Saturday, July 16, 2016

'Meet our Masters': Moshe Blass, by H. Reed

Our frequent correspondent Moshe Roytman had sent us, a while ago, quite a few nice "finds" from the chess literature of the early state of Israel. A particularly interesting one is that Al Ha'Mishmar's chess column had run a 'meet our masters' series of pen portraits of Israeli masters. Here is their portrait of Moshe Blass -- From Al Ha'Mishmar, Aug. 12th, 1949, p. 8, by H. Reed [ph. spelling]. Below is our translation, and our comments in square brackets.

Meet Our Masters

We are beginning this week a series of articles about Israeli chess players. We wish to introduce the reader a series of players that are not known to the public and, especially, to the youth. This week we overview Moshe Blass.

Moshe Blass

Among the chess masters in the country there are players of international caliber, which have succeeded in many tournaments and matches.

One of them is Moshe Blass. Before arriving in the country, 17 years ago, he was one of the strongest players in Poland, often mentioned together with Rubinstein, Tartakover, FrydmanMakarczyk, Dr. Kohn, and the late Przepiorka. In 1927, when Najodrf and Czerniak were young beginners [in Warsaw], he already won the Warsaw championship, after a brilliancy against P[aulino] Frydman. He played in the Olympiad twice for the strong Polish team: in 1928 in the Hague and in 1938 [sic - 1930 is correct] in Hamburg.

From 1933 he is part of the chess life in our country and for many years he had no equal, until younger forces like Foerder [Porat], Czerniak, and Aloni dethroned him.

His greatest victory was in 1935, in the international tournament arranged with the Maccabiah, when he came first before Foerder, Enoch, and the Viennese Glass, who recently returned to the country after many troubles [a hint that Glass ran away from Vienna to Shanghai in 1938, thus surviving the war].

Blass' style is superb, pure and classical, without entering opening complications. He shows his talent in the middle game, and his desire for beauty and perfection is evident in all his games.

As a man, Blass is modest, which made him popular with chess players.

Despite his age removing him from the tournament hall, it is a pleasure to see him next to his regular table in one of the coffee houses, beating strong opponents in offhand games.

The game added is Blass - Dobkin, Tel Aviv Championship, 1945 (Slav defense). According to the computer (Fritz 6), the game was more or less equal until Dobkin blundered, allowing mate in two, but it is still an interesting example. The analysis is by the editor of the chess column or Fritz 6, as indicated.

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 c6 3. d4 d5 4. e3 e6 5. Nc3 Nbd7 6. Bd3 dxc4 7. Bxc4 b5 8. Bd3 dxc4 9. a4 b4 10. Ne4 Bb7 11. b3 c5 12. Nxf6+ gxf6 13. Bb2 cxd4 14. Nxd4 Nc5 15. Bc4 Rg8 16. Rg1 Rxg2 17. Rxg2 Bxg2 18. Qh5 Bd5 19. Rd1 Bxc4 20. bxc4 Qa5 21. Qf3 Rc8 22. Nc6 Qxa4 23. Bxf6 b3 (23... Rxc6? 24. Qxc6! Qxc6 25. Rd8# - editor) 24. Na7

24...  Qxc4? (Fritz 6; it recommends 24... Rb8 or 24... Qb4+) 25. Qc6+ and Black resigned (1-0) due to 25... Rxc6 26. Rd8#.

Edited to add: we thank our correspondents for supplying the spelling of the names!




  3. Replies
    1. Makarczyk, yes, of course, but also Dr. Stanislaw Kohn, and Paulin Frydman, as Henryk Friedman was not that strong, yet.

    2. Thank you very much... will correct!