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).