Tuesday, March 31, 2015

More on Erez Biton

Picture Credit: Wikipedia

As we noticed in the previous post, Erez Biton was mentioned as a blind player in his youth. He had just won the the Israel Prize for Literature -- not for his chess, but for his poetry. He is the first Mizrahi (Levant) Jew to win the prize.

Biton, of Moroccan descent (though born in Algeria), emigrated to Israel at age 6 in 1948. He was blinded and lost his right arm in an accident at age 11 -- which didn't stop him from becoming (as Wikipedia [link in Hebrew] notes, as well as the above link about the Israel Prize) a strong chess player, an important poet, and -- in his "day job" -- a social worker and rehabilitative psychologist. His poetry concentrates on the struggles of the Levant Jews in Israel.

Our frequent correspondent, Moshe Roytman, gave us a plethora of links (in Hebrew) from the Israeli press about Biton's chess exploits. For example, Davar notes that he was selected as a member of the committee of the world organization of chess for the blind (18/4/1968 p. 10), took second place in the Israeli championship for the blind (Jan. 8th 1971, p. 7), etc., as well as supplying us with some of his games. Chessbase and similar databases have more games, and Olimpbase has his complete olympiad record.

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