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.