Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Youth Champioship, 1959

Source: Kol Ha'am, 28/8/1959, p. 6
A frequent correspondent notes that the 1959 youth championship - reported above - had many players who later became important in Israeli chess. These include Gelfer, Kagan, Beliman, Peretz and more. 

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Shabtai Teveth and Chess

Source: Ha'Aretz, Nov. 15th, 1960, p. 2
Our frequent correspondent found what we think is a forgotten article by a major Israeli historial and author - Shabtai Teveth - about Israeli chess. The entire article (in Hebrew of course) is found here

In the article, Teveth notes that, as an outsider, the only different he noticed between the Israeli and the other teams is that while Israel's team consistent entirely of Jews, the other teams were only mostly Jewish - and that if the Israeli team had a non-Jewish Israeli player, 'the difference would disappear'.

Teveth adds that it seems to him odd that Israelis celebrate Israel's achievement in the 1960 Olympiad - 14th place - when chess is a 'Jewish game' and Israel should be expected to do better. He notes that this seems to him a sign of the lack of progress Israel had made in 'field of the spirit', and fears that if this is the best Israel can do, then it might prove Zionism had 'weakened, and not strengthened' the spiritual force of the Jewish people.

Teveth is far from being an anti-Zionist. On the contrary: he believes that it is essential, as part of the improvement, to continue to strengthen Zionism, and not see Zionism's job as finished now that it had created the Jewish state. Rather, if one is to move the spiritual center of the Jewish people to Israel,  emigration to Israel of the Jews - such as the Jewish players on foreign teams - is necessary, and this can be done only by instilling the Zionist ideal strongly in the world's Jewry. 

Who's Who

Source: Davar, March 9th, 1951, p. 20
Identifying the actors in Israeli / Palestinian chess is sometimes hard. So it's good to have photos such as this, pointed out to us by a frequent correspondent of a photo, probably from the first Israeli championship. It notes: 

Israel Barav (left) vs. Yosef Dobkin. next ot the table sits Y. Schwatz, the secretary of the Rishon Le'Tziyon [chess] club. Next to Barav stands Aryeh Mohilever - the first Hebrew editor of the 'Shachmat' magazine (1924).
This photo, we should add, was often reproduced in Israeli chess books of the 1950s and 60s, but often without details or credit (the article gives credit to the photographer: 'photographer - Frank.')  

A Hon Simul

Source: Davar, February 17th, 1950, p. 29
From the same frequent contributor, we also have a photo of Shaul Hon giving a simultaneous display in a high school in 1950. As we noted in the past, players often gave such displays in the early state, not only for financial reasons, but to help the troops or youngsters.  

Marmorosh's Book

Source: Ha'Boker, Feb/ 16th, 1945, p 6
When was Marmoroh's primer published? A frequent correspondent to this blog found the details (the exact publication date is not in the book itself). It was published by the Barlevi press, Allenby 57, Tel Aviv, in 1945. The ad notes that the same publisher, who also sold educational toys and games, will sell the book with a special discount to buyers of their chess sets. It notes (probably correctly) that this is the 'first chess primer', presumably in the sense of the first one published in Palestine. 

Saturday, January 25, 2020

Mona Karff in Israel, 1953

Source: Al Ha'Mishmar, 22/5/53 , p. 4
Our frequent correspondent adds that there is a 'very surprising' note about Mona Karff in Israel, 1953. 

Indeed so. Al Ha'Mishmar reports in its regular chess column a match between  that the chess club in the town of Herzliya against the Reti club from Tel Aviv. It was a 10-board match, Herzliya winning 'for the first time' in a match between the two clubs, 5.5:4.5. (The Herzliya town chess club should not to be confused with the 'Herzliya' chess club from Haifa, which was based in Herzliya street in Haifa.) 

Of particular interest is that 'Karff, the women's champion of Israel' played on the third board for the Reti club, drawing with Dr. Ritterband (ph. translation of ד"ר ריטרבנד). 

Lasker, Chess, and Psychology

Source: Ha'Aretz, July 15th, 1949, p. 9.
A frequent correspondent notes that Lasker's famous article about chess and psychology - what kind of memory or other qualities chess players have -- have been translated into Hebrew, in full, in 1949. It is interesting to note that Lasker already notes that while women play chess less well than men (at least, this was certainly true at the time), this is to be accepted as a 'brute fact', and does not imply any mental inferiority on women's part. 

Kniazer and Capablanca

Source: Davar, 14/3/1926, p. 4
A frequent correspondent sends us this note, from 1926, about Kniazer, who was 'the Egyptian chess champion' and, later, played in 'important tournaments in England'. Inter alia, he was 'the only one out of 40' who won in a simul again Capablanca in England 'a few years ago'. Our correspondent wants to know if the following photo may be that of the simul, which would explain why the photo (by an unknown photographer according to the source) is found in the zionist archives.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Emir Abdullah I and Chess

Source: Ma'ariv, 23 /7/1951, p.2
A frequent correspondent notifies us that on the occassion of Abdullah I's funeral, Ma'ariv published an incident about his chess playing. Ma'ariv claims Abdullah had, in chess, two weaknesses -- 'he had a weakness for chess and was a weak player'. 

The text claims Abdullah was 'convinced he was an extraordinary player' because his court's officials deliberately lost to him. It adds that on a trip to Europe on the SS Mariette Pasha, Abdullah met a 'Arabic-speaking Palestinian Jew, now a judge' and played chess with him. 

According to the report, in the first game, 'Abdullah was in a nearly lost position', and then the court officials asked the opponent to 'do everything to lose'. He deliberately lost the game to Abdullah, but won the next two games, which 'enraged the king who didn't want to play ay more'. 

What is odd about this report is that it contradict Marmotosh's own report (see details in Winter's Chess Notes 4211), that Abdullah knew he was not a particularly strong player and demanded Marmorosh play well, even if he, Abdullah, loses. There is no hint that Abduallah was "enraged" by Marmorosh winning, on the contrary.