Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A Real-Life Study

In the 1936 championship of Tel Aviv, the game between Y. Taub and S. Weil reached the following position.

Here are Czerniak's annotations (source: HaSachmat, vol. 1 no. 1., Sept. 1936, p. 5).

White's position seems hopeless. Black is a pawn up and has a better position.

1. c5! Bxd5 Perhaps slightly better is 1... dxc5 but even then Black's victory is very doubtful, e.g. 2. e4! c4 3. Bd4! Kf7 4. Bc3! a4 5. Rf1+ and Black must be careful or he might even lose.

2. cxd6!! Rxc1! Other moves draw immediately. For example: 2... Rd8 3. Rc5 or 2... Be6 3. Rxc8+.

3. d7 Rh1+ 4. Kg3 Rh3+! A honorary mention to both. This looks more like a study than an actual ending. 5. Kf4 Rf3+ 6. Ke5 Rf5+ 7. Kd6 Rf8 Black's rook is finally in its correct place. But the quiet is decieving.

8. Kxd5 Kf7! The only move to save the game. 8... a4 9. e4 Kf7 (too late!) 10. e5 Rd8 11. Bc5!! and the threat of e6+! wins. We see how merely changing the move order can decide a game.

9. Kd6 Forced loss of a tempo. If, e.g., 9. Bc5 Rd8 10. Kd6 Kf6! 11. e4? Rxd7+ and Black wins.

9... a4! At the right moment! If instead 9... Rd8 10. e4 a4 (again -- too late!) 11. e5 Re8 12. Bc5! h5 13. Kd5!! followed by e6+.

10. e4 a3 11. e5 Re8!! The point. White has no time to play Bc5 and Kd5 because Black queens. 12. dxe8=Q+ Kxe8 13. Kd5 Drawn (1/2-1/2)

First Youth Tournament in Palestine?

In Moshe Czerniak's Ha'Sachmat (Vol. 1 no. 1 p. 14, Sept. 1936) we read that there took place 'a few weeks ago' in Tel Aviv (i.e., summer 1936) a small 'youth tournament' involving eight young players from all across the country. The top places (in order) were taken by Bistritsky, Carmon, and Alhanovich (ph. spelling in all cases) -- the first two from Jerusalem, the last from Tel Aviv.

Is this the first youth tournament -- as opposed to a tournament where young people played, simultaneous displays, etc. -- in Palestine?

Czerniak adds the following game:

Event: Palestinian Youth Championship
Date: Summer 1936
White: Bistrisky, S.
Black: Carmon, D.
ECO: C44 (Scotch gambit; Czerniak writes, "Italian Opening")
Annotator: Moshe Czerniak
Source: Ha'Sachmat, vol. 1 no. 1 (Sept. 1936), p. 14. 

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 exd4 4. Bc4 Bc5 5. O-O Better is 5. c3 immediately. 5... d6 6. c3 Bg4 7. Qb3 Bxf3 (7... Qd7 8. Bxf7+ followed by Qxb7) 8. Bxf7+ Kf8 9. gxf3 g5?

It was necessary to play 9... Ne5 10. Bxg8 Nxf3+ 11. Kh1 Rxg8. 10. Bh5 Ne5 11. f4 gxf4 12. Bxf4 Qf6 13. Bxe5 dxe5 14. Kh1 b6 15. Nd2 Ne7 16. f4 exf4 17. Rxf4 Qxf4 18. Rf1 Qxf1+ 19. Nxf1 Ng6 20. cxd4 Be7 21. Ng3 Rg8 22. Qf3+! An excellent move! 22... Ke8 23. e5 Rd8 24. e6 Rg7 25. Nf5 Kf8 (25... Rg8 26. Nd6+! Rxd6 27. Qf7+ Kd8 28. Qxg8+ Nf8 29. Qg2! +-) 26. Nxg7+ Kxg7 27. Qf7+ Kh6 28. Bxg6 hxg6 29. Qxe7 Black resigns (1-0)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Mieses's Recollections from Palestine -- Translation

As promised, here is a (partial) translation of the article by Mieses posted here -- see original post for complete credit and sources. 

The article notes, first, the Palestinian team's achievement in the 1935 Olympiad. It notes the team in the Olympiad and other strong players – most of them, as we have seen, recent immigrants: Enoch, Dobkin, Winz, Czerniak – who played in the Olympiad of 1935 – and, 'for example', Macht, Glass, Mohilever and Marmorosh as additional strong players, once more showing how chess improved since the German (or rather, European) invasion (for some reason Mieses does not mention Porat as the player on the 1st board). Expecting a high level of competition, however, he found out that his expectations were only in a few cases fulfilled, due to the 'unfortunate fact' that, 'Jerusalem excepted', chess in Palestine 'lacks overall organization', despite the fact that hundreds of chess fans play in cafes in Tel Aviv and Haifa every day. The Palestine Chess Federation, notes Mieses, exists, but due to constant lack of funds, seems 'doomed to a shadowy existence', and the game he gave in their 'hardly suitable' club (+3 =2 -1) 'was terribly weak'. Similarly in Haifa there could only be arranged a 14-game simul (+12 =1 -1).

On the other hand, the Tel Aviv chess powerhouse organizer – Marmorosh – who had the chess columns in Davar and also (since the mid-30s) Ha'aretz arranged for a 33 board match (+21 -4 =8). Marmorosh tried to arranged further events but couldn't do it 'by himself'. Politics enter the issue: a few strong players live in smaller towns far from the center, but due to the 'unrest on the ways' – i.e., the Arab revolt, then nearly at its height, which made travel there dangerous – this was not done.

On the positive side, Mieses is full of praise for chess in Jerusalem, where the local chess club belongs 'as a special section to the comfortable Menorah club', with president (at the time) Prof. (in the Hebrew University) Torczyner – whom we have encountered before as a fearless fighter for the purity of the Hebrew language, in particular when it comes to chess terms (he was Shaul Hon's mentor).  and players such as Cherniak and Mohilever. The club benefited from another "new acquisition" – the 'chess patron' M. Weitz, who lived in Berlin until 'two years ago', and arranged many events. He played, first, two 'interesting' games (simultaneously) against two groups of three consulting players (=2), a blindfold simul against 'strong players' (+3 =2), and a simultanrous display against 24 with 'some of the best players' (+17 =4 -3), and ending with the following 'serious game' against Mohilever:

Mohilever,Ariah Lev - Mieses,Jacques [C44]
Jerusalem, 11.05.1936
Annotations: J. Mieses
Source: Jüdische Rundschau, vol. 41, no. 51, 26.6.1936, p. 18.
1.Nf3 Nc6 2.d4 d6 3.e4 Bg4 4.c3
Better is  4.Be3 , answering  4...Nf6 with  5.Nfd2.
4...Nf6 5.Bd3 e5! 6.Be3 d5!
As one can see, the initiative passed to the second player. 
7.Nbd2 exd4 8.cxd4 dxe4 9.Nxe4 Bb4+ 10.Nc3 Nd5 11.Rc1 0–0 12.0–0 Re8 13.Re1

This is a mistake, which determines the further course of the game. Correct is 13.Nxd5 Qxd5 14.Bc4 followed by Be2.
13...Nxe3 14.fxe3 Nxd4!
winning an important pawn.
15.exd4 Rxe1+ 16.Qxe1 Bxf3 17.Qf2
17.gxf3 Qxd4+ followed by Qxd3 is bad for White, but the text move is no better.
17...Bxg2! 18.Re1
18.Kxg2 Qg5+ and Qxc1;
18.Qxg2 Qxd4+ and Qxd3
18...Bc6 19.Re5 Bd6
White's attack is repulsed with little effort. 
20.Rh5 g6 21.d5
21...gxh5 22.Qg2+ Kh8 23.dxc6 Bc5+ 
White resigns (0–1)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The World's #1 Expert on Castling

Credit: Tim Krabbe (see below for details).
Tim Krabbe is a well-known chess historian and author. I hope he will forgive me for stealing -- for once -- an amusing endgame from the 2013 London rapids from his superb web site (item 391). My justification is the Israeli point: the winner was Boris Gelfand, playing against Michael Adams.

In the position above Adams (Black) played 24... Nd7? which was answered by 25. 0-0-0! winning the exchange (and later the game). As Krabbe notes, missing the possibility of castling happened in the past many times.

It is not surprising Krabbe points out this particular game on his web site. After all he is -- if such a thing exists -- the world's expert on castling. Wikipedia notes that in the early 70s he composed a chess problem exploiting the fact that the FIDE definition of castling in force then allows White to castle "extra long". Krabbe gives such castling the natural designation 0-0-0-0 in his 1986 book Chess Curiosities; for some reason, Wikipedia prefers 0-0-0-0-0-0.

What is "extra long" castling? With a promoted rook on e8 and a king on e1, Krabbe noted (following, if Wikipedia is correct, Max Pam's original discovery) that castling was legal, so long as the newly-created rook had not moved, and all other conditions (the king is not in check, etc.) are fulfilled. It is done -- again, taking the FIDE rules in force at the time literally -- by moving the rook to e2 and the king over it, to e3, in one move. Of course, the reverse -- with a promoted rook on e1 -- is possible for Black.

Later, FIDE amended the rules, explicitly requiring both king and rook to be on their own first rank -- much like, in order to avoid similar difficulties, the rules now explicity require that a pawn be promoted to a piece of its own color.

Credit: Wikipedia (see link above)
Krabbe's 1972 problem is a mate in three. 1. e7 Kxf3 2. e8=R! (underpromotion) Kg2 3. 0-0-0-0 (King moves to e3, rook to e2), mate.