Monday, March 14, 2016

Rivka Lichtenfeld, 1957 Israeli Women's Champion

 Beginning in 1955, there was a championship for Israeli women. The first champions were Ora Nudel-Yaron (1955) and Rivka Lichtenfeld (1957). A frequent correspondent notified us of the latter's history, which appears in many sources at the time, again given to us by him:

Rivka Lichtenfeld, Davar, Oct. 14h, 1957, p. 1
A short biography of Lichtenfeld – she emigrated to Israel with her husband from Vilna (Lithuania) ‘a few months ago’, and that she also played in the all-Russian championship as Lithuania’s (women’s) champion, which she had won four times, meaning she is the only woman player in Israel ‘with international experience’ -- is given in Herut, Nov. 29th, 1957, p. 6:

 It includes a game where she defeated Yehudit Kahana who won second place, with Zviya Goldbred, Anna Frank (not that Anna Frank, obviously), Pua Ehrlich, Nehama Margalit, Rachel Atidi and Sara Sariel (all phonetic spellings) following in 3rd-8th place. It notes she won, inter alia, the Lithuanian championship (for women) four times. The game is (with the chess editor's light annotations):

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Nf3 Bb4 5. Bd2 c5 6. cxd5 exd5 7. dxc5 Bxc5 Black remains with a weak d-pawn. 8. Na4 Be7 9. Qc2 Nc6 10. e3 O-O 11. Be2 Be6 12. O-O Rc8 13. Qd3 Qd7 14. Rfc1 Bf5 15. Qb3 Ne4 16. Be1 Rc7 17. Rd1 Rd8 18. Bb5 Bf6 19. Rac1 Qd6 20. Bxc6 Rxc6

 21. Qxb7 Ra6 22. b3 Be6 23. Rc7 Rxa4? Weak! 24. bxa4 Qb6 25. Rb1 Qxb7 26. Rbxb7The young Kahana didn't want to resign until she exchanged queens, apparently. 1-0

Below is a photo of her husbad, Yosef Lichtenfeld, taken in 1957 at the door of his and his wife’s hairdressing saloon in Ashdod, at the time a farway, disconnected city in the south of the country; the source is (again given by ourv correspondent) Zman Hadarom (NRG’s Southern local magazine), 23/8/2011, in ‘Lichtenfeld’s Fryzjer [haircuts]: about the fist hairdresser in Ashdod’, by Moshe Admon,

The Lichtenfelds could not make a living from chess (nor did they try to, it seems) and lived, in great hardship, as hairdressers in Ashdod. Rivka adds in the interview that she hated the work, but she had no choice. ‘Women wanted a haircut like screen stars’, no matter how unfitting to them, and she did as they wanted. She notes that she was shocked by Tel Aviv’s ‘society’ women who came to have a haircut and would pay 10 Israeli pounds – 20 times the price paid in Ashdod, ‘without batting an eye’. The article also adds she is an accomplished painter. 

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