Saturday, September 25, 2010

Siegfried Reginald Wolf, 1867-1951

Image credit: Shaul Hon's chess column, Davar, 19.1.1951, p. 23
One of the forgotten players of the past was the strong player Siegfried Wolf (historical Elo rating 2330 according to Jeremy Gaige's indispensable Chess Personalia: a Biobibliography). He was an Austrian who represented his country in three Olympiads, getting decent results (see link for details). His best result is probably the (shared) championship of Austria, 1925. He emigrated to Palestine in the 1930s following Hitler's rise to power and later Anschluss of Austria, living the rest of his life in Haifa.

Despite never playing in any serious Israeli or Palestinian tournament, unsurprising considering the harrowing experience of escaping to Palestine by the skin of his teeth in his old age as the Nazis closed in, edited 9/10/2010: apparently he did participate in some tournaments after all -- see the 9/10/2010 post about Wolf. he was recognized as the "grand old man" of Palestinian (later Israeli) chess. For his "80th birthday", says Hon (actually Wolf was already in his 82nd year) a four-player tournament with Porat (then Foerder), Aloni, Glass and Feyer (phonetic spelling) was arranged by the Haifa club, with the result of... a four-way draw with 1.5 points each. (Source: Davar's chess column, ed. Shaul Hon, 17.6.49).

Below is a higher-quality image of Wolf, taken at the Leopold Trebitsch Memorial tournament of 1935.  Standing: Immo Fuss, Erno Gereben, Lajos Steiner, Esra Glass, Albert Becker, Erich Eliskases, Max Gratzinger (committee). Sitting: Josef Kolnhofer, Hans Müller, Ernst Grünfeld, Rudolf Spielmann, Siegfried Wolf, Baldur Hönlinger (arbiter). The photo (and identification) is taken from a website dedicated to the tournament, and is there credited to the Schachklub Hietzing Wien.

Image credit: Jan van Reek's chess web site's Leopold Trebitsch Memorial section.

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