Saturday, December 24, 2016

Yair Kreidman -- 66 years of active high-level chess

Credit: see below.

As the Israeli Chess Federation's web site reports (Hebrew), GM Yair Kraidman (left in the photo) had just played and achieved a very respectable 9th place in a large international tournament in Malta.

This marks his 66th year playing in serious events, starting from the very first Israeli junior championship, 1950, where he shared 1st place with Raafi Persitz (3.5/6), Persitz being declared the winner on the tiebreak, as Kraidman himself notes in an interview on the ICF's web site (Hebrew).

What is more, It is easy to find in numerous online databases that Kraidman has been playing regularly in international events, and this is not a one-off return, but a continuation of a constantly active career. The article also notes, inter alia, that this year marks Kraidman's 40th years as a GM. While this is not a record of chess activity per se, of course, it is quite noteworthy. Congratulation to Kraidman for his longevity!

The interview, for Hebrew speakers, is worth reading in its entirety, especially in its comparisons of Israeli chess (and chess in general) today as opposed to in the past. For example, he notes that in the past chess - even in the highest levels - was much more "gentlemany". For example, when Kraidman was playing in Manila (Philippines) in an all-GM tournament right after getting the GM title, his opponent, Petrosian overslept, and came an hour late.

Kraidman could have demanded a technical victory, but he didn't want to miss the chance to play the (ex) world champion - so he played and lost. Today, he notes, this will simply not be done: players would just demand the technical victory without playing as a matter of course.

We add that losing is, of course, never fun - but it does not seem that Kraidman is too sorry for having actually played Petrosian in a serious tournament, not an opportunity that comes every day, even if he lost. By chance, a colleague of ours, a strong but not a top-flight player, had happened to play both Mangus Carlsen online in two games, and John Nunn in a tournament. He lost all three games, unsurprisingly - but is glad he had the experience.

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