Saturday, March 17, 2018

Tel Aviv Championship, 1946 -- and the First all-Hebrew Chess Magazine

Source: Al Ha'Mishmar, April 18th, 1946, p. 3
An interesting report is found in Al Ha'Mishmar in 1946 by our frequent correspondent: it reports that despite 'a few unfinished battles', which 'cannot affect the final result', Kniazer won the Tel Aviv Championship for 1946. Yet the complete table -- given, e.g., on p. 90 of Ptichot Be'Sachmat ['Chess Openings'] by Hon,(3rd edition, Sept. 1964, as pointed out on p. 2 of the 4th edition, 1968) -- shows that A. Labounsky won the championship (Kniazer was joint 2nd/3rd).

The 1946 report also adds severe criticism of the tournament -- no less than four players had withdrawn, but 'unfortunately there is no official supreme organization (a Palestinian federation) to investigate the matter'. Technically false, as such a federation existed since 1936 as we have seen, but it was indeed de facto defunct due to the war, the battle for independence, and many other more important events. As Hon himself notes, (Ptichot Be'Sachmat, 4th ed., p. 27, for example) it was only after the end of the war that chess life in Palestine was renewed.

He adds (ibid) that the time was also ripe for 'a renewed appearance of a chess magazine' and that he took it upon himself to publish it -- but that it only 'lasted four issues', but was the first time a chess magazine was written (entirely) 'in Hebrew transcription' -- in earlier cases, as numerous examples in this blog show, the squares were usually given in Latin letters.

Indeed, in the very same column where the report of the 1946 tournament was given, a quick review of the first issue of Hon's magazine was given as well -- with the chess editor of Al Ha'Mishmar adding that an important point is that it is entirely in Hebrew, precisely what Hon wrote later in Ptichot Be'Sachmat

Marcuze Reporting from Holland

Source: Al Ha'Mishmar, Oct. 23rd, 1947, p. 3
Yochanan Marcuze, points out our frequent correspondent, was the representative of the Palestinian Chess Federation in the FIDE congress of 1947.

Marcuze first reports on the two tournaments which took place in Hilversum, Netherlands, with Porat representing the Palestinian federation, in the European Zone championship and then in a local tournament, commemorating the 60 years' anniversary of the Hilversum chess club, in which Porat 'took fourth place in his group'.

Marcuze then adds that he was chosen as the Paelstinian federation representative in the FIDE congress of that year (which took place in the Hague) and that he established warm relations with many representatives -- e.g., B. H. Wood asking him about arranging a radio chess match between England and Palestine.

Marcuze adds in particular the importance of the massive amounts of chess literature brought by the different delegations, and especially the 'heart-rending' books of game collections by victims of the Nazis, 'among them, needless to say, many Jews' -- and notes the old-timer Maroczy was also present. 

He ends with noting his visit to England, where many players, especially Jewish ones, showed great interest in chess in Palestine, and the Jews in particular look at Palestine 'with love and longing'.

Chess on the Radio (again)

Source: Davar, April 14th, 1950, p. 30
Our frequent correspondent noted that in 1950, there was an active chess column in Israeli radio -- noting for example that on 12/4/1950 (source: Davar, April 12th, p.5) a 'chess corner' broadcast by Marcuse and Ben-Menachem. Here is another example -- this time, about the 'Reti [opening] system' -- by Y. Ron, to be broadcast the week after, on the 19th of April.  

Chess in Haifa, 1938

Source: Davar, Feb. 4th, 1938, p. 18
From our frequent contributor, here is a snapshot of chess in Haifa in 1938. We have more than 50 players who played in a 'graduated tournament' (i.e., based on their level of play). Inter alia The article report on the winners of the first (strongest) group were Barney [ph. spelling] and Greenberg, of the second, Dr. Landau, and of the third, Bandeis and Weinstein. The winners 'received prized from the De Haas cigarette corporation in Haifa.

Paying Our Debts...

In the last few months, we have received quite a bit of information in email from a frequent contributor to this blog. It is high time we give him due credit and publish his findings here. In the next series of posts, we shall do that. Mostly -- but by no means only -- our contributor finds in his searches notices of chess in less common places: i.e., in the news or in other places, not in the chess columns.