Sunday, November 16, 2014

Storrs vs. Citron -- and more about the Jerusalem 'International Chess Club'

Storrs (right) platying Rabbi Citron. Credit: Rafi Kfir's 'Love of Jerusalem' web site [in Hebrew].
We have already noted that Ronald Storrs, who was Jerusalem's military governor after the first world war (as well as the civil administrator from 1920 to 1926, as Kfir's web site notes), was an avid chess player.

Our frequent correspondent Moshe Roytman notes this photo of him, in play with Rabbi Israel Abba Citron (1881-1927), Petah Tikva's rabbi (link in Hebrew), presumably in the 1920s.

Storr's memoirs are available online and contain many references to chess. His father taught him and his other children chess because once this 'king of games and game of kings' is learnt, one will never 'waste time or money on cards' (p. 9). Indeed the memoirs make clear -- quite apart from the above photograph -- that he never stopped playing the game.

Concerning the Jerusalem International Chess Club, which he founded, he notes: 'I founded a chess club "with a Christian (myself) President, Jewish Treasurer, Latin Catholic Secretary, and Moslem [sic] Members of Committee"' (p. 332). He adds on the same page that in the first tournament held, 'the first four prizes were won by Jews, and the fifth by the Military Governor [i.e., himself -- A. P.]'.

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