Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Who was "Milestone"?

Details & Credits: See below.
Amatzia Avni informs us that, while browsing Tel Aviv's 'Beit Ariela' library's newspaper archives on another matter, he discovered by chance that a 1930s children's magazine, Itoneynu (presumably Itoneynu Le'Ktanim, 'The Children's Newspaper'), had a chess column.

Avni sends us the first two column, from 1937; the first has instructions on how to make a chess set from old thread spools (of the type used by sewing machines, then common in many houses) and other household materials. The second describes the rules of the game. The author of the column was "E. Derech" (א. דרך), a short for the Hebrew expression Eben Derech, 'milestone'. Does any reader know who 'Eben Derech' may have been?

Avni notes that he is surprised that the chess column starts with instructions of making a chess set, since cheap sets were widely available, even in 1930s Palestine. It seems to me from the context -- a children's magazine -- that the "make your own chess set" instructions were meant as an independent arts & crafts activity.

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