Saturday, September 11, 2021

A Porat Interview, a Najdorf Quip, and a Nimzowitsch Story

From an interview with Yosef Porat by Yosef "Tommy" Lapid, Ma'ariv, Oct. 19th, 1962, p. 11, brought to our attention by a frequent correspondent:

Botvinnik is very modest and doesn't demand special treatment... Bobby Fischer the American is the exact opposite: incomparably vain, a show-off. Success had gone to his head...

Najdorf lost to Fischer in the [1962] Olympiad. After the game, in which he blundered, I've heard him say: 'I always told myself there's only one chess player I need to fear - Najdorf.'

Nimzowitsch once played in an international tournament against an old English player and got into difficulties. He muttered [in Yiddish]: 'this alter ganef [literally, 'old thief'] tricked me after all...' the English player understood the entire sentence except for the word ganef [thief] but all present didn't want to explain it to him. So finally he asked if a ganef can be a gentleman or not.

The last anecdote was shared by Porat in good faith, but unlike the other two, he was of course not a witness. Is there any proof of the actual occurrence of this 'once' story? 

We are skeptical. First, Nimzowitsch is the subject of quite a few such 'once' stories. Second, the opponent and occasion are not specified. Third, we have read at least one other version. In it, Nimzowitsch himself, and not all present, does not want to explain what ganef means. It is added that he quickly agrees that, yes, a ganef can be a gentleman, calming the English player. 

Monday, August 2, 2021

Beginning, End, and Fischer


The same correspondent which we just mentioned in the previous post had also notified us of two newsreels made in Israel of the 1964 Tel Aviv Olympiad: one of the start and one of the end of the tournament. He also provided us with a clip of the 1968 Netanya tournament, with - naturally - concentration on Fischer's participation. 

Yoram Lubianiker's Stamp Collection


A frequent correspondent notified me of the chess stamps' collection of Yoram Lubianiker. It is a collection, not of chess stamps per se, but of chess stamps related in some way to war. The online (and physical) exhibition has 94 different placards, of which this is one - showing the cancellation stamp commemorating the 1935 Olympiad, as well as two more modern stamp and collections about the Olympiad. 

Monday, July 12, 2021



Today in the mail arrived a present from Mr. Herbert Halsegger. It is an original participation certificate from the 1976 Haifa Olympiad! We thank Mr. Halsegger for this gift, indeed, and will update with more information about Ms. Wagner when available. 

Edited to add: well, the first update, form more material Mr. Halsegger sent us, is that it is Ms. Wagner and not, as we assumed, Mr. Wagner. She also had gotten a certificate for making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem at the same time. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Flohr Simul


This note from the Palestine Post, July 3rd, 1934, p. 6, was brought to our attention by a frequent correspondent. It verifies the identity of some of the strong players who played against Flohr in Palestine in his match with 11 of the strongest players in the country. As noted, Winz drew, Dobkin won, and the rest lost to Flohr. Mohilever and Lucovich came all the way from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv to play - no mean dedication at the time.