Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Early Days of the Palestine Chess Federation

Source: Davar, Nov. 14th, 1934, p. 5. 
A frequent correspondent of ours notes that on Nov. 14th, 1934, the Palestinian Chess Federation officially started its activities by opening a chess club in the "City" cafe in Tel Aviv (three times a week) and calls for all chess players to join by writing to the secretary, Nachum Labounsky, in his Tel Aviv address. What's more it notes that its first general meeting in the same cafe had about 70 (!) players. It is interesting that one of the items on the agenda was 'hearing a report about the activities of the previous [chess] committee'.

As there was no previous chess Palestinian Chess Federation prior to this date, indeed the article itself notes that it had just started its actions, this can mean either the leading Tel Aviv players or organizers, perhaps that of the Rubinstein's club committee, or else that a committee of chess enthusiasts had worked as an unofficial Palestinian Chess Federation before the official annoucement. Mystery solved -- see next post, above.

Lebounsky himself writes on Nov. 30th in Davar (p. 10) that the Federation's two main goals are, apart from promoting chess in general (buying new sets, arranging tournaments, etc.) to stop the 'chaos' in Palestinian chess by having one federation, and to get Palestine into FIDE for the Olympiads -- in both of which it succeeded.

Edited to add: Ami Barav notes that the corrct spelling is 'Labounsky', not 'Levonsky'.

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