Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Oh, Dear (Chess and Philosophy)

Credit: Drivethru Comics
I was reading a philosophy article (published by a serious writer in a serious journal) and noted a quote about what is supposed to be chess:
After an assessment of the state of the game, a chess players is considering moving the horse forward (move a) in such a way as to force the opponent to move his queen. Yet, before making her move, she suddenly realizes that an alternative option is open: shifting the tower ahead (move b), which would put the other player's king under mate, ending the match successfully.
As the author is Italian, it seems likely this is a case of bad -- i.e., literal -- translation from Italian into English, not ignorance of the game by the author. This sort of thing makes ones rather distrustful of the rest of the article: how can we be sure the translator didn't  make other, similar mistakes?

I suppose the author can always console himself by playing philosopher's chess with Bertrand Russell. It is good to know, as this chess variant tells us, that 'an "enlightened philosopher" is similar to a normal philosopher, except that it may make one or two moves in a single turn'. Clearly an invention -- everybody knows there are no normal philosophers.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Mieses Reporting on Chess in Palestine

Credit: see below. Click to enlarge.

Mr. Peter Anderberg has further notified me that the Jüdische Rundschau, whose chess column Mieses edited, also has, for this reason, occassional reports and games about Palestinian chess. 

Above is one example Mr. Anderberg notified me of: Mieses' report (Dec. 4th, 1936, p. 6) of the Tel Aviv 1936 tournament, including a game between Dobkin and Weil. I am working on translating the game into English, in the meantime the German scan (click to enlarge) is a bit unclear, but a better quality version can be found here, with the ability to enlarge it as well. 

Mieses' Own Recollections of His Visit to Palestine

(See below for Credits; click to enlarge).
Mr. Peter Anderberg had notified me that Mieses, after visiting Palestine in 1936, had written an account of his visit -- including a game against Marmorosh which I have not found in the Hebrew press at the time -- in the Jüdische Rundschau, vol. 41, no. 51, 26.6.1936, page 18. 

Mieses' article includes a tally of his games in Palestine, and a survey of the leading organizations, clubs, and personalities he met during the visit. I am now translating the game notes (irregular opening, 0-1 in 23 moves) into English, but the moves should be clear enough in the scan, which can be clicked on for a large picture.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Opening Novelties and Witty Annotations

The following game was played between Yisrael Yosef Kniazer and Moshe Czerniak in the Jerusalem - Haifa Match, 1938. The annotations are by Raafi Persitz in his Book, Ha'Derech Le'Nitzachon Be'Sachmat [The way to Chess Victory], a collection of Kniazer's games (Tel Aviv: Torat Ha'Sachmat Press, 1959), pp. 27-30. Persitz's annotations, of which I give only a selection, are very amusing.

The game started following Tarrasch - Alekhine (1926), with: 1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 d4 3.e3 c5 4.b4 g6?! 5.Bb2 Bg7 6.bxc5 e5?! Here Kniazer saw an improvement to Tarrasch's 7. exd4, based on Black's Achilles heel -- the d6 square -- and continued:

 7.Na3! Going to d6! 7...a6 8.Qa4+! Bd7 9.Nb5!

A self-pin of the knight, but the a6 pawn is "even more" pinned. 9...Nc6 [9...Kf8 10.Qa3 followed by Nd6. ] 10.Nd6+

"He doth neither slumber nor sleep" [Psalms 121:4 -- A. P.] 10...Kf8 11.Qa3 Better than  11.Nxb7 Qc7 12.Nd6 Rb8 and Black may fish in troubled water. 11...a5 12.Be2 Again refusing the pawn. 12...g5 13.0–0 h5 Nine pawn moves out of 13 -- such luxury is expensive. 14.Ne1 Nh6 Offering h5 as well! 15.f4! exf4 16.exf4 g4 17.Nd3 Nf5 18.Ne5 Be6 Of course taking on e5 is out of the question. 19.Nexf7!

19. Bd3, increading the pressure, is also good, but apparently White was under doctor's orders to take a pawn every 45 minutes. 19...Bxf7 20.Nxf5 Bf6 21.Nd6 The horse returns to his stable.  21...Nb4 22.Qb3 

From now on both sides, for some reason, start playing "Shatranj", the old game in which the pieces could move only slowly.  22...Qc7 23.a3 Nc6 24.Rab1 Rb8 25.Qd3 Qd7 26.Qe4 Rg8 27.Bd3 Bg6 28.Qe2 Bf7 29.Bf5 Qe7 30.Qd3 Qc7 31.Rfe1 Rg7 32.Nxf7 Kxf7 33.Be6+ Kf8 34.Qf5 Qd8 35.Bd5 h4 36.Re6 Rf7 37.Rd6 1–0 A strange and extraordinary game in all its phases.  

Poisoned Pieces

A game between Kniazer (White) and Winz, from Persitz's book, The Way to Victory in Chess (or perhaps 'The Way to Chess Victory' -- Ha'Derech Le'Nizachon Be'Sachmat), pp. 25-26.

Kniazer,Yisrael Yosef - Winz,Victor
Tel Aviv - Haifa Match, 1938
Annotator: Raafi Persitz

White threatens Qh4 and Nxb1. But... 

24.Rxa4! Both rooks are "poisoned". 24...a5 

24...Nxb1 25.Rxa7; 
24...bxa4 25.Rxb8 Qxb8 26.Qg8+; 
24...Qh4 25.Qg8+ 

25.Qg8+! Ke7 26.Qxd8+ 

26.Qg5+? Kd7 27.Qxd2 bxa4 28.Rxb8 Qxb8= 

26...Kxd8 27.Rb2 

The rest is a matter of tecnhique. 

27...Ne4 28.Rxa5 Nxc3 29.Ra3! Ne2 30.c3 b4 31.cxb4 Nxd4 32.b5 Nb3 [32...Nxb5? 33.Ra5] 33.Ra7 Ke8 34.h6 Kf8 35.Kh3 Kg8 36.Kh4 Rxb5 37.f4 Nd4 38.Rg2+ Kh8 39.Ra8+ Kh7 40.Kh5 Nf5 41.Rgg8 and Black resigned (1-0) due to the forced continuation 41...Nxh6 42.Rh8+ Kg7 43.Rxh6, etc.