Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Penrose Fainting and Gereben Swindled

Source: Davar, Sept. 25th 1970, p. 16
A frequent correspondent to this blog notified us of an interesting article by the late Zvi Bar-Shira about the Siegen (1970) Olympiad. Bar-Shira notes, among other things (we have only used a small cutting of the entire article) that Penrose had blundered a piece to an opponent from Andorra (Olaf Ulvestad according to the databases), fainting at the board, and being sent back to England.

Bar-Shira also adds that Ernö (Aharon) Gereben -- 'an Hungarian Jew who didn't manage to find himself in Israel and emigrated to Switzerland' -- was a victim of 'an unpleasant event. His Indonesian opponent, Haji Ardiansyah (full name from Chessbase's 2005 'Big Database'), had 'smugly declared a stalemate', and both signed the scoresheet. Only after the game both saw it was not a stalemate, but Gereben's appeal of the score was rejected.

The databases bear this story out. Acording to Chessbase's database, they reached the following position:

Ardiansyah (Black) played 71... Qg6+, obviously believing that after the (forced) 72. KxQ Black is stalemated. In fact Black is not (72... Kf8), but the game is recorded in the databases as a draw after Black's 71st move, meaning White indeed accepted Black's claim.

This is somewhat comforting to players on my level. If this sort of fire can consume, as the Talmud says, the Cedars of the Lebanon (or of Siegen, at any rate), the moss on the wall, like ourselves, can feel better about our own lapses.