Saturday, December 26, 2020

A Nice Attack

 From La'Merchav, Feb. 14th, 1958, p. 6, sent to us by a dedicated correspondent:

Ido Aviner - Beno Levi 

Sicilian Dragon [B71]


Source: see above

Annotator: Eliyahu Fasher

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.f4 Nc6 7.Nxc6 bxc6 8.e5 Ng4 Black chose here a variant which, he said, Euwe recommended. Black forces White to open his KS, but paralyzes his own QS. 9.h3 Nh6 10.g4 To prevent Nf5 after White's next move. e6 11.Be3 d5 12.Bg2 Stops the advance of the pawns on Black's QS. (12.g5? Nf5) 12...Be7 13.O-O Ba6 14.Ne2 Self-pinning the N for a long time, but done to keep the f1 square free for the rooks. 14...Qa5 15.b3! Bc5 16.Bxc5 Qxc5+ 17.Kh2 Better than 17. Kh1, as will be clear in the 21st move. 17... Rd8 18. Qd2 Ng8 White's threat was f5 ad then f6. 19. Rf3? Wants to free the N, but doesn't notice Black's next move, which both frees and attacks. 19...h5! 20.Nd4! Keeps the position intact. 20...Qb6 20...hxg4 21.Rc3 with complications. 21. Kg3! c5 21... h4+ 22. Kh2 22. Ne2 Ne7 23. Nc3 Qc7 Of course not 23...d4? 24.Ne4. 24.Re1 Nc6 25. Bf1 hxg4 26. hxg4 Qe7 Threatening mate never hurts! 27.g5 Qb7 28.Rf2 Nd4 29.Bh3 Qb4 30.Na4! Black avoids a queen exchange in an equal position, i.e., trying to win by force. But this costs the paralyzation of the queen. 30...Nb5? 30... Nxc2? White doesn't fear this, due to 31. Rc1 31.c3 Qa3 

32.f5! gxf5 33.Bxf5! White exploits the black queen's paralysis to break through. The bishop sacrifice cannot be accepted due to e6 with a crushing attack. But Black manages to find a way to defend by opening a way to his queen. 33...c4 34.Bg4! Keeps the material advantage. 34.g6 Qe7 35.gxf7+ Kf8 and Black wins. 34...Bc8 34...cxb3 35.axb3 Qxb3 36.Qf4 wins; 34...Qe7 35.Ref1, followed by 36.Rf6, 37.g6, etc. 35.Ref1 Qe7 36.Rxf7 Qxf7 37.Rxf7 Kxf7 38.Qf2+ Ke8 Best under the circumstances. 38...Kg8 39.Qf6 Re8 40.Qg6+ Kf8 41.Bh5 and wins. 39.Qf6 Kd7 40.Bxe6+! Kc7 41.Bxc8 Simplest. 41...Rxc8 41... Kxc8 42. Qc6+ Nc7 43. Nc5 etc. 42.Qe7+ Kb8 43.Nc5 Nc7 44.Qd6 and Black resigned (1-0) due to mate in a few moves, e.g. 44...Rcd8 45.Na6+ Kb7 46.Qxc7+ Kxa6 47.Qc6+ Ka5 48. b4#. 

Saturday, December 5, 2020

The First Palestinian Report of Capablanca


In Marmorosh's chess column from Sept. 17th, 1939 (p. 4), brought to our attention by a frequent correspondent, we read two interesting notes. The first is that Kniazer became champion of the Tel Aviv Lasker club with 6.5/9 - two full points ahead of the next player, Weil (who at the time of the report had one more game to play, with Labounsky, 3 pts.) Interesting is also the report of the 'A-level' (secondary) tournament, with 16 players, which gave the first three the right to play in general Tel Aviv Championship. 

More interesting, perhaps, is the note that 'due to the serious international situation' - later known as the second world war - there are 'no telegraph reports' from the Buenos Aires olympiad, so at the moment all Marmorosh can report is Czerniak's draw with Capablanca in the match with Cuba. A pawn down, 'in a losing position', Czerniak sacrificed a pawn 'for a desperate attack' and drew. They note also Porat (then Foerder) drew (with the unmentioned Cuban 2nd board, Acre Lopez). 

Tel Aviv - Jerusalem Match, 1923


An earlier item this time: a frequent correspondent notes this report from Doar Ha'Yom (October 10th, 1923, p. 4) of the Tel-Aviv - Jerusalem championship in the "E. L." (Emmanuel Lasker) club in Jerusalem. (It was brought to my attention by a frequent correspondent.) The Jerusalem paper's chess columnist - Mohilever - notes that Tel Aviv won 21.5 - 14.5, and explains that the Jerusalem players didn't prepare well, and some were simply too weak for such a tournament. The author notes in particular Labounsky from Tel Aviv as a promising young player. 

A Day in Palestinian Chess


The same column just mentioned in the previous post - brought to our attention by a frequent correspondent - has reports on the Jerusalem championship, Tel Aviv's championship, and (pictures above) reports on the championship of Hadera, and a simultaneous display by Marmorosh in Haifa. This shows the rise in chess activity in Palestine before the "lean years" of WWII and the war of independence. 

The Hadera championship had 20 players, and was won by Menachem Susmann with Aharon Feigenbaum (ph. spelling in both cases) second. The prizes, 'by the culture committee', were books by Ha'Shomer - that is, by the kibbutz-based publishing house which later became one of Israel's largest publishing houses, Sifriyat Poalim (literally 'the workers' library'). 

The simultaneous display ended  +15 =1 -4 in Marmorosh's favor, and lasted two and a half hours.

"Knight Endings are Pawn Endings"


The quote from Botvinnik applies well to this game. It is from the 1938 Jerusalem championship, Czerniak (White) playing against Zilberman. (The source is Marmorosh's chess column in Ha'Aretz, March 11th, 1938, p. 11).  The game continued: 

Is left as an exercise in Hebrew.  מ = מלך = king, פ = פרש = knight, and מה = מלכה = queen...

Saturday, October 31, 2020

The Cordonsky Attack

A frequent correspondent had generously given us some games from Czerniak's 64 Mishbatzot (64 Squares) which we have been missing. One, from pp. 329-330 (date?) between Cordonsky (Czerniak's spelling) and Zalman, shows some example of the nice treasures one can find about theory in old magazines. 

Surely no modern player will go to old reports of the IDF's 1957 championship, of all places, looking for theoretical novelties. And yet Czerniak notes that Black, due to one inaccurate early move, is lost after the 8th move in an extremely popular opening variation - but that, this opportunity being missed, White executing the very idea two moves later already loses! 

Czerniak - somewhat tongue in cheek - dubs this combination the "Cordonsky Attack."

Cordonsky - Zalman

Sicilian Paulsen [B94]

IDF Championship, Israel, 1957

Source & Annotator: see above

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Bg5 White threatens to take on f6, prevents the Dragon setup, and forces e6 or Nbd7. 6... Nbd7 7. Qd2 Qc7 The Paulsen variation. The idea is to develop counterchanges on the QS, even without solving the KS issues. 8. O-O-O b5?

Instead of this careless move, better is to first secure the KS with, e.g., 8... h6 9. Bh4 g6 and 10. Bg7. 9.g3? White missed an opportunity to win immediately. The combination he executed in the 11th move should have been done at once: 9. Bxf6 Nxf6 10. e5! dxe5 11. Ndxb5! axb5 12. Nxb5 Qb6 13. Qc3! and wins. 

9... Bb7 10. Kb1 White needs to move the king from c1 for his planned combination. 10... g6! Did Black realize this moves saves him? 11. Bxf6 The beginning of a nice combination, which came too late. 11... Nxf6 12. e5!? dxe5 13. Ndxb5!? axb5 14.Nxb5 Qb6 14... Qc8 (or Qc6) 15. Na7! and 16. Bb5+; 14... Qc5 15. Qb4! 15. Qe3 Now it is clear why the White king had to move from c1. 15... Qa5 16. Qa3

This move should have been - according to White's calculations - the winning move. He threatens a queen exchange and immediate mate. For example:

16... Qxa3 17. Nc7# 

16... Qb6 17. Nc7+! Qxc7 18. Bb5+ 

16... e6 (still) 17. Nc7+!

16... Bh6! A surprising save. 16...Re8! also puts White's victory in question as well, but now, when Black's king has an escape square at g7, White has no way to continue the attack, especially as Black is threatening mate on a2. 17. Qxa5 Rxa5 Black is now safe, and won due to his material advantage (0-1).

Sunday, October 18, 2020

From the Israeli Film Archive


The above is a cut from the Israeli Film Archive (requires registration, but it is free) search for the term "Chess" (in English). There are quite a few newsreels of many Israeli tournaments, in particular the 1964 Olympiad held in Tel Aviv, naturally featuring many well-known players (the USSR team, in particular). There is also a 1935 Marmorosh Simul already posted on this blog, Najdorf's visit (1961), and much more. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Czerniak's Fighting Spirit

A frequent correspondent reminds us that Moshe Czerniak's 64 Mishbatzot (you guessed it - "64 Square") had strong opinions expressed in the editorials. One particular one is Czerniak's dislike of avoiding battle - either by not joining a tournament at all or by early draws. As one of his pupils told us, he would tell younger players who agreed to such a draw: 'why did you agree to a draw? Don't you like playing chess?'.

Another example of this in an editorial in the May-June, 1957, editorial (p. 225). Czerniak notes that:

The fact that only one master played in the semi-final [of the Israel 1957 championship] is no coincidence. It is true that some were abroad, some could not leave work, and some are no longer, due to their age, able to stand the stress of such a tournament. But still is no justification for the absence of some of our masters. Could their regretful distancing form combative chess be seen as fear of defeat? If so, are they worthy of bearing the title of 'master'? 


By the way, 64 Mishbatzot came out regularly for about 3 years, and had as editors, apart from Czerniak, also the masters Porat, van Amerongen, and Dr. Oren, as well as Zehavi. It was a great leap in both quality and quantity from previous Israeli, or Palestinian, chess magazines. 

Another "Wunderkind" in Chess?


The above is a short article by Dov Goldstein, sent to us by a frequent correspondent. The source is Ma'ariv, Feb. 10th, 1955, p. 3. It is about a "Wunderking" in chess - six year old Gideon Ratanovsky (ph. spelling.) It is noted that 'nobody knows how he learned the rules of the game' - or that he knows how to play at all - until he told his mother. The child is being trained by Dyner, the Israeli master, in his optician's shop, where he always have a board set up. It is (as usual in such reports) added that the little child will surely be a strong master, although this seems not to have happened. His life ended tragically: he fell in 1970 in the Israel "War of Attrition" (1967-1970). His memorial page (in Hebrew) notes he was known as a chess "Wunderkind". 

Monday, August 31, 2020

Vogel - Czerniak, Jerusalem Championship, 1935

The same column by Marmorosh (Davar, Feb. 8th, 1935, p. 5) has the following game between Vogel and Czerniak, with Marmorosh's annotations:

Vogel - Czerniak
French Defense (CO2)
Jerusalem Championship, Jerusalem, 1935
Source: Davar, 8.2.1935, p. 5
Annotations: Marmorosh

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. e5 A highly committing old move. The current move is 3.Nc3 or 3.exd5. 3... c5 4. Nf3 Nc6 5. c3 Qb6 A typical move in this opening. The queen pressures b2 and d4. 6. Be2 Bd7 7. O-O cxd4 8. cxd4 Nge7 9. Na3 An artificial move, intended to protect the d4 pawn. 9... Ng6 10. Nc2 Be7 11. Kh1 O-O 12. Ng1 An unsuccessful maneuver. It is better to finish development with 12.Bd2! and Bc3, since Black must not capture on b2. 12...f6 13. f4 fxe5 14. fxe5 Rxf1 15. Bxf1 Rf8 16. Bd3 Be8 17. Qg4? 

17...Ncxe5!! Black now finishes with a brilliant combination. White's negligence is cruelly avenged. 18. dxe5 Nxe5 19. Qh3 Nxd3 20. Qxd3 Bb5! 21. Qb3 Qxg1+! 22. Kxg1 Rf1#  mate (0-1).

Marmorosh's Work


Above we have a (low resolution) image of Marmorosh's column which was mentioned in the last post. The link is to the original paper, where a high-resolution image can be found. It is a testimony to Marmorosh's dedication to chess that this one column has: 

1). A problem (mate in 3)

2). A study (White wins)

3). A game (Vogel - Czerniak, 0-1, Jerusalem championship, 1935)

4). Local news (Jerusalem championship results, upcoming Jerusalem-Tel Aviv match, Ra'anana club founded.) 

5). International news (Capablanca wins simultaneous games.)

6). Answers to correspondents. 

7). A long lesson for beginners (the goal of the game, the movement of the king, the meaning of 'mate'.) 

That said, the definition of 'mate' is somewhat mysterious: 

'If the king is attacked on the square it is on and it is surrounded by friends and enemies to such a degree that it has no other square to escape to, and no other defense, it is mated.'

This seems to imply that the king is mated only when surrounded by other pieces, which is in fact rarely the case, and is unclear about what 'other defense' can there be against the attack on the king except for 'a square to escape to'. 

New Clubs


The above note, from Marmorosh's column in Davar (Feb. 8th, 1935, p. 5), brought to our attention by a frequent correspondent, notes among many other things about the founding of a chess club in Ra'anana, which was decided upon after 'a general meeting of all chess fans in Ra'anana'. They selected a committee to run the club and decided to buy sets, start lessons for beginners, and start a tournament for the championship of Ra'anana. This is another example of the rise in chess activity in the country in the mid-1930s, as Czerniak, Porat, and many other strong players arrived in the country, and visits by Rubinstein, Flohr, and Mieses took place. 

Sport in Palestine, 1935


The above photos are from an article from Doar Ha'yom, 'The Sport in Palestine Last Year' (April 2nd, 1935, p. 15) brought to our attention by a frequent correspondent. It mentions, among much else, Rubinstein's and Flohr's visit to Palestine, and also adds that Palestinian athletes had participated in the Western Asiatic Games, and did quite well, which makes our previous claim that the 1935 chess Olympiad was the "first" time a sports team from Palestine participated in an international event false. 

Friday, July 31, 2020

Trade Union Chess

"Davar's chess players in play against Egged's team." Davar, 26.12.58 , p. 7

In the 1950s Israel, as we mentioned before, organized labor was all-powerful. The Histadrut, which united most of the trade unions, was large enough to organize an important and large regular yearly championship between the unions. On 24.12, Davar reported two days later, the prizes for last year's championship were awarded and the first round of this year's championship began. 

It included ten teams of 4 players each. The contestants included trade unionists from the post office, Davar itself, the national bank (Bank Le'umi), Egged, the bus corporation (misidentified in the caption above as "Eshed", but spelled correctly in the report itself), and more.  

Samushi - Yaron, Israeli Women's Championship, 1956

In continuation from the previous post, from the same source, here is the ending of the second game between Shamushi and Yaron, this time with Yaron as Black:

Shamushi, Esther - Yaron, Ora
Israeli Women's Championship (playoff), Ein Harod, 1956
Annotations: Czerniak

Black's advantage is in the attacking chances on the king's side, the two bishops, and the control of the e-file. 21... Bd6 22. b4 Re1 23. Qf2 Rxf1+ 24. Kxf1 Ba6+ 25. Kg1 Qd8 Black is setting a cunning trap. 26. axb6? Bc5! 

A nice ending. White cannot stop the loss of the queen. White resigns (0-1). (Naturally, 27. Qxc5 Qd1+ 28. Kf2 Qf1#  - A. P.) 

Yaron - Samushi, Israeli Women's Championship 1956

A frequent correspondent points out attention to Moshe Czerniak's Ha'arertz column of February 17th, 1956 (p. 5). Czerniak gives two games - both won by Ora Yaron against Esther Samushi (ph. spellings) in the playoff of the Israeli women's chess championship, 1956. Yaron was clearly the stronger player. Here is the first game. Interestingly, in both cases, Yaron won by winning the opponent's queen. 

Yaron, Ora - Samushi, Esther
Three Knights' Game (C46)
Israeli Women's Championship (playoff), Ein Harod, 1956
Source: Ha'aretz, 17.2.1956, p. 5
Annotations: Czerniak

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Bc5? This is known as a weak move. Now White gets a better position. 4.Nxe5! Bxf2+ The loss of the castling right is unimportant, compared to the control White gains in the central squares.5.Kxf2 Nxe5 6.d4 Qh4+ 7.g3 Qf6+ Such moves only help the opponent's development. 8.Bf4 Ng6 9.Nd5 Qc6 10.Bb5! 

A nice move, winning the queen. White won (1-0).

Saturday, July 25, 2020

When not to Ask for Leave

  Source here
The following is from an interview of a chess player who shall, here, remain anonymous. As a new recruit in basic training in the IDF's armored corps, the talented young player he made the mistake of asking his sergeant for special leave. He wanted, he told the sergeant, to play in the Israeli chess championship, for which he was eligible.

The sergeant made the entire platoon stand in attention in the form of the array, with beds, packages, and other heavy equipment brought to take the place of the rooks and other pieces. The sergeant then explained to the platoon and to the player specifically they can expect similar treatment every time someone does the mistake of asking for leave for a stupid reason. 

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Simul Results

The Medal of the 1964 Olympiad. Credit: Wikipedia.
We have already mentioned the simultaneous displays the USSR team gave in Israel in 1964 here, here, and here. We is some more information about simuls games, from the same source (Herut, 4.12.1964, p. 7) mentioned in the last post, with date when available. The last link, noting Smyslov's exhibition in Rishon Le'Tziyon, reports slightly different results (+37 =5 -2) than the one's reported in Herut. Presumably the latter, higher figure which represents more complete results. 

Szabo (Hungary):
Tel Aviv University, 30.11, +28 =3 -2. 
Lehavot Ha'Bashan, +20 =1.
Kfar Masarik, +23 =3 -1.

Bat Yam, 28.11, +7 =2 -1 ("against top players.")

Bar Ilan University, 27.11, +29 =8 -3
Rishon Le'Tziyon, 28.11, +32 =6 -2 

Holon, 27.11, +21 =4 ("an excellent result.")

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Petrosian - Israeli Players, 0.5:1.5

Edward Winter noted the following in his review of Alexander Alekhine’s Chess Games, 1902-1946 (Leonard M. Skinner and Robert G.P. Verhoeven, Jefferson (NC): McFarland, 1998):
[A] major attraction will be the hundreds of simultaneous games, which may be regarded as the chess artist’s pencil sketches... Not unexpectedly, Alekhine’s losses are over-represented in the book, because of the tendency of parochial columnists to publish the club hero’s isolated or fluke defeat of the maestro. Over the years, how many chess masterpieces have been lost through journalistic provincialism?
This is indeed true, as can be seen by the two simultaneous games played by Petrosian, played after the close of the 1964 of the Tel Aviv Olympiad, published by Mordechai Rosenfeld in his chess column  (Herut, 4.12.64, p. 7). 

But nevertheless, it depends how the master's "isolated or fluke defeat" - or draw - occurred. Was it good play from his opponent? Here are two games, one a draw (against Rosenfeld himself), and the other a defeat by the "talented Ramat-Gan player", Avraham Kaldor, who also "drew against Smyslov" the day before. The draw is unremarkable, but Kaldor's win is interesting - in particular, giving back an exchange to simplify into a winning ending. 

Petrosian, Tigran - Rosenfeld, Mordechai
Sicilian Rossolimo (B30)
Simultaneous display, Ramat Gan, 29.11.64
Source: Herut,  4.12.1964, p. 7

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 e5 4. Bxc6 dxc6 5. O-O Bd6 6. Na3 Be6 7. d3 h6 8. Nc4 Qc7 9. Nxd6+ Qxd6 10. a4 a5 11. b3 Ne7 12. h3 O-O-O 13. Be3 g5 14. Nd2 Rhg8 15. Nc4 Bxc4 16. dxc4 b6 17. Qxd6 Rxd6 18. Rfd1 Rgd8 19. Rxd6 Rxd6 20. Kh2 f5 21. exf5 Nxf5 22. Re1 Nd4 23. Bxd4 exd4 24. Kg3 

24...Rf6 25. f3 Kd7 26. Kg4 b5 27. Kh5 b4 28. Re4 Rd6 29. Re2 d3 30. cxd3 Rxd3 31. Rb2 Rd6 32. h4 gxh4 33. Kxh4 Ke6 34. f4 Kf5 35. Rf2 Rd3 36. g4+ Kg6 37. Re2 Rxb3 38. Re6+ Kg7 39. Rxc6 Rb1 40. Rb6 b3 41. Kg3 b2 42. Kg2 Rc1 43. Rxb2 Rxc4 44. Rb7+ Kf6 45. Rb6+ Drawn (0.5-0.5)

Petrosian, Tigran - Kaldor, Avraham
Symmetrical English (A34)
Simultaneous display, Bat Yam, 27.11.64
Annotations: Rosenfeld

1. c4 Nf6 2. Nf3 c5 3. g3 d5 4. cxd5 Nxd5 5. Bg2 Nc7 6. Nc3 Nc6 7. O-O e5 8. b3 Be6 9. Ne1 Nd5 10. Bb2 Be7 11. Na4 b6 12. f4 exf4 13. gxf4 f6 14. Rc1 Rc8 15. a3 Nd4 16. e3 Nc6 17. e4 Nc7 18. Nf3 Na5 19. Rc3 Nb5 20. Re3 Nd4 21. Bxd4 cxd4 22. Rd3 b5 23. Rxd4 Qc7 24. Nc3 Bc5 25. b4 Bxd4+ 26. Nxd4 Qb6 27. Qh5+ Ke7 28. bxa5 Qxd4+ 

29. Rf2 Rc5 30. Qh4 h6 31. h3 Kf7 32. Kh2 Rf8 33. Bf3 g5 34. fxg5 Qe5+ 35. Kg2 Qxg5+ 36. Qxg5 hxg5 37. Bg4 Rd8 38. Bxe6+ Kxe6 39. Nd5

39... Rdxd5!! 40. exd5+ Rxd5 41. Re2+ Kf7 42. Kf3 f5 43. Rg2 Rd3+ 44. Ke2 Rxh3 45. Rxg5 Kf6 46. Rg8 Rxa3 47. Rb8 Rxa5 48. Ke3 Ke5 49. d4+ Kd5 50. Rd8+ Kc6 51. Rc8+ Kd7 52. Rf8 b4 53. Rb8 Ra3+ 54. Kf4 a5 55. Kxf5 b3 56. Ke5 a4 57. Kd5 Ra2 58. Rb7+ Kc8 59. Rb4 b2 60. Kd6 a3 61. Rc4+ Kb7 62. Rb4+ Ka6 63. Kc6 Ka5 White resigns (0-1

Kagan - Bernstein, 1963/64 Israeli Championship

The following game was brought to our attention by a frequent correspondent. It is from the 1963/64 Israel championship. At the time, the early 1960s, the "old guard" of Czerniak, Aloni, Porat and others was being replaced at the top with young talented playes, like Shimon Kagan, who won this game and annotated it in Mordechai Rosenfeld's chess column in Herut.   

Kagan,Shimon - Bernstein,Ya'acov 
English Opening (A23)
Israeli Championship, 1963/64
Source: Herut, 17.1.64, p. 7
Annotator: Shimon Kagan

1.c4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.g3 c6 4.Bg2 d5 5.cxd5 cxd5 6.d4 Theory prefers 6.d3 or 6.Qb3, which seems to win a pawn but might make White uncomfortable, for example: 6...Nc6! 7.Nxd5 Nd4 8.Nxf6+ Qxf6 9.Qd1 Bf5 and Black has a decisive advantage. 6...e4 7.Bg5 Nc6 8.Bxf6 gxf6 9.a3 Be6 10.e3 h5 11.h4 Leaves Black with a rickety pawn structure on the KS.11...Qd7 12.Nge2 Bd6 13.b4 Rc8 14.Qb3 Ne7 15.Rc1 Kf8 16.Kd2 The Rh1 is crucial for the c file and the king must let it pass. 16...Kg7 17.Rc2 Rc4 18.Rhc1 Rhc8 19.Bf1 Nf5 If the Ne2 moves, Black has a promising rook sacrifice on d4. 20.Na4 b5? b6 is better, but Bernstein counter on his sacrifice. 21.Nc5 Bxc5 22.bxc5 R8xc5! 

A bold rook sacrifice. Accepting it will require very accurate defense from White and leave Black with some counter-chances.23.Nf4! White's dominating Nf5 wins despite Black's temporary pawn advantage. 23...Rxc2+ 24.Rxc2 Rxc2+ 25.Kxc2 a6 26.Nxh5+ Kg6 27.Nf4+ Kh6 28.Qb4 Qc6+ 29.Qc3 Qb6

30.Be2 It is not recommended to play 30.Qc5 due to 30...Qxc5+ 31.dxc5 d4. 30...Ne7 31.Qc5 Qxc5+ 32.dxc5 Nc6 33.Kc3 Kg7 34.Bd1 f5 35.Bb3 d4+ a desperate attempt to free himself. 36.exd4 Bxb3 37.Kxb3 Nxd4+ 38.Kc3 Nc6 39.Ne2 Kf6 40.Nd4 Ne5 41.c6 Black resigns. (1-0). 

Despite the equal material, Black can do nothing about White's passed c and h pawns, and cannot create his own passed pawn for counterplay.

Sunday, June 14, 2020


In Israel, television only became popular in the late 1960s, so it was one of the last places in the western world where movie newsreels were popular. The above reel, found here, was brought to our attention by a frequent correspondent. It has a report about Israel's 1968 chess championship, starting at 0:58, showing Kagan, Czerniak, and others. In particular, it reports about the two women players, the sisters Rabinovich (no relationship to Rabinovich-Barav) which had 'recently emigrated from the USSR'. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

"Many Very Interesting Cliches"

Colnoa. will appear tomorrow [28.9.1932]! Source here.
In Fasher's Ha'problemai Ha'Israeli [The Israeli Problemist] (Tel Aviv: Israeli Problemists' association, 1964), p. 35, we read that 'later [after the mid-20s] chess columns started to appear in the weeklies Colnoa [כלנוע] (sic)Ha'shavua [השבוע] and in the newspapers Davar and Ha'aretz'. Of the columns (originally by Marmorosh) in the daily newspapers I am aware. But does anybody have any information about the columns in these weeklies? 

I have found ads for Colnoa, the 'illustrated bi-weekly', from the early 30s. (It is a portmanteau word joining col, 'all', and noa, 'movement' - i.e., 'everything that moves', and recalling 'kolnoa', movie theatre). It was a general interest magazine, including items on movies, original stories, articles about current events, sports, women's health, knitting, and so on. The ad above says the coming issue will have a section with 'many very interesting cliches'. But it seems an unlikely venue to a chess column, especially since chess is not explicitly mentioned in the contents. 

Ha'shavua is harder to find, since it is a very generic name, meaning simply 'the week', and many periodicals had this or similar names. One possibility is Tel Aviv's local metropolitan weekly from that period -- again, an unlikely venue for a chess column.

But "unlikely" doesn't mean "surely didn't exist". Does anybody have a copy of these periodicals and know if they had a chess column?

P. S. 

I apologize for the formatting, which is inconsistent with previous posts - for some reason I cannot change it. 

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Domnitz - A. Labounsky, 1954

One of the relatively lesser-known chess columns was that of Zmanim ("The Times"), a smaller newspaper in Israel than the major papers like Davar, Al Ha'mishmar, and others. The editor of the chess column was A. A. Mandelbaum. This column was brought to our attention from a frequent correspondent. From Zmanim we offer the followin game of the young Zadok Domnitz, when he played in the IDF's team in the Isreali premier league against the older Avraham Labounsky

Domnitz, Zadok - Labounsky, Avraham
Pirc Defense (B07)
Israeli Premier (Aleph) League, 1954
Source: Zmanim, 13.8.54, p 8S
Annotator: A. A. Mandelbaum

1. e4 d6 2. d4 Nf6 3. Nc3 g6 4. Be2 Sharper and more promising is 4. f4. 4... Bg7 5. Be3 O-O? 

Routine. Since White didn't apply the usual h3, Nf3etc. attack and left himself more flexibility in pursuing the attack, Black should have used delaying tactics and defer the castling to a more  appropriate time. 6. h4 e5 Needed is 6... c5 7. dxc5 Qa5 8. cxd6 Nxe4 9. dxe7 Re8 10. Bd2 Nxc3 with compensation for the pawn 7. d5 b5! 8. Bxb5 (8. Nxb5 Nxe4) 8... Nxe4 9. Nxe4 Qa5+ 10. Nc3 Bxc3+ 11. bxc3  xb5 and with the threat of Ba6 Black has nothing to fear. 7. d5 c6 8. g4 Qa5? Correct was 8... cxd5 9. exd5 Qa5. 9. Bd2 Qb6? 9... Qc7 immediately is better. 10. g5 Ne8 11. h5 f5? 

Weakens the g8-a2 diagonal, and loses immediately. More consistent with the position is 11... Nc7.  12. dxc6 Be6 Bc4+ must be stopped at all costs.13. Be3 Qxc6 13... Qxb2 is forbidden due to 14. Na4 Qa3 (14... Qb4+ 15. c3 and wins) 15. cxb7 and wins. 14. Bb5 Qc7 Better is 14... Qc8. 15. hxg6 hxg6 16. exf5 gxf5 17. Qh5 Nc6 18. Qg6 Qc8 19. Rh6 f4? 

Up to now all of Black's moves were forced, but now 19... Nd4 would allow longer resistance. For example 20. Bd3 Bc4, Or 20. O-O-O Nxb5 21. Nxb5 f4 22. Nxd6 Bf5! 23. Nxc8 Bxg6 24. Ne7+ Kf7, etc. 20. Bd3! Threatens Rh8+ followed by Qh7#. 20... Rf5 21. Qxe6+ Enough to win, as we shall see. 21... Qxe6 22. Rxe6 Rxg5 The fight to regain the piece is hopeless. 23. Nf3 Rh5 24. Bd2 Rh1+ 25. Bf1 Rd8 26. O-O-O The Re6 is not in danger. 26... Nc7 27. Rxd6 Rh6

The Re6 rook was protected indirectly: 27... Rxd6 28. Bc4+ And wins the Rh1. 28. Rxd8+ Nxd8 29. Bxf4 A double attack on the Nd8 and Rh6. 29... exf4 30. Rxd8+ Bf8 31. Bc4+ Kh7 32. Rd7+ Black resigns (0-1).

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Kniazer - Blass, 1952.

From the same sources as the previous post, Israel Kniazer's win agains Moshe Blass. An interesting point is that while the tournament was called a tacharut amanim (masters' tournament) by Fasher and most others, Kniazer always insisted that the tournament, in which he did quite badly (2.5/9), was actually a tacharum immunim (training tournament). The two are very similar in Hebrew. 

'Training tournament' is also the name under which the tournament it also appears in Kniazer and Persitz's collection of Kniazer's games. Was this merely an excuse for a bad result? Perhaps, but it cannot be denied that Kniazer deliberately used many risky opening ideas in this tournament. 

Curiously, Persitz himself calls the tournament a 'masters' tournament' in his own, earlier tournament book (Tacharut Amanim Be'shachmat [Masters' Chess Tournament], 1953, by Persitz and Mandelbaum). The latter book reveals (p. 23) that the game took place in the third round, and adds that 6. g4?! is Keres' idea. 

Kniazer, Israel Yosef - Blass, Moshe 
Sicilian Scheveningen  (B81)
Masters' (Training?) Tournament, 1952, rd. 3. 
Sources: La'merchav 6.6.58, Ha'derech Le'nitzachon Be'shachmat pp. 83-84.
Annotators: Fasher (also punctuation) and Persitz

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e6 The Schwenigen variation, which gives Black a solid but passive position (Fasher). 6. g4?! Typical of Kniazer's style (Fasher). 6... a6 7. Bg2 Be7 Better was 7... Qc7. White confused his opponents, who makes many inaccuracies (Fasher.) 8. g5 Ng8? An inexplicable withdrawal. The correct move is 8... Nfd7 (Fasher). 9. h4 Nd7 10. f4 Qc7  1. f5 Ne5 12. O-O Bd7 13. fxe6 fxe6 14. Bh3 Qc8? Correct is}  14... Qc4 (Fasher.) 15. Nce2 Bd8 The idea is to clear the e7 square for the g8 knight, but "invites" the following combination (Persitz, p. 84).

16. Nxe6 Bxe6 17. Qxd6 Ne7 18. Qxe6 Qc5+ 19. Kh1 Qxc2 This is Fasher's score as well as Persitz's in Tacharut Amanim Be'shachmat, p. 24. In Ha'dererch Le'nitzchon Be'shachmat, p. 84, Persitz has 18.Qxc2 immediately instead. 20. Qxe5 Qxe2 21. Qe6! and Black resigned (1-0)  since mate is unavoidable without sacrificing the queen (Fasher).

A Nice Kniazer Win

 Israel  Yosef Kniazer
A frequent correspondent notifies us of the obituary for Kniazer (La'merchav, 6.6.58 p. 5) by the editor of the paper's chess column, Eliahu Fasher. (Fasher notes Kniazer was born in 1895; other sources also give 1894 or even 1899.) He gives the following photo, taken at the Lasker club in Tel Aviv, and adds that Kniazer was a member of the club for many years. Fasher then gives two games, against Porat and Blass, which will be given in this and the next post. 

Finally, Fasher adds that Kniazer was working on a book of his best games. This book was indeed published in 1959, as Ha'derech Le'nitzahhon Be'shachmat [The Road to Chess Victory] with deep annotations by Kniazer and, mostly, Raafi Persitz. The book also has the two games given by Fasher. In his annotations to this game, Persitz (which adds the missing moves Fasher does not give due to lack of space) notes that Kniazer, in his notes, added that he was not satisfied with White's 'strategic  position', despite having won tactically. Persitz sees this as typical of Kniazer's desire for chess perfection (p. 72). 

(A note about spelling. Gagie's Chess Personalia prefers the English spelling 'Keniazer'. It seems that various persons with this last name spell it Kniazer, Keniazer, or Kaniazer. In this case, Israel Yosef Kniazer's name is usually pronounced, in my experience, closer to 'Kniazer'. I have not yet, however,  found an authoritative source for an English spelling.)

Kniazer, Israel Yosef - Porat, Yosef
Caro-Kann (B11)
Haifa, 1946. 
Sources: La'merchav, 6.6.58, p. 5 and Ha'derech Le'nitzachon Be'sachmat, pp. 61-72.
Annotations: Eliahu Fasher (also punctuation) and Raafi Persitz

1. e4 d5 2. Nf3 c6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e5 Ne4 5. d3 Nxc3 6. bxc3 Bf5 7. Rb1 Qc7 8. d4 e6 9. Bd3 Bg6 10. O-O Be7 11. Ng5 c5 12. Qf3 O-O 13. Qh3 

White is manouvering skillfully, trying to created something out of nothing (Fasher). The manouver Re1-e3-h3 worked due to Black's mistake, but takes too long. It was time for 13.f4! (Persitz, p. 67). 13...Bxd3 14. Qxd3 Bxg5 15. Bxg5 Nc6 16. Rfe1 Rac8 17. Re3 Ne7 18. Rh3 Ng6 19. Rc1 cxd4 20. cxd4 Qc4 21. Qd2 Qxa2? 

Black underestimates White's attack. Kniazer doesn't miss the opportunity and sacrifices at once (Fasher). 22. Bf6!! Rfe8 Of course not 22... gxf6 due to mate in a few moves (Fasher). 23. Bxg7 Kxg7 24. Qh6+ Kg8 25. Qxh7+ Kf8 26. Rf3 Re7 27. Qxg6 

With a pawn more and a strong attack, White won in a few moves (Fasher). Persitz (pp. 71-72) gives these moves: 27... Qb2 28. Qh6+ Ke8 29. Rb3 $1 Qxd4 30. Qh8+ Kd7 31. Rxb7+ Rc7 32. Rxc7+ Kxc7 33. Rb1 Qa4 34. Qb8+ Kd7 35. Qd6+ and Black resigned (1-0) since it's mate next move.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Mystery Player

Eliahu Shahaf (Gaige's English spelling), the editor of Davar's chess column, noted on December 12th, 1956 (p. 26) that there was a "mystery" player, Zalmen Kleinstein (Chessbase 14's spelling) who played in the 1936 Palestine championship and was part of the 1939 Palestine team to Buenos Aires, but since then 'had disappeared'. Chessbase gives a few of his games, all from the 1939 olympiad. Shahaf adds another, from the 1936 Palestine championship, a victory as Black against Blass. This material, like that of the two previous posts, was brought to our attention by a frequent correspondent to our blog.

Shahaf also adds, significantly, that the top Israeli chess players of the time were still roughly the same players of 20 years ago, and that the attempt to make chess popular among the youth had not been fruitful, with the exception of the IDF championship. He complains that over-emphasis on international chess, as a way for international acceptance of Israel abroad, forgets that the main purpose of the Israeli Chess Federation is, after all, to promote chess in Israel. In a few years Shahaf could rest easy: a new generation of younger players will indeed arise and finally replace the "old guard". 

Blass - Kleinstein 
French, McCutheon [C12]
Palestine Championship, 1936
Source: Davar, 21.12.65 p. 26
Annotations: Eliahu Shahaf

1. e4 e6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Bb4 5. Bxf6 gxf6 6. exd5 Qxd5 7. Qd2 Qa5 8. Bd3 Bd7 9. Nge2 Bc6 10. f3 Nd7 11. Kf2 f5 12. a3 Bxc3 13. bxc3 O-O-O 14. Qe3 Kb8 15. c4 Rhe8 16. a4 e5 17. d5 

17... e4! 18. Bxe4 fxe4 19. f4 Nf6 20. h3

20... Bxd5! 21. cxd5 Nxd5 22. Qb3 Qc5+ 23. Kg3 Rg8+ 24. Kh2 Qf2 25. Rag1 Qxe2 and White resigned (0-1) in a few moves. (The source also has 26. Re1 Qf2 27. Rhf1 Qd2, but this ignores the obvious Qxg2# - A.P.)

Monday, May 11, 2020

Oren - Porat, Tel Aviv Championship, 1954

On July 30th, 1954, a long report appeared in Davar's chess column. It was about the just-finished Tel Aviv championship, by guest commentator Itzchak Aloni, who won the championship. It also annotated one of the games in the tournament. It was a two-stage tournament: first a swiss tournament with 18 players (Aloni notes in particular new young players), and then a final all-play-all match between the top four finishers: Viler (ph. spelling), Smiltiner, Aloni, and Oren. Aloni notes that Porat, then Israeli champion, did not live in Tel Aviv, but was invited to play in the final for training purposes, without his games counting towards the standing of the championship itself.  Aloni gives the following game: 

Oren - Porat
Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3 [E53]
Tel Aviv Championship (finals), Tel Aviv, 3.7.1954
Source: Davar, 30.7.54,  p. 9
Annotations: Itzchak Aloni

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 c5 5. Bd3 d5 6. Nf3 O-O 7. O-O b6 8. Qe2 Nc6 9. Rd1 Bb7 10. dxc5 bxc5 11. Na4 Qe7 12. Qc2 d4 13. a3 Ba5 14. b4 cxb4 15. exd4 e5!

The start of a combination. 16. d5 e4 17. dxc6 exd3 18. Qxd3 Bxc6 19. axb4 Rad8 20. Nd4 Rxd4!

The point of the combination started five moves ago. 21. Qxd4 Rd8 22. Qxd8+ Bxd8 23. b5 Bd7 24. Ba3 Qe5 25. Bb2 Qf5 26. c5 Bc7 27. Bxf6 gxf6 28. b6 axb6 29. cxb6 Be5 30. b7 Kg7 31. Rd5

31... Bc6! 32. b8=Q Bxd5 33. Qb1 Qg4 34. f3 Qd4+ White resigns (0-1)

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Aloni - Bereny, 1953

From the same source as the last post, we give the game Aloni - Bereny (ph. spelling). A typical Aloni game: he comes out of the opening with an inferior, indeed lost, position, but with tenacious defense and counter-attack eventually overcome his opponent, who blunders and loses in a now (slightly) worse position.

Aloni - Bereny (ph. spelling)
KID, early Black deviations and Smyslov system [E61]
Israeli premier ("Aleph") league, 1954
Source: Davar, 23.7.54, p. 9
Annotations: Fritz 14

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nc3 g6 4. e3 Bg7 5. f4 e5 6. fxe5 dxe5 7. d5 O-O 8. e4 Black is slightly better. 8... Nbd7 9. Be3 Qe7 10. Nf3 10. Nh3! 10... Nc5 Black has strong initiative. 11. Qc2 Ng4 12. Bg1 f5 13. b4? 13. h3 Nf6 14. Bxc5 Qxc5 15. Bd3 13... Nxe4 Black has a winning position. 14. Nxe4 fxe4 15. Bc5 Qf6 16. Nd2 Nf2 

17. Nxe4 Nxe4 18. Qxe4 Bf5 19. Qe3 e4 20. Rc1 20. Rb1 is a better defense. 20... Rf7!  21. b5 b6 22. Bb4 Qb2 22... Bg4and Black stays clearly on top. 23. Rc2 Qa1+ 24. Qc1 Qd4) 23. Bc3 

23... Qa3! 23... Qxa2?! 24. Bxg7 Rxg7 25. Be2 and the position is equal. 24. Be2 Bd7 25. Bd4 Qa5+ Not 25... Qxa2 26. Bxg7 Rxg7 27. Qc3 = 26. Bc3 Qa3 Of course not 26... Qxa2?! 27. Bxg7 Rxg7 28. Qc3 =. 27. c5 Better is 27. Bd4  27... Re8 better is 27... bxc5 followed by 28...Rb8. 28. c6 Bc8 29. Bc4 Black must now prevent d6! 29... Qd6 The source has 29...Qc5 but this move makes no sense based on the future moves of the game. This natural move is my reconstruction with Fritz's help [A.P.] 30. Bxg7 Kxg7 31. h3 Ref8 32. Rc2 Re7 Better is 32...Rf4. 33. Rf1 White finally equalizes.  33... Rxf1+ 34. Kxf1 h6 35. Kg1 h5 36. Rf2 Bf5 37. a4 Qe5 38. a5 h4 39. axb6 axb6 40. Rf4 g5 41. Rf1 d6 is the strong threat. 41... Bg6

42. d6 42. Rd1! first is better. 42... Qxd6 43.Qxg5 Qd4+ better is 43... Qc5+ 44. Qxc5 bxc5 =. 44. Kh1 White is better. 44... Qe5? 44... Qd6 was necessary. 

45. Rf7+! Black resigns (1-0).

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Starting on the Right Foot

A frequent correspondent had send us an especially informative number of a chess column - Davar's column of July 23rd, 1954, p. 9, edited by Eliyahu Shahaf. It was the first column under this editor, after a hiatus, and indeed started with "game 1" and "problem 2" (the games and problems were numbered together). It contains:

1). A detailed report about the just-finished first year of the Israeli chess league, complete with a list of participants.
2). A game from the turnament - Itzchak Aloni ("Lasker" Tel Aviv") - Bereny (ph. spelling, Haifa).
3). A report on the selection of the 1954 Olympiad team, as well as the fund-raising efforts of masters to make the trip possible.
4). Yosef Goldschmidt winning a third prize in Chess's (the English periodical) international composition competition.

(This posting will be updated with more details.)

Monday, April 20, 2020

From the Workers' Organization

The Histadrut, or "organization",  was the common name in Israel to the Ha'Histadrut Ha'Klalit shel Ha'Ovdim B'Eretz Yisrael - The General Organization of Workers in Israel. It was all-powerful in the early state, with each worker's union (that of, say, pilots, mailmen, physicians, or most other professions) having their own sub-division. The organization was so large the joke was that the state of Israel is an important part of its holdings. A frequent correspondent sent me this game, which was held in the Histadrut's own chess league, in January, 1954. We note that while this Kahana might be the Zvi Cahane we mentioned elsewhere in this blog, it is a very common name and, therefore, we keep the (English) spelling different.

Hauser - Kahana
KID, Classical w/h3 [E90]
Holon - Ramat Gan tournament (Histadrut league), Holon, 01.1954
Source: Davar Ha'shavuah 29.1.1954, p. 6.
Annotations: adapted from Fritz 14

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 g6 3.c4 Bg7 4.Nc3 d6 5.e4 Nbd7 6.Bd3 e5 7.d5 Nc5 8.Bc2 a5 9.h3 0–0 10.Be3 Nh5 11.Qd2 f5 12.Bxc5 dxc5 13.0–0–0 Bd7 Better is 13…a4. 14.Rde1 14.d6! 14...f4 15.Rd1 Rb8 15...a4 is still indicated. 16.a4 16.Kb1 is better. 16...Bf6 17.Ne2 Ng7 18.Qxa5 Ra8 19.Qxc5 Black must now prevent Qa3.

19...Be7 20.d6 Bxd6 21.Qd5+ Be6 22.Qd3 Much worse is 22.Qxb7?! Rb8= 22...Qf6 23.Nc3 Bc5 24.Rhf1 c6 25.Ne2! Bf7 26.Qc3 Bd6 

27.c5! White is really pushing. 27...Bc7 28.Rd7 Ne6 29.Bb3 Ba5? The losing move. 29...Rfd8  30.Rfd1 Kh8 is best, although White is still much better. 30.Qxe5 Qxe5 31.Nxe5 Nxc5 32.Bxf7+ Kg7 33.Rfd1 Nxd7 34.Rxd7 Kf6 35.Ng4+ Kg5 36.Ng1 Intending Nf3+ and mate. 36...Bd8 37.Nf3+ Kh5 38.Rxb7 winning easily, but there was also a mate in five with 38.Bxg6+! #5/13 Kxg6 39.Nfe5+ Kg5 40.Rg7+ Kh4 41.Rxh7+ Kg5 42.h4#. 38...Rxa4 39.Bg8 h6 40.Rb8 g5 41.Rxd8! Black resigns (1–0).