and a player we have met before on this blog -- Marek SzapiroNeed it be said that the sources I credit in the blog entry about Szapiro, as well as many others I did not use (or, for that matter, were aware of), are all used in War Chess's writing about Szapiro -- a fact easy to verify, since the book, naturally, gives full credit to all the sources used? 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for kind appreciation. Report on official promotion event of the book is online now: http://www.kwabc.org/index.php/17-latest-news-and-reports/111-ostrow-2013?showall=1&limitstart=

    Best regards
    Paweł Dudziński